Orangutan Haven

Some of the orangutans being cared for at the SOCP Quarantine Centre cannot be released to the wild for health or disability reasons. A new project under development, the Orangutan Haven, is the solution we are enacting for these individuals. At the Haven they will be able to live out their days in optimal welfare conditions on large naturalistic islands, and serve as natural ambassadors for their wild counterparts.

The goal is to bring visitors face to face with these individual orangutans, and for people to learn more about them, the reasons they cannot be released, and the plight of their wild counterparts in Sumatra’s rainforests. We want people to better understand the impact their own daily decisions have on orangutans and the countless other wildlife species that share their habitat with them. In this way, the orangutans will not only have a vastly improved environment for their own welfare, they will also be serving as conservation ambassadors and educating visitors, allowing them to continue to play an important role in the survival of their species and their natural rainforest habitat.

Whilst initially focused primarily on the orangutans themselves, what is known as the Orangutan Haven has grown markedly in both size and scope. For a start, the most suitable, wet, valley that the team found for the islands came as part of a package totaling over 48 hectares in extent, most of it being mixed agro-forest land. The goal now is to develop the whole site as a unique and comprehensive education resource for the entire region, promoting animal welfare, species and ecosystem conservation, and sustainable development.

Orangutan Islands Visualization SOCP Orangutan Haven A visualization showing orangutans roaming on an island
SOCP Orangutan Haven Islands As of August 2017, four out of nine islands have been excavated
SOCP Orangutan Haven Bamboo Bridge At the same time, construction of a 32m bamboo bridge is well under way
SOCP Orangutan Haven Bamboo Bridge The bridge will later serve as a main entrance gate

Main Objectives

  • Provide un-releasable orangutans with a high quality naturalistic environment in which to live out their days in comfort
  • Inform the public of the plight facing wild orangutans and other species in their natural habitat, and the impact they themselves have on them
  • Educate visitors regarding wildlife species and habitat conservation, the importance of the natural environment to themselves, and how they can promote more sustainable development
  • Reduce demand for the wildlife trade in northern Sumatra

Meet the Orangutans

One such orangutan who will be moving to the Haven when the islands are ready is Leuser. Leuser, named after the renowned Leuser Ecosystem, is a large fully adult male orangutan who is blind in both eyes due to being shot more than 62 times with an air rifle, by people at the edge of the forest. He still has 48 pellets in his body but apart from being blind is otherwise healthy. He arrived with the SOCP when around 8 years old and has now developed into an extremely handsome adult male. Another orangutan is the adult female Dek Nong who suffers from a chronic arthritic condition. A third is Krismon, who was left to grow to adulthood for 19 years in a cage scarcely bigger than his body. Needless to say he couldn’t use his legs and was a bit lost at first in his new, far more spacious accomodation at the SOCP. Despite doing fantastically well since then, due to his lack of forest experience and self-confidence he will require lifelong care.

Why a Haven

"Since they could live to be more than 50 years old and can never be released, there is a pressing need to provide these individuals with a far more acceptable and natural long term home than the cages in which they live today."

Drh. Citrakasih Nente Supervisor Quarantine and Reintroduction SOCP

Haven Updates

Orangutan Haven June 2018 update available for download here: www.sumatranorangutan.org/content/uploads/2018/09/Orangutan-Haven-update-jun18.pdf

Support the Orangutan Haven

Make a donation and help Leuser and his friends move to their new habitat as soon as possible. Donations of any size, from individuals and grants from foundations, as well as partnership enquiries are extremely welcome and greatly appreciated.