The Latest and Greatest at Samboja Lestari!

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 12th Nov 2019

The following was written by volunteer coordinator Kate, who got in touch to update us on a number of huge projects undertaken by volunteers over the past few months.

At the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project, we always have a small construction project going in order to maintain and improve the animal areas around the sanctuary. Sometimes, these projects are a little bigger than we expect and other times we have lots going on all at once. Over the past 3 months, we have managed to complete 3 of these projects, and boy is it rewarding for our volunteers and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) staff who all played a part in these achievements. Here is a little update on what we have been up to and why each project was so important.

The Gabion Wall

Orangutan Islands

Over the last 3 months, volunteers and BOSF technicians have worked together to construct a gabion wall by the side of Island 2. This is to prevent further erosion of the land into the moat surrounding the island and keep the orangutans safely put. This was funded by volunteer donations through The Great Projects. This, along with the digging of the moat by BOSF, has made this island usable again - hopefully for a long time to come. If the wall had not been built, this would almost certainly lead to further erosion making the island once again unusable.

Construction of Wall

For almost one and a half years, this island has not been used due to a large area of eroded land collapsing into the water, creating a bridge for the orangutans to escape. Now, with help from all parties, this problem has been solved and will give the chance for 2 orangutans to move onto the island. This is by far the biggest project we have done and it has taken a considerable amount of time, but with the help from so many volunteers from all types of background (and lots of support from the staff at the BOS Foundation), it is finally finished!

Great Projects Volunteer

Enrichment Installations

Volunteers in September helped to install large enrichment items in orangutan enclosures. They worked incredibly hard to construct hammocks and install lots of climbing ropes ready for the orangutans to move into. For the orangutans yet to move on to an island, enrichment is extremely important to keep them mentally stimulated and comfortable in their enclosures.

Hammock Making

Holding Enclosures for Sick Orangutans

… And finally, to finish off the year, we were hard at work building an area for sick adult orangutans behind the vet clinic. This facility did not previously exist for the adult orangutans, it was only available for the younger orangutans due to their size. Occasionally, orangutans do get very sick as they can suffer from many diseases and conditions similar to humans. With the adult orangutans in closer proximity, the vets will be able to provide round-the-clock care in the hope of nursing them back to health faster. This has all been made possible by the hard work and funds provided by our incredible volunteers and with the collaboration of staff at BOSF to build the area.

Vet Clinic Construction

In an unfortunate turn of events, the keepers had to work day and night for 3 days to quickly construct the final unit as the vets had an unexpected medical issue with one of the adult orangutans in the centre. As soon as possible, the orangutan was moved here after a medical procedure and he is now in recovery. We hope he recovers fast and are glad to know that we were able to help in this situation.

For now, our volunteer efforts will stop for a while due to the end of the season, but we are all excited to see what next year holds, and hopefully, we can continue to help these very important animals have a better life in the long and short term!

Together we can all make a difference, and anyone no matter who you are, can play a huge part in that. Donations through The Great Projects volunteer programme make a big difference over time, however, the hours of work that come from the volunteers being with us make just as big a difference to the day to day lives of the animals. Whether we are working on enrichment or on one of our construction projects, all of it is worthwhile. We hope more and more people are willing to come and help us in future.

Discover more about the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project and see how you could help make a difference to the lives of these orangutans.

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