An update from Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary!

An update from Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 13th Nov 2015

As we are approaching the end of Orangutan Awareness Week we thought it the perfect time to bring you an update from one of our most popular orangutan sanctuaries. The Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project has been a haven for abandoned, injured and orphaned Orangutans for years now and with the help of our project facilitator Kate, we wanted to tell you just how hard the volunteers at the site have been working and what has been recently achieved! Over to you Kate!

What have the volunteers built and achieved whilst at the project site?

The main focus of this last three months has been on making island 1 (the Orangutans are homed on various islands when at the centre to enable them to experience life in the wild as closely as possible) inhabitable for orangutans. The first’s month’s volunteers had the task of clearing the island and digging trenches for new platforms to be built. They also made hammocks to hang on the islands.

Volunteers at the Orangutan Sanctuary

The second months volunteers did all the leg work of manually transporting huge quantities of sand, gravel, rocks, and other materials over to the island for the platforms (this was the toughest job so they deserve a medal!)

Volunteer at the Orangutan Sanctuary

The group of volunteers who visited the Orangutan Sanctuary in the final of the three months constructed the platform from bottom to top. Now all that is left is for the final layer to be finished, and the next one can be started by the keepers over the next few months from the funds given by the volunteers!

Volunteer work at the Orangutan Sanctuary

Volunteers at Samboja Lestari

Some volunteers also helped in the aftermath of the forest fires and planted over 300 trees in an area of 4 hectares, helping to start the process of reforestation. We also bought equipment with their donations to help with the firefighting efforts which were taking place at the time.

Volunteers at the Borneo Orangutan Sanctuary

During their time at Samboja Lestari the volunteer’s donations also went towards renting a digger to create all the moats on the islands. This is important for the dry season so the water in the moats doesn't get too low and the Orangutans don’t pay us a visit at the lodge! It also means that islands 0 and 1 are now able to be used to house Orangutans once they are renovated (which we are in the process of doing now.)

Volunteers at the Orang utan Sanctuary

Any other big news from the project site?

  • A new large Special Care Enclosure is in the process of being built
  • A young Orangutan who is known by the name Cola Cola has been moved to Forest School 1, so that he can start to learn all the skills he will need to give him the best possible chance of being released.
  • Also Shelton who is famous as he is the only blind Orangutan at Samboja has also moved to forest school 1 from forest school 2 where he will now live more comfortably with the younger, less boisterous babies, and next year The Great Projects will build him his own night time enclosure so he can live in peace in this area of the forest.

Shelton the Orangutan

What is your most memorable experience from the trip?

It’s hard to pick one highlight because everything we do at the sanctuary is memorable. However, if there is one thing that is most rewarding for me and for most the volunteers it would be when we collect and give nesting material every evening to the Orangutans and watch as each individual creates their own version of a nest. Sometimes it is the smaller things we do that have the biggest impact. It’s hard to say why unless you have seen this behaviour but for me it reminds me every day what an incredible species they are and how they are not so different from us after all.

Baby Orangutan

If Kate's words have inspired you to go out and make a difference with the Orangutans at Samboja then take a look at the project page to find out more. They desperately need your help so make the journey now and aid the Orangutans conservation.

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