TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK

TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK

Tanjung Puting National Park (near Pangkalan Bun which is accessible by air) is Kalimantan’s most famous park. This is where Birute Galdikas established Camp Leakey and did her early groundbreaking work on orangutans and is where captive and orphaned orangutans have been educated and resettled into the rain forest. Other wildlife ere includes crocodiles, crab-eating macaques, hornbills, river dolphins wild pigs, pythons, mudskippers and red arawana (a valuable aquarium fish prized by Southeast Asian Chinese)..

Tanjung Puting National Park covers 4,150 square kilometers of rain forest, peat-swamp forests, mangroves and wetlands.The park is surrounded by palm oil plantations. In the rainy season the swamps can fill with waist-high water and are thick with leeches. Camp Leakey is a good place to begin the search for wild orangutans. This where Galdikas lived for many years and did much of her research. Tanjung Puting is home to 1,500 wild orangutans. Nyaru Menteng Orangutan refuge in Central Kalimantan has helped rehabilitated 100 or so orangutans.

The area occupied Tanjung Puting was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and became a national park in 1982. The park sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java sea. The sheer size of the park means that it has diverse habitat zones. The Orangutan Research and Conservation Program based at the Camp Leakey research station. Camp Leakey is an orangutan preserve and the site of the longest continuous study of any wild animal in the history of science.

Tanjung Puting National Park, which is located astride Kotawaringin Barat and Seruyan regencies in Central Kalimantan. To reach it you need to fly to the Iskandar Airport at Pangkalan Bun from Jakarta or other main Indonesian cities. The park draws a fair number of foreign visitors. According to the local tourism office, foreign tourist arrivals at Tanjung Puting have totaled 21,107 in 2011, up 100 percent from 2010. The foreign visitors to the park contributed locally generated income worth US$19,424 in the tourism sector. For more detailed information on the park please visit:orangutan.org/rainforest/tanjung-puting-national-park

Wildlife and Plants at Tanjung Puting National Park

Tanjung Puting National Park is famous for its orangutan. Other wildlife ere includes crocodiles, crab-eating macaques, hornbills, river dolphins wild pigs, pythons, mudskippers, and red arawana (a valuable aquarium fish prized by Southeast Asian Chinese).

Among the park’s notable trees are the kantung semar, meranti (Shorea sp.), ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), jelutung (Dyera costulata), gaharu (fragrant wood), lanan, keruing (Dipterocarpus sp.), ulin (Eusideroxylon zwageri) and tengkawang (Dracomentelas sp.). [Source: Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post, November 17, 2012]

The fauna species at the park include bekantan or proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), lutung merah or long-tailed monkeys (Presbytis rubicunda rubida), bears (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus), mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus klossi), branch tigers (Neofelis nebulosa) and wild cats (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis).

Some reptiles at the park are sinyong supit crocodiles (Tomistoma schlegel), estuary crocodiles (Crocodilus porosus) and bidawang (Trionyx cartilagenous). Over 200 bird species are found, one of which, sindanglawe or milky storks (Ciconia stormii), is among the world’s rarest 20 species.

Environmental Threats at Tanjung Puting National Park

Tanjung Puting National Park is surrounded by palm oil plantations and has problems with illegal miners and loggers, degraded the area's rich ecology and costing the Indonesian economy millions of dollars in lost revenue. Those opposed to the activities of the logging and palm oil cartels have been threatened intimidated. Indra Harsaputra wrote in The Jakarta Post: “The government continues to offer oil palm investment opportunities in Central Kalimantan. Besides oil palm estates, an estimated 490 wildcat miners operate in the park, polluting the Sekonyer River that is the source of life for the great apes. Several activists have appealed to the government to cease the expansion of oil palm estates to aid the conservation of orangutans in Kalimantan, whose habitat is increasingly threatened. [Source: Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post, November 17, 2012]

In the early 2000s, gold miners and illegal loggers worked openly in the day. Huge 100-meter-long rafts of logs floated down the Sekonyer Rivers, which had also been polluted by mercury from gold processing. Much of the illegal logging was believed to have been organized by a single timber baron, Abdul Rasyid, owner of Tanjung Lingga, the largest timber company in Central Kalimanta. Rasyid had also been linked to the kidnaping of foreign environmentalists, threatening the manager of an orangutan sanctuary and other crimes.

On Sekonyer River in and around Tanjung Puting National Park floating mining machines and their crews pumped out water and sediment and used mercury to separate gold form the soil with mercury flowing into the water. In some areas there were huge dunes of contaminated sand left over from the process. One miner told Newsweek, “I know this is a national park, but I don’t think the government or police are too concerned.”

Tanjung Puting National Park millions of cubic meters of valuable ramin trees have been chopped down, hauled out and sold illegally. Ramin is a tropical hardwood only found in the swamp areas of Borneo, Sumatra and in the peninsular region of Malaysia and is classified under CITES as a vulnerable tree species. Once processed it can fetch a $1000 per cubic metre on the international market for use in picture frames, wood blinds, decorative mouldings as well as pool cues. Much of the stolen timber used in the cues destined for the UK is believed to be exported to China where the cues are manufactured before being sent to the west.

Sights and Activities Tanjung Puting National Park

The Sekonyer river is famous for it’s natural beauty and wildlife. It is the main venue for viewing and boats and the primary way of getting around as the park is very swampy, making hiking difficult. and has a lot of small rivers and streams that have to be forded. From boats of various sorts — from simple Dayak canoes to live-aboard tourist boats — you can see monkeys jumping from tree to tree. The park is home to around eight species of monkeys including the very distinctive proboscis monkey, with its distinctive long nose. Try to spot wild orangutans swinging through the thick and lush vegetation. Remember to keep your eyes out for crocodiles too, they might be hard to spot but they’re definitely there! As well as this, the park is also a haven for over 220 species of birds.

Describing his experience on a live-board jungle boat, John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “ As the sun sank, the cloudy sky turned pink and the wildlife came out. A hornbill that looked like a toucan, a stork-billed kingfisher and a huge bat called a flying fox soared above us. Proboscis monkeys with pink hooked noses chattered like a quarreling family as they clambered through trees. A monitor lizard dozed on a branch. Darkness fell. From palm trees that lined the banks, a firefly drifted onto the boat. Soon, the fireflies came in clouds, swarming and swirling like silent fireworks. We were beyond the range of our mobile phones. The only mechanical sound was our putting boat, which fell silent after the crew lashed it to the side of the river and we settled in for the night. [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

“Shielded by a tent of mosquito netting, we slept on mattresses rolled onto the deck. On the river, it was cool enough to doze comfortably without air conditioning, even though Tanjung Puting is only about 3 degrees latitude south of the equator. We awoke at dawn to the jungle din -- droning cicadas, chirping frogs, warbling birds, blabbering macaque monkeys.”

One of the main attractions of Tanjung Puting is Camp Leakey, the orang utan preserve. The camp was founded in 1971 as a haven for orangutans rescued from domestic capture. Today the camp remains a center of research of these amazing animals. Learn more about orangutans at the Camp Leakey information centre. The daily feedings of wild orangutans will be the highlight of your visit as you will most likely get to see wild orangutans up close in their natural habitat.

Pondok Tanguii is also a rehabilitation center for ex-captive orangutans located in the park which has daily feedings of the apes. At both centres, you will get the chance to see these amazing primates up close and learn more about how we can protect this endangered species of Borneo island.

Camp Leakey: Renowned Orangutan Research and Rehabilition Center

Camp Leakey is the main orangutan research center at Tanjung Puting National Park. Named after Dr Louis Leakey, the famous hominid fossil hunter and the mentor of one of the camps founder’s Professor Birute Galdikas. Dr Leakey was also mentor to Jane Goddal and Dianne Fossey in their respective studies of chimpanzees and mountain gorillas. Galdikas established Camp Leakey as a center where orphaned and domesticated orangutans are rehabilitated to survive in the wild.

Established in 1971 by Dr. Biruté Galdikas and Rod Brindamour, Camp Leakey is the oldest orangutan research and conservation center in the world. Originally consisting of only two simple huts for studying orangutans, Camp Leakey has grown through the years and expanded to include conservation and rehabilitation efforts to save the endangered orangutans and release captured primates back into the wild.

John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “ Research on Borneo’s orangutans has been conducted continuously since 1971, when a then-graduate student named Birute Galdikas persuaded Louis Leakey, the famed African paleontologist, to fund her studies in Tanjung Puting. Galdikas became one of “Leakey’s Angels,” living among Borneo’s orangutans as Jane Goodall stayed with the chimpanzees of Tanzania and Dian Fossey dwelled among Rwanda’s mountain gorillas. Galdikas still supervises research in Tanjung Puting, financed in part by the Orangutan Foundation International, a Los Angeles-based not-for-profit group she co-founded. [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

The Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) organization is now also active in the conservation of rainforests to protect the habitat of the apes. OFI also organizes special eco-tours led personally by Dr. Galdikas. It is through the research in Camp Leakey that the world has come to know many things about the orangutans. OFI remains active in supporting research by various universities in Indonesia and the United States, not only on the orangutan but also on the tropical environment that supports the primates

Orangutan Feeding Area at Camp Leakey

In the jungle and along the river, not far from Camp Leakey, orangutans converge on wooden platforms to enjoy their daily servings of bananas. There are three feeding stations about a half- hour walk from the river. Orangutans often greet visitors on the path there. Often, wild pigs and squirrels also joined the feedings.

John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “ The sign at Camp Leakey on the Indonesian island of Borneo says: “Never stand between a male and a female orangutan.” We were watching a group of female orangutans feasting on bananas, babies clinging to their bellies, when we learned why. First came the sound of snapping branches, like a bulldozer crashing through the forest. The mother orangutans stuffed their mouths with bananas and started to flee just as Tom, a massive red-haired ape with black cheek pads framing his glassy brown eyes, swung down from the trees. One female, Akmad, was too slow to escape the long arm of Tom. He grabbed her ankle, tossed her on her back and had his way in less than a minute. When Tom was finished, he let out a loud fart. [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

The orangutans swung from tree to tree, using their weight to bend branches until the next limb came into reach of their lanky arms. Their wingspan can grow to as much as eight feet. They scampered over trunks and vines, stuffed their mouths with fruit and clambered away. The females are said to be at least four times as strong as a human. The males, like Tom, weigh as much as 300 pounds (136 kilograms) and have eight times the strength of a human....We fed bananas to one named Rica and her baby Roy. After Rica sucked the fruit down, she returned the empty peel to Kres or handed it to Roy.

Loggers captured the infant Akmad shortly after Galdikas arrived in Borneo, according to “Reflections,” holding the ape in a cage for possible sale until she was rescued and transferred to Camp Leakey for “rehabilitation.” Orangutan rehab consists mostly of daily feedings to help the apes survive while they re-adjust to life in the wild.

Orangutans are usually reclusive, but those in rehab can be naughty neighbors. Rangers shield the windows of their cabins and outbuildings with chain-link fencing to prevent intrusions. During our visit, one ranger briefly left his kitchen door ajar and a female orangutan named Tutut dashed inside. She emerged with a bottle of hot sauce in her mouth and the ranger in pursuit. The ranger coaxed Tutut, who happens to be the mother of Tom, to exchange the hot sauce for a banana.”

Visiting Tanjung Puting National Park

Visitors to Tanjung Puting National Park are required to register at the police station and the PHKA office in Pangkalan Bun. From there is necessary to head to Kumai, a town of 23,000 people on the Kumai River, about 25 kilometers southeast of Pangkalan Bun. From Kumai you can hire a motorized canoe or speed boat to go to Camp Leakey. A speed boat take two hours ro reach Camp Leakey, One of the best way to visit the park is hire a Klotok, a traditional river boat, outift with sleeping cabins, with a group of people. It can serve as your hotel, restaurant and animal viewing platform.

John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “More than 40 wooden boats such as the Kosasi ply the Sekonyer River, ferrying tourists to the feeding stations for three- and four-day trips. Speedboats also roar out of Kumai to make the Camp Leakey journey in a single day. August and September make up the peak visitor season, when the tropical rains let up. More than 100 tourists at a time troop to the feeding platforms, their prattling scaring away many of the apes, according to our guide Kres Harytono, who spoke fluent English and a little Spanish. During our November trip, we never saw more than three other tourists at a time. [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

In the rain forest and jungle there is no other option but to get around by foot. As you trek through the tropical surrounds you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for orangutans, monkeys, bush pigs, wild deer and a variety of birds as you go. The area is pretty swampy and there are a lot of rivers and streams, which limits where you can walk. Most wildlife viewing is done from boats. While you are staying on the river, klotoks will transport you around. Bring mosquito repellent, sunscreen and a flashlight (torch). A small selection of souvenirs is available to purchase at Pangkalan Bun. There may also be the opportunity to buy orang utan souvenirs at Pondok Tanguy.

Pangkalan Bun: Jumping off Point for Tanjung Puting National Park

Pangkalan Bun is a pleasant town on the Arut River is and the jumping off point for trips to Tanjung Puting National Park. Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility is nearby in the village of Pasir Panjang, The main mode of transportation in Pangkalan Bun is by rivers. The traditional Klotok and Getek boats as well as speedboats of every shape and size are used on the Arut River. On both banks of the river, traditional wooden houses where you can see local people engaging in everyday riverside activities. A small Chinatown faces the Arut River. If one wishes to cruise and venture along the long and wide river, there are klotoks and GETEKS parked on some points of the river and they will be only too willing to offer a tour down the river.

Administratively,Pangkalan Bun is a sub district, and capital of the West Kotawaringin district. The bustling little town was once the seat of power of the Kutaringin Sultanate in the reign of Sultan Imanudin reign in 1811-1814. The legacy of the sultanate can be found at the Keraton Kuning or Yellow Palace, in the heart of Pangkala Bun. The palace itself is reconstruced, since the original site was burnt down in 1986. Historically, the Kutaringin Sultanate was once a district of the Banjar Kingdom which emerged as a separate sultanate during the reign of Sultan Banjar IV Mustainbillah. The Sultanate came under the rule of Javanese Majapahit Kingdom, and therefore traces of Javanese culture are found abundant in the area.

About an hour’s drive from Pangkalan Bun is Kubu Beach. The beach is along a three-kilometer gulf and has a relatively flat surface, where the water is calm. There are also areas for fishing. fishing. Kubu is also known as a fishing village. Along the shores, visitors can also watch and even take part in the activities of the fishermen.

Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine Facility

Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility (in the village of Pasir Panjang, near Pangkalan Bun and Tanjung Puting National Park) was created in 1998 by the Orangutan Foundation International to help injured or confiscated ex-captive orangutans needing medical and other care as well as forest experience in preparation for their release into the wild. Most of the orangutans there have been confiscated by the Natural Resource Conservation Office (BKSDA) . In this quarantine facility, visitors can interact with orangutan babies. Visitors are guided and supervised by an officer in charge when interacting with the young orangutans. The facility encompasses approximately 100 hectares and can accommodate over 300 primates. More information on orangutans is available through the Orangutan Foundation International, orangutan.org.

Bill Brubaker wrote in Smithsonian magazine, “About 330 orphaned orangs live at the center, which has its own animal hospital with laboratory, operating room and medical records office. Most are victims of a double whammy; they lost their forest habitat when gold miners, illegal loggers or palm oil companies cleared it. Then their mothers were killed so the babies could be captured and sold as pets. Most came to Galdikas from local authorities. Kiki, a teenager who was paralyzed from the neck down by a disease in 2004, slept on a four-poster bed in an air-conditioned room and was pushed in a pink, blue and orange wheelchair before she died this year. [Source: Bill Brubaker, Smithsonian magazine, December 2010]

“The juveniles will be released when they are between 8 and 10 years of age, or old enough to avoid being prey for clouded leopards. In addition to the fruits, the youngsters are occasionally given packages of store-bought ramen noodles, which they open with gusto. "If you look closely, you'll see each package has a tiny salt packet attached," says Galdikas. The orangutans carefully open the packets and sprinkle salt on their noodles.

“Galdikas and I roar down the inky Lamandau River in a rented speedboat, bound for a release camp where she hopes to check up on some of the more than 400 orangutans she has rescued and set free over the years. "The orangutans at the release site we'll be visiting do attack humans," she warns. "In fact, we had an attack against one of our assistants a few days ago. These orangutans are no longer used to human beings."

But when we arrive at the camp, about an hour from Pangkalan Bun, we encounter only a feverish, emaciated male sitting listlessly beside a tree. "That's Jidan," Galdikas says. "We released him here a year and a half ago, and he looks terrible." Galdikas instructs some assistants to take Jidan immediately back to the care center. She sighs. "There's never a dull moment here in Borneo," she says. (Veterinarians later found 16 air rifle pellets under Jidan's skin. The circumstances of the attack have not been determined. After a blood transfusion and rest, Jidan recuperated and was returned to the wild.)

Accommodation and Transport in Pangkalan Bun

The majority of visitors to Tanjung Puting National Park travel via boat and stay on board during their time in the park. There are also limited options to stay in simple hotels and homestays. Pangkalan Bun is the main town near the park. There are several hotels and modest inns there. Here are a few accommodations you can find within Pangkalan Bun:

1) Purnama Indah Hotel, A. Yani Street kilometers. 2, Tel. (0532) 24990; 2) Agus Dwi Jaya Hotel, Pasir Panjang Street, Tel. (0532) 23386; 3) Andika Hotel, Hasanudin Street 20, Tel. (0532) 21218 - 21363; ) Bone Hotel, Domba Street 21, Tel. (0532) 21213; 4) Abadi Hotel P. Antasari Street 150, Tel. (0532) 21021; 5) Thamrin Hotel, P. Diponegoro Street, Tel. (0532) 22061 - 22173 - 21376; 6) Candi Agung Hotel, Patih Surya Dilaga Street, Tel. (0532) 22259 - 21483; 7) Rimba Lodge Hotel, Domba Street, Tel. (0532) 25044; 8) Diana Hotel, Pakunegara Stret 18, Tel. (0532) 21375; 9) Sampuraga Hotel, Domba Street 9, Tel. (0532) 21196; 10) Garuda Hotel, Gerilya Street 377 Kumai, Tel. (0532) 61145; 11) Melati Mutiara hotel Sukma Aria Ningrat 4, Tel. (0532) 23498; 12) Selecta Hotel, P. Antasari Street 1/13, Tel. (0532) 21532

The majority of accommodations in Pangkalan Bun are fairly basic, but there are a few nicer ones as well. Situated on a hill, overlooking the city, the Blue Kecubung Hotel is the most popular hotel in the area. Rooms are furnished with the standard amenities, and are available for single or double occupancy. The hotel’s facilities include a restaurant, Karaoke Bar, Lobby with Free WIFI, fitness center and laundry service. Orangutan tour packages are also available here. Room rates range from IDR 500,000 — 725,000 per night. Blue Kecubung Hotel, Jl. Domba No.1 Pangkalan Bun 74111, Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia, Tel:: 62-532-21211 Email : reservation@bluekecubunghotel.com, Website: bluekecubunghotel.com

The Swiss-Belinn is the first 3-star hotel in west Central Kalimantan, and is located just a few minutes from the airport and the harbour. 93 guest rooms of contemporary design welcome travellers for leisure and business alike. Rooms include smoking and non-smoking, and special rooms designated for the disabled. The hotel’s restaurant and bar serves international and local cuisine with both a buffet and a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other available facilities are a meeting room, ballroom, fitness center and spa. Swiss-Belinn Pangkalan Bun, Jl. Ahmad Yani kilometers. 2, Pangkalan Bun 74113, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Tel. (62) 532-27888, Website: swiss-belhotel.com

Hotel Mahkota is a budget hotel on the main road of Pangkalan Bun. Rooms are simple, and staff are friendly, though English is not their strong point. Room rates start at IDR 160,000 to 360,000. Hotel Mahkota, Jl. Pangeran Antasari No. 303, Pangkalan Bun, Tel. 62 - 532 27002

One important tip for travellers to Pangkalang Bun is that there aren’t many money changers or ATMs, so money must be changed at a bank during the weekdays, or sorted out before you arrive.

Getting to Tanjung Puting National Park

The TanjungPuting National Park is about 30 kilometers from Pangkalang Bun. To explore the park, visitors must take a boat down the Sekonyer River from Kumai, near Pangkalan Bun. Most visitors sleep in the same boat that takes them to the park. A number of tour operators run cruises from Pankalan Bun down the river (See Below). If you pre-arrange your tour, the tour operator will pick you up from the airport and transport you straight to the river. If not, you can charter a speedboat yourself, or hop on an ojek (motorbike taxi) or even a bus if you dare.

Taxis to/from Iskandar Airport will cost around IDR 50,000, and opelet or public transportation rides around the town will cost about IDR5,000. Minibuses to Kumai leave from the terminal near the market at Jl.P Antasari Street and cost about IDR 10,000. However the best way to get around Pangkalan Bun is obviously not over land, As the city sits on the Arut River, the best way to get around it is on board traditional Klotok or Getek boats.

John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “We took a prop plane from Surabaya, Java, to Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan, then rode an SUV for a half-hour to the port of Kumai, where stevedores shouldered bags of rice onto riverboats that carried cargo deep into Borneo’s jungles. We boarded the Kosasi and crossed a broad bay, entering the mouth of the Sekonyer River in the late afternoon, passing a billboard with a picture of Tom, welcoming us to his kingdom. It said his reign as dominant male began in 2006, when he dethroned a predecessor. We were the only passengers on the Kosasi, a 40-foot (12- meter) wooden boat powered by a single-cylinder diesel engine. It putted lazily up the Sekonyer River, gateway to the Tanjung Puting National Park” [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

By Air: Trigana Air connects Pangkalan Bun with Jakarta, Semarang, and Surabaya via daily flights to and from the Iskandar Airport. Kalstar Aviation also provides daily flights from Semarang to Pangkalan Bun, while from Surabaya flights leave on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. From Pangkalan Bun, Kalstar also serve flights to Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Ketapang, Pontianak, Sampit, Semarang, and Surabaya. Aviastar serves daily flights from Jakarta and from Semarang, every Monday and Friday. Aviastar also flies to Ketapang once every two days.

By Sea: The Kumai Seaport, about 35 minutes from Pangkalan Bun serves passengers ships from Java, Freighters, Bugis Phinisi, and Madura Schooner. Pelni Boats connect Kumai with Semarang through a 24 hours trip that cost IDR145,000 and Surabaya through a 26 hours trip that cost IDR153,000, both three times a week.

By Land: From the province capital, Palangkaraya, an overland trip by car will take approximately 8-10 hours. The roads and bridges from Palangkaraya to Pangkalan Bun are relatively in fair condition. Buses from Palangkaraya take about 12-14 hours, ranging from IDR80,000 to IDR120,000.

Tours of Tanjung Puting National Park

Most people visit Tanjung Puting National Park as part of package tour that includes meals and accommodation aboard a traditional klotk boat. John Gittelsohn of Bloomberg wrote: “My wife and I visited Borneo in November, taking a four-day river trip We booked a four-day/three-night trip to Central Kalimantan, including round-trip airfare from Java, via Wisata Alam Indonesia Tour Services, oranghutantour.com. It cost $700 per person. The package covered food, non-alcoholic beverages, on-board sleeping accommodations and an English- speaking guide. We tipped the guide and boat crew after our trip. The dry season from about June to October offers the best weather for visits but can also be crowded.” [Source: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg, June 4, 2012]

A number of Travel agents offer adventure and eco-tours to Tanjung Puting National Park, among which are: 1) Orangutan Tours, oranghutantours.com; 2) Orangutan Travel, orangutantravel.com; 3) Adventure Indonesia - Borneo, Mr. Yatno, Jl. H.M. Idris, RT 06 no. 477, Kumai Hulu - Pangkalan Bun - Central Kalimantan; 4) Adventure Indonesia - Jakarta, Wisma 31 Building, 3rd Floor,, Kemang Raya Street No.31, Jakarta 12730, Indonesia, Tel. 62-21-718-2250 or 62-21-718-2256, fax: 62-21-718-0438, E-mail: advindo@cbn.net.id: 5) Adventure Indonesia - Bali, Ruko Wana Segara No. 12A, Jl. Wana Segara, Kuta - BALI, Tel. 62-361-750971, 750964;, fax: 62-361-750964, E-mail: bali@adventureindonesia.com: 6) Adventure Indonesia- Papua, Jl. Trikora No.2, PO Box. 152, Wamena 99511 - West Papua Papua, E-mail: wamena@adventureindonesia.com

Orangutan Foundation International began its formal tour program in 2004. It was a tremendous success due to Dr. Galdikas’ participation and the planning done by our travel agent and travel company. During this trip, you will visit the sites of Dr. Galdikas’ work including her famous research site at Camp Leakey and the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine Facility, which houses over 330 orangutan orphans. Dr. Galdikas will share with you her expertise in the areas of primatology, anthropology, and conservation. As the world’s leading expert in orangutan behavior, you will come away with insights into one of human’s closest living relatives. You will also spend time along riverways and walking through the forest in search of some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet including proboscis monkeys, barking deer, rhinoceros hornbills, and Bornean wild pigs. Price of tour is $4495.00 per person based on two people sharing $825.00 single supplement, Includes internal airfare (international airfare and mandatory travel insurance is extra). Check: worldwildlife.org/species/finder/borneoorangutans/borneoorangutan.html

Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

The Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (near Tanjung Puting National Park) embraces a river that flows through 76,000 hectares of tropical rainforest, and is a sanctuary for many endangered species, including the Borneo Orangutan. The reserve is funded by the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) and provides preservation of lowland forest ecosystems and orangutan habitats. It is also a source of livelihood for 12 rural communities in two districts of the surrounding forests.

The park’s name in Bahasa Indonesia is Suaka Margasatwa Sungai Lamandau, or SMS Lamandau. The Lamandau River flows through Pangkalan Bun in southern Central Kalimantan, and emerges into the Java Sea at the Kotawaringin Bay. The peat swamp forests of the reserve provide an ideal habitat for nine of Kalimantan’s thirteen species of primates, and are also some of the last surviving primary forests in Kalimantan.

A tour up the Lamandau river takes you through Kalimantan’s rainforests where you may catch a glimpse of gibbons, proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaque, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines, and sambar deer. The colorful kingfisher birds and hornbills dominate the skies, with the occasional giant Bornean Butterfly fluttering past, while the false gavial fresh water crocodile may be seen lurking in the waters beneath you.

Sadly, this ecological treasure has been critically threatened by human exploitation, which may irreversibly destroy the forests and their abundant biodiversity. Gold and zircon mining have caused pollution in the river and the displacement of many unique species. Illegal logging and large-scale deforestation to make way for palm oil plantations have also played a major part in biodiversity loss, drought and flooding.

Fortunately, the local government officials have joined forces with international NGOs to create awareness and take action against these practices, and hopefully salvage what is left of this rare and essential environment before it’s too late. Campaigns have been initiated to prevent illegal activities, generate agreements with palm oil plantation companies, improve the education and awareness of Lamandau communities on the importance of conserving forests, introduce agricultural practices that will support forest protection, and establish income-generating mechanisms that are compatible with forest conservation.

Considerable progress has been made with local communities learning farming practices that do not require land to be cleared. Farmers are also learning to cultivate the land, make compost, and deal with disease control. This is helping to improve the sustainable management of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve as well as improve the livelihoods of local communities in the surrounding area. Another main focus has been to increase the reforestation of degraded lands and enhance the natural regeneration of the area, thereby improving its capacity as a conservation area. This is extremely crucial in order to ensure the current population of orangutans and other wildlife will continue to have a steady supply of natural food. Two plant nurseries have been established, nurturing over 20 species of indigenous plants.

Boat Tour in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

Visitors generally sleep and eat on the boat that carries them around. Your vessel of choice for this unique river cruise would be the klotok: a traditional wooden riverboat that seats a maximum of four people; though you do have the option of hiring a speedboat instead. There are also larger klotok that provide facilities for overnight passengers, including cabins with clean mattresses and pillows, restaurants with fresh food cooked aboard and simple toilets.

The twists and turns of Lamandau’s black waters will take you on a tour through Kalimantan’s jungles, exotic wildlife, and traditional Dayak villages. As you sail upstream, you may catch a glimpse of more than a few furry forest friends such as gibbons, proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaque, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines, and sambar deer. The colorful kingfisher birds and hornbills dominate the skies, with the occasional giant Bornean Butterfly fluttering past, while the false gavial fresh water crocodile may be seen lurking in the waters beneath you.

Further down the river, you can stop for a short trek through the forest to visit Camp Leaky in the Tanjung Puting National Park. Camp Leakey is a center for orphaned orangutans, and visitors to the park may observe their feeding times up close. TanjungPuting is also the release site for rehabilitated orangutans to be re-introduced to life in the wild.

While on the way to your next stop, you will pass a few logging companies going about their day to day business. Small villages are also scattered along the tree-lined riverbanks, many of which are only accessible by water. The smooth bends of the river seam flawlessly with their natural surroundings, with the added thrill of occasional rapids!

The Bakonsu village is next in our tour, where visitors receive a grand and warm welcome. Local delicacies of rice wine and beetlenut are offered, as is tradition when welcoming royal guests. Take a tour of the village for a glimpse into the daily lives and traditions of the Dayak people. You can also observe the process of extracting latex from the surrounding rubber trees. Traditional Dayak souvenirs are available for purchase, such as masks, mats and other carved artifacts. Climb the hills for a magnificent view of the fields and forests, and by this time you should be good and hungry, and ready for what the evening has to offer. As night falls, the traditional festivities are in order: a local musician will lighten the mood as a wide array of simple, yet delicious dishes are served. Bagondang, the traditional dance, will be performed in your honour, and you can feel free to participate too! For the full experience, spend the night in Bakonsu in a traditional, wooden long-house.

Most tour packages include: Pick up and return to Pangkalan Bun Airport, boat transport, English speaking guide, fresh meals, mineral water, park admission fees, and accommodations for the duration of the tour.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Indonesia Tourism website ( indonesia.travel ), Indonesia government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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