Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

Achievements at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022

Posted by Michael Starbuck on 16th Nov 2022

The Great Projects’ volunteer coordinator Kate, provides a roundup of what was achieved at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in 2022:

After 2 difficult years, we finally welcomed volunteers back at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Project in April, and since then, we have been incredibly busy and all the volunteers have made a huge difference this year, so a big thank you to all our 2022 volunteers!!

Sun Bears

Sun Bear platform at Samboja Lestari

This year, we had big ambitions of building a number of platforms in pre-existing enclosures to give the many sun bears more outdoor relaxing and climbing options. The way we achieved this was by utilising the donations from volunteers, and of course, the volunteer manpower! With a large number of new enclosures that now exist in the sun bear area, we built a total of 5 platforms and 1 pond across 3 enclosures. This involved volunteers digging holes, carving wooden frames and then erecting them and bolting them together to make some pretty cool-looking structures that will last a lifetime for the bears who inhabit the enclosures. It’s very rewarding to build these platforms and then when you see the bears sleeping or resting on them, it makes it all worthwhile.  Next year when our volunteers return, we will continue to build similar structures in other enclosures that are still without.

Orangutans

For the orangutans, we had the pleasure of working on a new island that has been built to house un-releasable orangutans at the sanctuary. Here, volunteers cleared an area and funded and built one large two-tiered platform and two smaller ones. Two were made from concrete and one from salvaged ironwood from the surrounding forests. We also collected and stood up many ironwood poles that we also salvaged from the forest, and these will act as the posts to attach high ropes for the orangutans to climb upon. With all major work on the island now finished, it will soon be ready to welcome its new residents, and we are very excited for them to see the area we created for them.

Volunteers walking with ironwood

Although our construction projects are a great contribution to the sanctuary’s ever-progressing facilities, another extremely important thing that volunteers get involved with is enrichment for all the animals. With many volunteers over these past few months, we have been able to provide lots of extra stimulating enrichment that the sun bears and orangutans either tear into or have to manipulate to gain access to the tasty treats inside. All this enrichment takes a lot of time to make on a daily basis, but the reward is seeing the animals using and enjoying what you made for them.

Volunteers creating bamboo enrichment for the orangutans

Banana Garden

Banana Garden at Samboja Lestari

Earlier this year we started work on an area we called the ‘banana garden’. The purpose of this garden was to plant many banana trees, that once grown, will supply banana leaves for un-releasable orangutans at the centre who like to eat the entire leaf and also banana stalks to make a different type of enrichment for the orangutans and sun bears. The bananas themselves will be our gift to the wildlife in the forest, mostly because we know they will get to them before we do!  We are very excited to start using these trees to give more variety to the animals at the centre next year.

Finally, Jess, Wik, Sam, all the team and I want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who came this year to help and for all your hard work, it was great to meet and work with you all, and to all those coming next year, we look forward to welcoming you to Samboja Lestari!


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kim crockatt commented 1 week ago
More of a question. Curious what the temperatures are like there ?

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