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Research stations

Forschung vor Ort

Orangutan field research provides the basis for successfully reintroducing orangutans to the wild and protecting their natural habitat. Under the umbrella of PanEco’s Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, researchers have been collecting scientific data for more than 15 years in four research stations on Sumatra. The conservation programmes are able to be given specific focuses thanks to the findings gained here.


In Jantho, Suaq Balimbing, Sikundur and Batang Toru, teams of researchers collect data on the behaviour of orangutans and their habitat, the tropical rainforest. The teams consist of local scientists and students from all over the world and are supported by various universities. The four locations of the research stations represent the different habitats of orangutans: lowland forest, swamp forest and mountain forest.


Since 2011, PanEco scientists have been working together with the University of Zurich, the National University in Jakarta and the Bogor Agricultural University in Jantho to support the resettlement of orangutans with scientific studies. The great apes which are returned to the wild are followed from morning to evening, their behaviour is noted and their position recorded at regular intervals with the help of GPS. In phenological studies, flowers, leaves and fruits of specific trees are also recorded to measure the productivity of the forest. In Sikundur the observations are carried out on orangutans which have never been in contact with humans. This means it is possible to compare the behaviour of orangutans which have been reintroduced to the wild with those which have always been in the wild, and to improve the resettlement process accordingly.