Orangutan Adventures

Gita, a 4-year old baby

(Emma) Out of the 25,000 orangutans in the world 5,000 of them live in Tanjung Puting National Park on the island of Borneo. We were fortunate enough to interact and see many of them. We have 4 days at the park; a really long time for a visitor. So that gave us lots of time! Also, all the orangutans have names so you can identify them, the mom of the family tree had her own letter to begin all the names of the family.

Day 1–When we arrive at the park on the first day we see Percy immediately, he is trying to climb on one of the other boats for food. I thought it was fascinating that he was there right in front of us when we didn’t even have to look. I thought it would be more like the tiger safari in India where we have to go searching for animals, but that is obviously

Percy waiting on the boardwalk

not the case here. When we got off the boat Percy was sitting on the boardwalk going to Camp Leakey. We crouch down next to him and he reaches out to grab my hand. He touches me (even though you are not supposed to). His hand feels like rough human skin and the hair on his hand was hard like a hairbrush. I thought to myself “How lucky am I?”

Day 2– We went to the other two camps: 1 and 2. The camps feed the orangutans bananas so they stay in the area and so there is enough food for everyone. Camp 2 had a feeding in the morning so we went to check it out; 3 orangutans showed up then disappeared, it was pretty uneventful. Camp 1 was exactly the same. We all decide that we liked Camp Leakey the best because the orangutans are right there.

Emma strolling with Gara, Gita and Mada

Day 3– We were walking to the Camp Leakey feeding when we ran into Gara (mom), Gita (youngest Baby), and Gadja-Mada (Gara’s older 9 year old son who still follows her around) he goes by Mada. They walked with us to the feeding area. They went for bananas and we were there to watch. On the way back we were the last visitors to leave so we got the privilege to walk back with them. Dad, Alex, Andrew and Reis already started back, so it was just Mom and me. Mada happened to be walking back when we were walking, so he stood on his feet and grabbed my hand. We strolled back to camp together hand in hand. He would have to stop from time to time to adjust or get back on 4 legs, but he still gave me an everlasting memory. I guess good things happen to those who wait!

His Majesty Tom, the King

Day 4– It was our last day in the park with the orangutans so we just wanted to sit and absorb. We were watching another orangutan named Thomas when we heard the big crowd of people coming. We knew there had to be something so we went over to take a look around the corner. Not only was there a big crowd but leading it was the King of the orangutans in the area, his name was Tom. Tom only gets seen 3-4 times a month so this was a big deal. Male orangutans get cheek pads when they get older, so you could tell he was a big one. He walked closer to us and we had to back off because he weighs over 120 kg and we didn’t want to get him angry. He uses his enormous hand to move himself through the crowds; the crowds part for him like he is the president. Tom goes and sits down in front of the kitchen. He is waiting for his bowl of milk. The waiter comes and serves him. Tom slurps down the whole bowl and moves on with his life. He walks away slowly but slyly. I sit there and stare at him with awe.

When our time comes to an end with the orangutans we say our goodbyes. They are fascinating animals and I hope one day I can go back and see them again. That is how much I loved them!

Mada holding Emma's hand

Percy accepting a gift from Alexandra

Richie snuggling with his Mom, Rani

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4 Responses to “Orangutan Adventures”

  1. Hey Emma!!!
    Those orangutans are soooooo cute! We want one!!
    Well, we think that it would be really fun to go see them. That post was really well written. You are so lucky to go on this trip!
    Keep up the great work!
    -Olivia & Sophie

  2. Andriana and Carly 28. Apr, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Hey Emma!

    We love your post it was great. You had nice details. I was going to ask what your favorite animal so far was on your trip.

    Andriana and Carly

  3. Dear Emma,
    Great narrative and photos.Thanks for sharing.


  4. This sounds like a fantastic experience. I would like to take my family of 6 on the same Orangutan adventure you did. Would you mind sharing the logistics of how you accomplished is part of your trip?