PETALING JAYA - Lost and alone in the jungle for two weeks, a ranger got through the ordeal by keeping calm and relying on what he had learnt from survival training.
Ahmad Tarmizi Ahmad Japli of the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) made the headlines last year after going missing on Aug 11 while collecting data on tigers at Yong Forest Reserve, Taman Negara, Pahang.
Rescuers found him near a stream on Aug 25.
The 31-year-old father of four, who is with the Kelantan Perhilitan office, said when he realised he was lost, he stayed cool and recalled his training.
He also decided that the best thing to do was to move to a safe point and wait for help.
"I had initially been walking with a partner, but he went up ahead and I accidentally strayed from the path."
"When I realised that I was lost, I kept calm and left it all to God. It would have been worse if I started panicking.
"The department's training taught us to stay put, but the area was unsafe. I decided to look for a nearby stream and stayed there until I was rescued," said Ahmad Tarmizi, who had left his mobile phone at the base camp.
He had a week's supply of light snacks such as crackers, which he supplemented with fruits from the jungle.
"I was not really afraid at night. Throughout those two weeks, I prayed and thought of my wife and four children.
"I left my fate to God. I told myself that if I survived, then I would walk out of the forest. But if I died, then my body would be carried out. That was all there was to it.
"I was all right because I had been trained by Perhilitan, but for those with zero training or knowledge, it would have been worse," said Ahmad Tarmizi, who has been a Perhilitan ranger since 2014 and is based in Kota Baru.
Upon being rescued, he felt an odd assortment of emotions, including joy, elation, aloofness and an inexplicable sadness.
He was found after a search involving over 336 people from the police, General Operations Force, Air Operations Force,K9 Unit, Fire and Rescue Department, Forestry Department, non-governmental organisations and the public.
The search covered 40sq km of the national park.
Ahmad Tarmizi, who was brought out of the park on a helicopter, went back to work two weeks later.
"I still go into the forest as usual and have no issues with it. I consider the ordeal as something that was fated to happen and a test from God, as well as a job risk," he added.
His No.1 tip for surviving in the jungle if one gets lost: Stay calm.
"If you panic, a lot of bad things can happen. If you panic, you will start wandering around and use up your energy for nothing.
"Keep calm so that you can think about what is good to do or otherwise," he said.