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The Orangutan Haven

The main goal of the (Sumatran) Orangutan Conservation Programme is to establish new independent orangutan populations that can live in protected rainforests. However, some of the orangutans in our care cannot be released into the wild due to their state of health or their too long captivity. For these animals we build a worthy, animal-friendly environment. Their new home will be the islands of the environmental educational project Orangutan Haven. The orangutans will be able to spend a peaceful and species-appropriate life on the islands. At the same time, they will be ambassadors for their species and will remind visitors how valuable and worthy of protection orangutans on Sumatra are.

Main objectives of the Orangutan Haven

  • To provide a high quality natural environment for orangutans that can no longer be released into the wild to live an appropriate rest of their lives.
  • Inform and raise public awareness of the plight of wild orangutans and other species.
  • Focus on environmental education: Educate about issues such as habitat protection, the importance of the natural environment, animal trade and sustainable development.

Project development

Phase 1 (until 2021): Finalisation of the islands and the infrastructure for the operating island system and group activities on environmental education

All projects in this first phase are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Some sub-projects, such as the island system, have already been finished by a majority to date. Others, such as the restaurant, are still in the planning phase.

Water channels around the orangutan islands

The channels and three dams allow for a functioning water circulation between the islands. The biological filtration system provides clean water.

Additional safety limitation

Orangutans are afraid of water. So the moats look like natural barriers. We put up an extra electric fence a metre away from the island for protection.

Design of the islands

On each island we install metal bars in the ground to which wooden and bamboo trunks are attached for climbing. Ropes, nets and baskets make the infrastructure even more attractive for the animals and trees provide shadow.

Orangutan houses

Each of the four orangutan houses is connected to one up to four islands. The orangutans can cross the moat via a bamboo bridge and reach “their” part of the house. Feeding always takes place in the house. Therefore the animals are regularly inside and can be examined and treated for health problems if necessary.

Keeper depot

The keeper depot provides storage space for food, composting and toilets and washing facilities for the animal caretakers.

Veterinary medical clinic

The clinic building is located near the orangutan islands. The clinic provides medical care for the orangutans and can also provide first aid in emergencies for visitors and staff. This area is closed to the public to ensure that injured or sick animals are not disturbed.

Staff canteen

Next to the clinic there is a lounge including a canteen for the employees.

Electrical supply

We create an energy concept. The electrical supply is provided by reliable renewable energies such as photovoltaic and hydroelectric power.


A fence – mostly made of spiny hedge plants – secures the Orangutan Haven. In addition, security guards monitor the area. For them, we built a guardhouse and install surveillance cameras.


A total of four separate toilet units and seven toilets integrated into buildings will be built. In the first phase, the construction of a central toilet unit and the toilets integrated into the restaurant and the eco-farming building are planned.


We provide the main access road between the car park and the islands and around the islands, and install side roads to connect buildings such as the clinic. In steep terrain, the slopes next to the road are secured with safety nets made of bamboo fibres and the planting with vetiver grass.

Eco-Farming Centre

The whole area of Orangutan Haven offers a lot of potential to show and practice the cultivation of vegetables and fruits in a sustainable and traditional way. To support this, we built an eco-farming building, which will be used as a training centre, a nursery with a built-in rainwater collection system and a large vegetable garden.

Breeding station for endangered birds of Sumatra

Numerous birds on Sumatra are critically endangered. On behalf of the World Zoo Association, we are building a breeding station for these endangered animals and thus contributing to the conservation of species on Sumatra.


We are setting up a restaurant which will offer local dishes for the well-being of the visitors. Most of the ingredients are grown in our own Eco-Farming Cen


A bamboo bridge connecting the parking lot with the Orangutan Haven is the symbol of the area. The characteristic building shows what can be built with the forgotten but very sustainable building material bamboo.


In future, individual visitors will be able to explore the Orangutan Haven on eco-trails and learn a lot about sustainability issues and the orangutan. We design the trails and install them.

Rainforest Centre

The Rainforest Centre will incorporate an exhibition and be the central meeting point for visitors – with seminar- and conference-facilities and other additional services.

Phase 2-4 (as of 2022): Construction and opening of a visitor, pupil and research centre and a facility for flying foxes

The new central visitor centre «Rainforest Centre» – with an Info Point and a large interactive exhibition – will be opened. The «Forest School» student centre, a research station destined to support the scientific exploration of the rainforest, a camping site, an enclosing area for the flying foxes that are endangered and an observation tower for bird watching will be added later. Construction and completion are divided into two different phases because they depend on future cash inflows, whereas planning and fundraising will take place continuously.