Today we left camp. Leaving was a bittersweet because leaving meant that I would no longer be conducting hands on research in the forest which is what I enjoy the most. This work brought me joy because I felt that I was actively fighting to conserve the orangutans. Although it is hard work, I take pride in field work because it is highly rewarding. I will certainly miss waking up to a serenade of song birds and the deep calls of male orangutans. Admiring the greenery and liveliness of the forest is a time that I will always reminisce. Despite feeling sad for leaving, the days ahead of me are going to be filled with much more adventure and it excites me!
The highlight of today was visiting Borneo Orangutan Survival in Palangka Raya, which is an orangutan orphanage that works on rehabilitating baby orangutans. Most orangutans who visit the site are unfortunately injured missing fingers, limbs, or are filled with metal pellets. Some orangutans are blind or too injured and unfortunately can’t be released back into the wild for their own safety. Most are sent to the rehabilitation center due to habitat loss, being kept as pets, being shot at, or because their mothers were killed. It is upsetting that the orangutans end up at the rehabilitation center in the first place, however its good to know that there are people out there doing as much as they can to send orangutans out in the wild.
Watching the orangutans and there caretakers drives me to study rehabilitation and what methods work best in sending these animals back into the wild. I feel that it is my duty to bring and protect life in the forest. Because this excursion made such an impact in my life I decided to adopt a baby orangutan. I currently support Ello, a juvenile male who is described as “king of the playground”. Although I would like to work hands on with Ello, the money I donate helps to feed him and supports his time in forest school. This experience has definitely shaped my future in wanting to work in rehabilitation.
Learn more about BOS here: https://redapes.org/projects-partners/nyaru-menteng/