Read Harriet's Story And Learn About This Brave Little Orangutan

Read Harriet's Story And Learn About This Brave Little Orangutan

Posted by Connor Whelan on 8th Aug 2016

The work that both staff and volunteers do at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Centre in Borneo is irreplaceable. Without these combined efforts, a lot of orangutans would go without the help they so desperately need. One of the orangutans which was fortunate enough to receive care at the centre is baby Harriet, and this is her story.

Baby Orangutan

Before being rescued by BOSF (the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation), Harriet was kept in horrific conditions. She was kept as a pet in a house in Borneo, and all she had to call home was a small wooden crate. This crate, which was the one place of solitude poor Harriet had, was placed next to an extremely loud generator which was running constantly.

This badly affected her mental state. When Harriet was eventually rescued by the BOSF, she would rock back and forth and hit her head and other body parts against the wall, as these were the coping strategies she had developed from her time aside the generator. It was evident that this baby orangutan had already suffered a great deal in her young life. As you would imagine, Harriet was very scared of humans when she was rescued and she would not let anyone touch her, as after years of mistreatment she was unable to tell the difference between friend and foe.

All of this had happened early in this young orangutan’s life, and she was only around 4 years old when she arrived at the Samboja sanctuary.

Harriet the baby orangutan

Thankfully though, after she was rescued by BOSF, things finally began to take a turn for the better for Harriet. Due to the incredible work of the babysitters who care for the young orangutans at the sanctuary, one year on from her rescue Harriet is now doing incredibly well! She is rarely exhibiting the coping habits she had picked up from her time in captivity, and although her mental scars will remain, she is now a happy and healthy orangutan!

Young Orangutan In Borneo

Harriet has spent the first year of her rehabilitation in the baby house with her other orangutan friends, but her progress means that she has now graduated to forest school 1! This is where she will be taught the skills necessary to survive in the wild when she is eventually released!

It was lucky that Harriet was rescued when she was, as there is no telling as to how long she may have survived if she was not. That is why the work done at Samboja is so crucial, but it cannot be done without the help of volunteers, so have you considered helping to make a change?


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kate commented 6 years ago
it makes me so sad that even now she is safe she had to endure that torture for 4 years - what a precious baby


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Margaret commented 6 years ago
Dear Harriet....I too saw her April and May . A great character who looked older than her years. So glad for her that she had enough luck in her sad life to have been taken in at Samboja Lestari. She has the very best of care now! And wonderful training for her ultimate rehabilitation into the wild. Well done to all her dedicated human helpers.

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Angela commented 6 years ago
I saw Harriet in May and she was a delight amazing job and amazing people at Samboja have done this well done all of you


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