Follow our editor-in-chief as he takes a five-hour journey through the jungle in southern Borneo to Camp Leakey, the world’s leading orangutan research center.
I had long wanted to see these strangely humanlike great apes, so on my recent trip to Indonesia I engaged a guide, Erwin, who has lived and worked in the remote Tanjung Puting National Park for more than 20 years.
The heat and humidity steadily increased. On arrival at the jetty, we headed into the jungle along a well-trodden path. Erwin called to the orangutans, and they soon began to answer.
Eventually we came to a feeding platform. We were joined by about 15 orangutans, including an impressive alpha male, who swung effortlessly through the trees before descending to eat the fruits that the rangers had left out for them.
The group included several mothers with tiny infants. As a privileged guest in the vast and ancient forest, I watched their family interactions for well over an hour, at a distance of about 100 feet.
Read more about our editor's visit to Indonesia and his article “Journey to the Orangutans.”