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Becoming The Most Favorable Wildlife Tour Guide: An Interview with Abdul Hakim

Ucok Hakim

Abdul Hakim was born in Kumai – Central Kalimantan. Upon finishing high school in 2007, he immediately joined the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge as a housekeeping department staff. While working as housekeeping, he slowly learned outwardly to become a wildlife tour guide in Tanjung Puting National Park.

It did not take long for the company to ask Hakim to start a new career as a wildlife guide for Ecosafari Indonesia and Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge.

Through Ecolodges Indonesia, Hakim had the opportunity to take part in an internal guide training held at Udayana Kingfisher Ecolodge in Bali. Hakim always receives positive reviews from Ecosafari Indonesia’s clients, and it is not uncommon for guests to specifically request Hakim as their Tour Leader.

Some reviews of Hakim’sexcellent job as a wildlife tour guide can be seen in Tripadvisor Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge .

In 2016, through Ecolodges Indonesia, Hakim together with two other local people was sent to Australia to participate in fire training in collaboration with Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade – Lamington National Park Australia. The knowledge gained was then disseminated through training activities to several local stakeholders, including Tanjung Putting National Park in 2017.

Hakim now serves as head of wildlife tour guide for Ecosafari Indonesia at Rimba Ecolodge. Not only having extensive knowledge on orangutan and local wildlife, but Hakim is also the only local birding guide at Rimba Lodge and for Tanjung Puting National Park.

Here is our recent interview with Abdul Hakim.

How did you start to get involved with Ecolodges/Ecosafari Indonesia?

I worked at the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge starting in 2007, at that time I was recommended by my friend Eirose, who had already joined the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge.

What is the most rewarding experience of being a Guide at Rimba Ecolodge?

The most valuable experience is that I can explore and learn a lot of knowledge ranging from hotel hospitality, learning a new language and also the most important is the opportunity to learn about wildlife in Tanjung Putting National Park.

How does Ecolodges/Ecosafari Indonesia help the conservation effort in Tanjung Putting National Park?

The involvement of Ecolodges and Ecosafari Indonesia for the Tanjung Putting National Park has been very numerous and is still ongoing. These are some of them:

• Restoration of 10 hectares of natural habitat in a former fire area by planting trees;
• Donation from Ecosafari Indonesia and Rimba Ecolodge guests for tree planting in the Pesalat area (Pesalat is one of the reforestation areas in Tanjung Putting National Park);
• Conduct training on handling forest fires involving the Tanjung Putting National Park staffs and several relevant stakeholders;
• Join the river cleaning program every year in collaboration with several local stakeholders

What is your favorite animal? Why?

My favorite animals, aside from Orangutans, are the bears and clouded leopards of Borneo. In my opinion, they are a stunning creature, yet it becomes more difficult to see these days (due to lost habitats and poaching).

How does the company’s values on conservation inspire your personal journey?

What inspires me the most is the rules on reducing the use of plastic waste in the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge. Before working at Ecolodges Indonesia, I still liked to dispose of plastic carelessly, but now I am cautious with plastic waste and as much as possible to reduce the use of plastic waste. One day I hope (the policy) can be implemented in the broader setting, for example in Kumai and Pangkalan Bun.

Do you have an example or story of how the work of Ecolodges/Ecosafari is having a positive impact on you and the local community?

Working at Ecolodges has greatly helped me to meet my economic needs and to support my family. There is also a sense of pride in joining a company that values environmental sustainability. Indonesian Ecolodges through the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge also empowered local people from the start, even though some of them had previously worked as bird looters in National Parks and illegal miners.

Also, one of the important stages in my life is where I first met my spouse (who is my current wife) at the Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge

Abdul Hakim and Erni (wife)


Indonesian Version

Abdul Hakim lahir di Kumai – Kalimantan Tengah, menyelsaikan sekolah sampai tingkat SMA sebelum bergabung dengan Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge tahun 2007 di bagian housekeeping. Di luar jam kerja sebagai housekeeping Hakim perlahan belajar secara outodidak untuk menjadi tour guide di Taman Nasional Tanjung Puting.

Tawaran kemudian datang kepada Hakim mengembangkan karir baru sebagai wildlife guide untuk Ecosafari Indonesia dan Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge. Melalui Ecolodges Indonesia, Hakim mendapat kesempatan untuk mengikuti internal guide training yang diselenggarakan di Udayana Kingfisher Ecolodge di Bali.

Selama bekerja Hakim selalu mendapat review positif dari client Ecosafari Indonesia, dan tidak jarang permintaan datang dari tamu langsugn kepada Hakim sebagai Tour Leadernya. Beberapa review bisa di lihat dalam TripAdvisor Rimba Orangutan.

Tahun 2016, melalui Ecolodges Indonesia hakim bersama dengan 2 orang lokal lainnya dikirimkan ke Australia untuk mengikuti fire training bekerja sama dengan Beechmont Rural Fire Brigade – Lamington National Park Australia. Ilmu yang didapat kemudian disebarluaskan melalui kegiatan training kepada beberapa stakeholder local termasuk Taman Nasioanal Tanjung Putting di tahun 2017

Saat ini Hakim menjabat sebagai head of guide Ecosafari Indonesia di Rimba Ecolodge. Tidak hanya sebagai orangutan dan wildlife guide, Hakim juga adalah satu-satunya local birding guide di Rimba Lodge dan untuk Taman Nasional Tanjung Puting.

Simak interview tim Ecolodges dengan Hakim berikut:

Bagaimana awal keterlibatan Anda dengan Ecolodges / Ecosafari Indonesia? Sejak kapan?

Saya bekerja di Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge mulai tahun 2007, pada waktu itu saya mendapat rekomendasi dari sahabat saya Eirose, yang sudah lebih dulu bergabung dengan Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge.

Apa pengalaman yang paling berharga bagi Anda menjadi Guide di Rimba Ecolodge?

Pengalaman yang paling berhaga adalah saya bisa menggali dan belajar banyak ilmu mulai dari hotel hospitality, bahasa dan juga yang paling penting adalah kesempatan belajar tenatng tentang wildlife di Taman Nasional Tanjung Putting.

Menurut Anda, bagaimana Ecolodges / Ecosafari Indonesia membantu upaya konservasi di Sumatra?

Keterlibatan Ecolodges dan Ecosafari Indonesia untuk Taman Nasional Tanjung Putting sudah sangat banyak dan sampai saat ini masih terus berjalan. Beberapa yang bisa disebutkan disini adalah :

  • Restorasi 10 Ha habitat di area bekas kebakaran melalui penanaman pohon;
  • Kontribusi dari tamu Ecosafari Indonsia dan Rimba Ecolodge untuk donasi penanaman pohon di daerah Pesalat ( Pesalat adalah salah satu reforestation area di Taman Nasional Tanjung Putting);
  • Melakukan pelatihan tentang penanganan dan penanggulangan kebakaran hutan melibatkan pihak Taman Nasional Tanjung Putting dan beberapa stakeholder;
  • Ikut program bersih- bersih sungai setiap tahun bekerja sama dengan beberapa stakeholder lokal.

Apa hewan favorit Anda? Mengapa?

Hewan favorit saya selain Orangutan adalah beruang dan macan dahan Kalimantan. Karena menurut saya mereka sangat indah namun sekarang sudah semakin susah untuk di lihat.

Bagaimana upaya konservasi Ecoldges menginspirasi anda secara profesional ataupun secara personal?

Yang paling menginspirasi saya adalah aturan tentang pengurangan penggunaan sampah plastik di Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge. Sebelum bekerja di Ecolodges Indonesia, saya masih suka buang plastik sembarangan dan sekarang saya sangat berhati-hati dengan sampah plastik dan sedapat mungkin mengurangi penggunaan sampah plastik. mungkin suatu nanti saya berharap bisa di implementasikan di lingkungan yang lebih luas misalnya di Kumai dan Pangkalan Bun.

Apakah Anda memiliki contoh atau kisah tentang bagaimana pekerjaan Ecolodges / Ecosafari berdampak positif pada Anda dan / atau komunitas lokal?

Bekerja di ecolodges sangat membantu saya untuk pemenuhan kebutuhan ekonomi dan untuk membiayai keluarga saya. Dan juga ada rasa bangga bergabung dengan perusahaan yang mencintai kelestarian alam.

Ecolodges Indonsia melalui Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge juga dari awal sudah memberdayakan warga lokal, bahkan ada diantara mereka sebelumnya bekerja sebagai penjarah burung di Taman Nasioanl dan tukang tambang ilegal.
Salah satu tahapan penting dalam hidup saya adalah dimana saya untuk pertama kali bertemu dengan pasangan hidup saya ( yang sekarang menjadi istri saya ) di Rimba Orangutan Ecolodge.


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  1. I had the pleasure of having Hakim as a guide a couple years ago: Nicest guy ever!
    When I told him I like snakes, he made an extra effort to ask staff and local to let him know, which ended up with quite some snakes 😃
    Good to see he still enjoys his work at ELI 😀
    Cheers Hakim! You made my stay extra special!!!

    1. Thank you Josua for your comment.
      We are so happy to learn that you enjoyed your stay with Ecolodges Indonesia a few years ago.
      We will let Hakim know your greetings to Him.
      Looking forward to having you back with us.

      ELI team

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