Travel Inspiration - Orang-utans, Indonesia and Malaysia













Orang-utans live in threatened forests in Borneo and Sumatra.  These highly intelligent creatures are, therefore, at risk of extinction.

Forests have been diminished by deliberate fires and clearing mostly so that palm oil plantations can be established.  This destruction also puts huge volume of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming.

See our orangutan infant slideshow

Some years ago, I saw a wildlife TV program which spoke of the need of orang-utans for intellectual stimulation and for their culture.  Having visited them in Borneo and Sumatra, I now better appreciate this need.

I call on consumers to avoid products which contain palm oil.  These include foods and cosmetics.

I also call on enlightened manufacturers to cease using palm oil, or at the very least to list palm oil as an ingredient so that consumers can choose whether or not they want to encourage more palm oil plantations.

There is a need to value forests so that local inhabitants can earn a better living from protecting and expanding them than they can from clearing them.  The Australian government is establishing a program with Indonesia to reduce deforestation and we will watch this with interest.

There are many committed locals, NGO's and international volunteers and donors.  It is not all bad news, but protection and restoration of habitat is urgent.

by Charlie Nelson
May 2009

More on Borneo

Man of the woods

by Malcolm Ross
April 2009

they watch - and they seek,

with their soft and appealing ancient eyes,

shining from strong waiting faces,

surrounded by that wild-fire russet and flame pelt,

a coat of red oceans sweeps of orange gold fur

deep from within a forest of imperilled fortunes,

their thoughts, like ours,

must be of lost wonder,

and lost safety.



Wild mother and child at Kutai National Park, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, March 2011.




Buy a postcard of a mother and infant orangutan in the forest of Kalimantan