Spotting Orangutans in the Wild and Helping to Save Them

Spotting orangutans in the wild

December 2019, Sumatra

Spotting orangutans in the wild has always been my dream. When we found the Batu Kapal volunteer program we couldn’t have been more happy with the prospect of not only being able to see these awesome creatures in the wild but also working with the local communities to help improve the relationship between them so that both could thrive.

Within hours of us arriving we saw three orangutans swing right passed the front of the house. It was INCREDIBLE! From then on for the rest of our two week stay we were lucky enough to see different groups of orangutans nearly every day! Jimmy and Embera were awesome at tracking where the orangutans were and helped us to notice the different signs of where they may be!

We would return in a heartbeat. One of the best experiences I have ever had!

Louise and Joe

spotting orangutans in the wild

March 2019, Sumatra

The things I remember most from my time at Batu Kapal are monitoring and cleaning the river of plastic. We did a lot more, but these activities just stuck with me. And how happy I felt there. I enjoyed the evenings where we just had fun with everyone so much! Playing Uno, charades, or the ”hand-slapping game” (with the lack of a better name for it).

While monitoring daily, we were searching for monkeys and orangutans. We wrote down information such as the time, coordinates and the activity they were doing. They are really magnificent and we got to watch them just ‘doing their thing!’ They were mainly eating, or the little wild juvenile Marley would be playing around in the trees. It gives me such inspiration to want to conserve them. Knowing that this species is going through very hard times is heart-breaking and it would be a great loss if they are gone! We should help them, just for their beauty alone! I felt so humble that I had the chance to watch the orangutans everyday.

On my very first day there, being able to see Kentung in the wild, the big male in the area, was so awe-inspiring! He was beautiful and had a perfect disc around his face. I didn’t get to take many pictures of him at that time, but two weeks later we spotted him more often! I was so lucky to see so much of him!

Spotting orangutans in the wild

Two weeks into my stay, one of my fellow volunteers noticed that wild adult female, Aaron, had had a little baby over the weekend. She named him Suri. It was adorable and we all felt blessed that we were able to spot a wild new born cute little baby orangutan!