ISLANDS FOR ORANGUTANS
Our Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) wants to set up a refuge for orangutans whom we cannot release into the wild again for various individual reasons. In the «Orangutan Haven» they will live on artificial islands. The will be a pathway with a view on the islands. Based on the examples of these tragic fates visitors will learn and understand the disastrous consequences of human behaviour for the orangutans and their habitat.
In July 2017 the excavators appeared and started their work. In the coming months they will transform the former rice field on the area of the «Orangutan Haven» into an island landscape. Water trenches, five metres wide and one and a half metres deep, will serve as a natural fence as orangutans are very afraid of water. A height difference of several metres and system of dams will ensure a constant water flow. The nine islands will be between 600 and 1000 square metres in size. Trees will be planted on them and there will be climbing frames. One island can be home to more than one orangutan provided the animals get along well with each other. Apart form the islands we are building a sedimentation basin in the upper reaches of the stream. Still this year we want to build houses for the orangutans where they can spend the night and receive medical attention if necessary.
Surherry Aprianto, the project head and one of the first employees at our partner organization YEL, is happy with the progress. “Despite working under diffcult conditions we can keep to the schedule.” The muddy subsoil of the rice terraces poses great challenges for landscaping design. In addition there are the heavy and sudden tropical downpours that make excavating even more difficult. However, a pleased Surherry says: «If we stay on course we can relocate the first orangutans by the end of 2018.»
Also, the work on a 32 metres bamboo bridge are well advanced. As a gateway to the «Orangutan Haven» this elegant structure will demonstrate what can be achieved with bamboo, a sustainable resource.