Deep in the jungles of Borneo in 1971, a 25-year-old anthropologist named Birute Galdikas first began her life-long career studying orangutans in the wild. Birute was one of famed anthropologist, Louis Leakey’s three “angels,” which also included Jane Goodall (studying chimpanzees in Tanzania) and Dian Fossey (studying Mountain gorillas in Rwanda). Birute’s research at Camp Leaky continues today in promoting scientific study and conservation of orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park. This southern Bornean, peninsular, 125,000 square-mile, peat swamp park with a 100-foot towering tree canopy juts into the Java Sea. In addition to being home to the largest wild population of orangutans (6,000), the forest supports semi-wild, orangutans rescued by Birute from the pet trade and released more than 30 years ago. Many of these rescued and rehabilitated orangutans and their offspring provide park visitors with surprisingly up close, inspiring encounters and incredible photo opportunities, all in a free-range, forested setting. Our visit to Camp Leaky proved a perfect final day for our annual, integrated conservation trip to Borneo, connecting human, livestock, forest and orangutan health!
Blog and photos, unless otherwise noted, by: Dr. Jeff Wyatt D.V.M., M.P.H., Director of Animal Health and Conservation for the Seneca Park Zoo Dr. Andrew Winterborn D.V.M., Seneca Park Zoo and University of Rochester veterinary alumnus; University Veterinarian, Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada