Most of you must have seen and heard of an orangutan, either through television or printed media or in the flesh. Orangutans are one out of the four great apes that still survives today and all of the four species’ existence is really critical or even endangered. Their natural habitats are being destroyed to give way to industrial plantations. The real picture is worsened by the fact that burning season occurs every year without fail. Orangutans are the only great ape species that lives outside Africa. They are only found naturally in the tropical forests of Sumatra and Borneo. If we put all those four species in the race to extinction, the orangutans will hit the finish line first! That’s why conservations and rescue centres have to be set up to give shelter to the orangutans especially the youngs.
To rescue the orphaned orangutans especially the youngs who were illegally and brutally snatched from their mothers, a Danish expatriate, Lone Dröscher Nielsen, set up a rescue centre called ‘Nyaru Menteng Reintroduction Centre Project’ in 1999. The rescue centre is about 18 miles off the city of Palangkaraya. The objective of the project is to return as many orangutans as possible into the wild. But of course the task has never been so simple since rehabilitation is required before releasing them back into the wild. Today, the number of orangutans housed in the rescue centre is about 600 and it tends to grow since there are still so many orangutans being displaced every year. It seems that the most effective way to save orangutans from extinction is to battle against habitat destruction that it means to battle against companies (whether they are legally unlicenced or licenced) who do away with the natural habitat of the red hairy apes.
But still there is hope. The rescue centre sponsored by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) had fixed a land as natural habitat to where the orangutans from the centre would be returned. This piece of land is dubbed as ‘The Orangutan Island’ and the ‘island’ will give the orangutans a new lease of life. The works of Dröscher Nielsen and the rescue centre were well documented in ‘The Orangutan Island” which you can watch every Friday night on Animal Planet. Through the programme you can appreciate the natural habitat of the precious species more because orangutans are always worth saving since the extinction of the species will eventually be our unimaginably huge loss….
The four big ape species: gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and the bonobos.