British poet, novelist and author Ruth Padel visits DGFC
In September the centre welcomed British Poet, novelist and author Ruth Padel and her daughter Gwen Burnyeat, a post-doctoral anthropologist at Oxford University. Ruth is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, a former trustee of the Zoological Society of London, and a current trustee of New Networks for Nature. During their two-day stay, the pair took part in project work such as changing camera traps, a plantation walk, and primate and night boat surveys and also looked for signs of Bornean elephants – which is the main purpose of Ruth’s trip here.
Ruth delivered a talk about tiger conservation to Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) staff and volunteers, reading several extracts from her book “Tigers in Red Weather” (2005). She was even kind enough to donate a signed copy to the centre’s library! Ruth visited DGFC as part of her research in Southeast Asia for her upcoming book about elephants. “I really want to write a book that makes a difference to how people think about nature and elephants”, she said. The next stop on her trip was Thailand.
Coinciding with Ruth and Gwen’s stay was veterinary student Dhivijah Sivadas (we call her Dhivi), who stayed at the centre for two weeks. Dhivi is about to enter her third year of vet school at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and hopes to become a wildlife vet upon graduation. During her two-week stay, Dhivi gained experience in pangolin tracking, camera trap setup and mist netting surveys; she said “My favourite activity was the mist netting surveys because of all the different types of birds I was able to learn how to handle”. Dhivi was a wonderful, if brief, addition to DGFC and we hope to see her again.
This story was first published in Jungle Times Issue #144 (September-October 2022) and has been edited for the website.