It has been an on-going project for most of this year to re-vamp the main feeding platforms currently in use for the semi-wild orang-utan at Matang. This area was one of the first rehabilitation structures built by the volunteer project here almost 6 years ago, and unfortunately the jungle has taken its toll on the materials used. In February this year, we attempted to begin the remodel by repairing and replacing the boardwalk leading to this area. However, Chiam, one of our semi-wild orang-utan, had other ideas, and try as we might, over the following two months progress was painfullyslow as Chiam interrupted, demolished and re-designed our work as it was being done.
Through August and September we were able to rebuild the two feeding platforms in the area. This was partly due to Chiam’s temporary return to captivity at Matang, which was the decided course of action mostly because she had mugged a group of high school students trekking through the jungle and they complained about how many cameras and phones had been lost – we imagine Chiam still has them stashed somewhere in the jungle. However, her temporary return to captivity also made sense from a logistical point of view – having adequate rehabilitation structures in place is of vital importance in continuing rehabilitation for other orang-utan at the centre, and commencing it for some others. The youngsters were only recently able to spend a week at the ranger station due to repairs being carried out there, repairs that were not possible with an interested Chiam keeping an eye on proceedings (and tools that she fancied).
I wanted to post this to our blog as so many volunteers have contributed to this building project over the year, whether by hammering in some planks to the boardwalk, carrying wood to the site or carrying many sacks full of gravel to finish off the floor. It truly has been a massive team effort, and all the sweat has been well worth it. This is now a well built, professional area for feeding of semi-wild orang-utan, and with the materials used should last many years and see many orang-utan taking meals from there. So a huge thanks to everyone that has added something to this project. It has been a long time coming, but the area is almost complete and ready to be put under the test of Chiam once more! Volunteers for the next few weeks, be aware there are still a few planks to be nailed in and gravel to be carried – something for you all to look forward to.