Monday, November 14, 2011

Sahar Didmus Passed Away Today.

Sahar was a great friend of mine, and accompanied me on 5 of my 6 expeditions to Sumatra. In 2oo1, he was with me when we found the hairs and cast ,which were subsequently analysed as being from an `unkown primate`, and of course was there in 2009,when we obtained the hairs which generated a similar result.i last saw him just two months ago,when he and his brother John found what we think is a handprint of the Orang-Pendek, as well as new hair samples, which are currently undergoing testing.
Sahar has featured in several documentaries, firstly with me, in the National Geographic `Is It Real`,series, then also with MonsterQuest, and most recently as part of a documentary we filmed in September, with the B.B.C. He also featured in Beast Hunter and the Destination Truth episodes.
I first met Sahar in 2001, when he was part of Debbie Martyr's Tiger protection team.On that occasion ,I was enormously impressed by his tracking skills-he was I think, the best in the world for years(and I have plenty of experience with international trackers).He had a great affinity with nature, and was keen to protect the forests he so loved.Since then Sahar has always led the Sumatran contingent of my expeditions, and I found him to be a highly organised and jovial guy.
I was privileged to be with him in 2009 when he saw the Orang-Pendek, a moment which he described as `one of the greatest of his life`, and gave him a hug as he sobbed with the emotion of it.
I have watched his sons grow up, and am in shock todayat his sudden passing away.My thoughts are for his wife Lucy, and his lovely boys who I know will make him proud....