Save the Rainforest, Save the Orangutan

Sumatran Orangutan in Bukit Tigapuluh

Imagine a place where you can still find orangutans, tigers, elephants, gibbons, sun bears and other charismatic and exotic Asian animals. That place is Bukit Tigapuluh in Sumatra, Indonesia, and Perth Zoo is working to make sure it remains that way.

Since 2006, Perth Zoo has made a significant contribution to conservation projects in the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and the surrounding forested areas which support a rich diversity of life including a new colony of orangutans.

These orangutans are part of an international program to reintroduce rescued ex-pet and orphaned Sumatran Orangutans into the wild to establish a new population of this critically endangered species. More than 100 orangutans have been released into the area and some have bred.

In November 2006, one of Perth Zoo’s female Sumatran Orangutans, Temara, was released into the Bukit Tigapuluh area as part of this reintroduction program – a world first for a zoo-born orangutan. This was followed in 2011 with another world-first, the release of a male zoo-born Sumatran Orangutan named Semeru. However, our involvement does not end there.

Working with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Australian Orangutan Project and the Indonesian Government, Perth Zoo is committed to the protection of wildlife and habitat in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem. To date, more than $600,000 raised through Wildlife Conservation Action has been used for:

  • the construction of an open orangutan sanctuary which cares for rescued orangutans that cannot be released into the wild with the aim of releasing their offspring into the forest
  • further orangutan releases as part of the reintroduction program
  • specially trained Wildlife Protection Units which patrol the rough and rugged forest terrain to stop illegal logging, assist with orangutan reintroductions and collect wildlife data
  • building infrastructure including ranger posts, bridges and a logistics hub for sanctuary and reintroduction program personnel, Wildlife Protection Units and forest police
  • animal surveys including data collection on the number of elephants in the forest
  • a mobile education unit and more.

To provide further assistance, Perth Zoo staff visit Bukit Tigapuluh at least twice a year to offer advice and guidance on orangutan care programs, check on the progress of orangutans and train project staff.

These programs not only help conserve unique and threatened species but also support community education and employment for local people.

Please donate to Wildlife Conservation Action to support this important work.

*figures are as at January 2012

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