First Basic Tree Climbing Courses and Tour Completed
In March and April of 2016 Tree Monkey Project headed to all four corners and the center of the Island of Borneo to train tree climbers to work saving Orangutans and Sun Bears and support research of the forest and its animals.
We combined forces with The Orangutan Project, a non-profit based in Kuching Malaysia that runs Matang Wildlife Rehab center. They also provide funding to other organizations and non-profits to support rescue of endangered animals and protect rainforest environments.. Through their support and gracious funding we were able to deliver 8 sets of climbing gear to each of the non-profit organzations that we trained. They also set up the connections and logistics for the journey around Borneo, which included 5 different flights and travelling between the countries of Malaysia and Indonesia. This was by no means an easy task and we are happy to say that we were able to travel without any issues what so ever!
First stop was Sepilock B&B in Sandikan in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. We were able to train 8 participants from the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center and the Tabin Orangutan Project. Both organizations were very quick to learn the techniques and put them to use soon after they graduated.
Next Stop on the trip was in Balikpapan Indonesia, in the state of West Kalimantan. There we worked with the staff from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation or BOS and the staff of the Sun Bear Education and Conservation Center.
We stayed at the BOS site in Samboja where there are currently 400 rescued orangutans being rehabilitated for release. This site is unique in that the land that was donated to them was originally barren of any trees. This is counter to rehabilitating animals that spend 70% of there lives in the canopy.
The man who created this center, Dr. Willie Smits, actually recreated a rainforest where there was only field and created one of the most state of the art rehab facilities in Borneo. The orangutans are released onto man made islands and since they cannot swim they are not be able to cross the moat to escape the islands before they are ready. Here at Samboja they have 7 islands. Each island has a different age group and essentially go through corresponding schools, from kindergarten to university, when they are finally released into the forest.