Animal Protectors encounter orangutans in the Sumatran jungle

07/03/2017

For four dedicated Animal Protectors, a recent trip into the jungles of Sumatra was an opportunity to see orangutans in the wild.

Everyone agreed seeing these animals in their forest habitats was infinitely more special than seeing them in a cage.

The trip was a vital fundraiser for animals in need and, together, the four trekkers managed to raise more than A$23,000 – an extraordinary achievement to protect animals around the world.

Up close with orangutans

Soon after arriving in Bukit Lawang in the Gunung Leuser National Park, our team was lucky enough to come across the real reason they’d travelled all this way. Amidst the dense jungle, their guides pointed out two orangutans swinging from branch to branch, holding hands, barely ten meters away. Everyone agreed seeing these animals in their forest habitats was infinitely more special than seeing them in a cage. 

As they trekked for days through challenging terrain, sleeping under the stars, the team saw butterflies as big as plates, hornbills, monkeys and four more orangutans, including mothers with their babies. They stared and smiled at the trekkers. But these experiences were tinged with sadness. Some of the orangutans had endured cruelty at the hands of humans – one had been traumatised so badly, the team was warned they would have to run and hide if they saw her.

The beginnings of ecotourism in Tangkahan

Next stop was Tangkahan, a village famous for its elephant attractions. But two local guides are trying to change that by introducing animal-friendly ecotourism to the village. 

The guides, Kanu and Jamin, showed the group around and taught them about local customs. Our Animal Protectors stopped by the river to plant local tropical trees where palm plantations are stripping orangutans of their homes. They planted durian for orangutans to eat, and mahogany and stronger trees for them to build homes.

Kanu and Jamin promised to send the team regular photo updates of their trees. The group left the jungle touched and humbled – with memories of an adventure they will never forget.

A huge thank you to Amy, Brianna, Tanie and Sally, who together raised more than A$23,000 for animals in need.

If you might like to be involved in future adventures, please email protect@worldanimalprotection.org.au