MALAYSIA is blessed with some of the best forests in the world.
At 130 million years old, our rainforests are some of the oldest in the world and there is much for an ardent adventurer to see and do within them.
Losing yourself in what Mother Nature has given us is a wonderful thing, just as long as you don’t actually lose yourself in it.
It is notoriously difficult to navigate within a rainforest, especially ours.
The canopy blocks out the horizon, the stars and almost anything else that could help you find your bearings.
Depending on where you are, it can sometimes be difficult to even tell whether it is night or day.
So, what do you do if you have lost your way?
Actually, the first thing you should do before going into the bush is inform your next-of-kin where you are and how long you will be away.
If anything does happen, at least there is someone at home who will blow the whistle if you don’t come out on time.
Contrary to what you might read online, if you are lost in the rainforest, stop moving.
You will only make things harder for yourself and your rescuers if you don’t stay put.
As long as they know where you were and your destination, your rescuers should be able to find you relatively fast, as long as you do not stray far away.
This is not a hard and fast rule, so if you have to move, try to look for a clearing (which is a tall order in our jungles) with flowing water, then hunker down and wait for rescue.
Make a shelter
You will need shelter to stay safe if you are going to be stuck for any length of time. But don’t spend a lot of time and effort making one if you are not going to stay in it for long.
The important thing is to create a simple one to protect you from the elements and animals as well.
The best thing to do is make a lean-to shelter.
These are simple to make and will lean up against a tree.
The first thing you should do is clear a section of the forest floor of leaves, sticks, twigs and what not, and try to level it the best as possible.
Then, find a stick long enough to sleep under and then take some smaller branches and lean them against the large one.
Cover the entire thing with leaves if you can because this will keep out the weather and the animals. You will be safer while you sleep.
Start a fire
Having a fire is important for boiling your water (if you have a pot), rags for disinfecting wounds and keeping you warm.
It can get cold at night and the fire and smoke will repel most animals and biting insects.
Of course, it’s not always easy to start a fire in the jungle.
Bamboo is not good for burning as they might explode so should not be used in your fire.
Instead, you will need dried wood. If you cannot find any scattered on the ground, search for holes in trees and cut away pieces from this area.
It will be dry and you can build a fire with it.
Damp wood will burn once your fire has started.
I could tell you to rub two sticks together to start a fire, but it is easier to just carry a lighter when you enter the jungle.
It is not as difficult to get water in the jungle as you might think.
Of course, you need to make sure the water is safe for drinking and boil it before consumption.
You can use rainfall and water droplets on vegetation and plants as a water source.
One piece of gear that would be very useful in an emergency, would be a portable water purifier like Lifestraw.
They are compact and easy to carry and they can keep out most of the nasty bugs that you might come across in your water source.
There is a lot of food available in the jungle, so you just have to know what you are looking for.
There are many plants which are safe to eat. However, if you are going to be harvesting plants you will need a survival guide with you, as not all jungle plants are safe.
If you want to eat anything you should stick with plants you know and look for fruits you have eaten before as you never know what could be poisonous.
Watch for animals
There are animals all over which could be dangerous, even if you do not think they are.
Your best bet is to try and blend in as much as possible.
Making loud noises will scare them away.
This is true in some instances, but you could provoke them to attack with loud noises. This is extremely dangerous.
The most dangerous animals in our jungles are the little ones.
Be mindful of mosquitoes, which spread malaria and dengue, spiders as well scorpions.
With scorpions, the larger the claws the less poisonous they are.
Insects and spiders are very easy to miss and even the smallest of insects can be extremely poisonous.
Before you eat anything and or put on any clothes or shoes you need to make sure that these bugs are not on them.
Snakes are a danger too, so be mindful of where you are stepping.
If you are bitten by one, do not try to suck the poison out, bleed the bite out or tie a tourniquet around the affected limb.
All you will do is hurt yourself more as the poison travels very fast through your system so there really isn't anything you can do aside from just lying down and trying not to move much while waiting for rescue.
Taking care of problems
What happens if you get hurt?
It can be dangerous because it can slow your reflexes or even make it difficult for you to move at all.
Avoid this by watching out for danger in your path (whether they are sticks and rocks or snakes and wild animals).
If you do get hurt, it’s important to take care of it quickly.
It is important to wrap and wash cuts and scrapes as quickly as possible.
Where there is no water, wipe off dirt or debris and quickly wrap the cut. Make sure to wash it as soon as you can.
Use clean cloths (like an extra shirt) to clean the wounds as much as possible.
There are a number of things you need to keep in mind in case you get lost in a jungle.
By keeping yourself aware and alert of everything around you will result in a much better chance for a positive outcome.
So be aware and be ready for anything that could come your way.
Hopefully, you will not end up being lost in a jungle, but you should always be prepared.