Orangutan Aid Fundraising - Photography tours Borneo
Jackie Peers Photography tours
A 7 night tour to Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. 2019 - April - May
• This tour will be led by Jackie Peers - Professional Photographer and • Mara McCaffery of Orangutan Aid Hong Kong, will be available to answer questions. • Explore the rainforests of Tanjung Puting National Park, the best place in the world to photograph Orangutans. Guided walks will include the feeding stations at Camp Leakey. • Orangutan Aid membership for 1 year, and a donation to OFI’s Orangutan Legacy Forest Fund. • Daily photography workshops on a variety of topics. • Evenings spent relaxing and discussing the days photography and achievements.
The aim of the tour is to raise awareness of the plight of wild orangutans, whilst observing their behaviour to enable us to photograph them more astutely. .
Orangutan, comes from the Malay words for orang, person, and hutan, forest. They are the forest ape and the only great ape found in Asia. There are two species - the Bornean and Sumatran. Today both face an uncertain future as agriculture, logging, mining and fires conttinue to destroy the forests upon which they depend.
Orangutan babies are born after an eight month pregnancy. This baby was 9 days old when we arrived. Mother Akamd will not leave it alone for the first 2 years of it's life, photograph along with older sibling Atlas, at Camp Leakey, Tanjung Puting National park, Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo.
Orangutans are the largest arboreal (tree living) animals in the world. They are entirely dependent upon trees for their existence and are perfectly adapted to life in the forest. Up to 60 per cent of an orangutan's life is spent foraging for food, mostly in the canopy, and 40 per cent sleeping and resting.
To date, palm oil plantations have represented the greatest threat to orangutan's habitat, because many estates have been established at the expense of primary rainforest. From the plantation owners' perspective it makes sense to clear forested land rather than to set up on degraded land because they can sell the timber before planting the palms. However, for orangutans and other species that depend on the forest for their survival, it is bad news.
One of the ways forward, is for responsible organisations to purchase forested land which they will be able to protect for future years, when the current infants that are in care can be released back into the forest.
The Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) have set themselves a goal to purchase a 640 000 acre piece of forest, near the Care Centre, called the Rawa Kuno Legacy forest in Pangkalanbun, Central Kalimantan.
The money raised from this Photography tours goes into the Forest campaign, that Orangutan Aid's supports, which is
We also visit a local market, which has endless opportunites for images, with very willing subjects.
How it started for me.... Baby orangutans have four dexterous limbs. I know this because within moments of entering the orphan "pondok" at the Orangutan Care centre, in Southern Borneo. I had young primates climbing up my legs, crawling over my back and grabbing my camera. Their favourite method of identifying me was to twist my hair around their fingers and remove it from my scalp. No wonder volunteers are not normally allowed any direct contact with the orangutans.
I was there at the invitation of Sai Kung resident Mara McCaffery, who founded the Orangutan Aid society in Hong Kong in 2009 to raise money for the centre. She fell under the orangutans' spell after visiting Borneo in 1996. "Man's greed and inhumanity are the fundamental reasons that orangutans are on the brink of extinction, bit it is also within our power to save them" she says.
She spends a month each year at the centre in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, supplying hands on care to the orphaned orangutans, delivering funds and making sure the money raised is put to best use. I went with her to take pictures for the Orangutan Aid website, allowing me privileged access to the young orangutans
I befriended the two babies, Cri and Douglas, both around a year old still in nappies an in need of constant attention. They were my introduction to the orangutan world an its surprisingly human-like behaviour: orangutan translates literally as "person of the forest". Wild orangutan infants don't leave their mother's grasp for about two year, or their presence for seven years, which makes it easy to understand the intensity of their needs.
There are 350 Orangutans orphans at the Care centre, which is part of the Camp Leakey Orangutan Research Centre. Some are former pets - either confiscated or voluntarily handed over - others were rescued from plantations or fires. Of these, 60 live in the nursery pondock.
As with any household filled with children, there have to be systems in place. In addition to daily trips to the baby forest, the seven permanent staff spend much of their day in food preparation and feeding, cleaning and health care for the orangutans, some of whom live at the centre for up to eight years before being reintroduced to the wild. I was impressed at how ingenious the local women were at devising stimulation and entertainment for the youngsters, with a minimum of materials. They gave the youngsters branches and baskets to create their own "nests", hid food inside handmade rattan balls, and tied towels together to make a swing.
In order to get a feel for where orangutans should be living in the wild, Mara and I made a short visit along the river to the Tanjung Puting National Park, and Camp Leakey, where Canadian primatologist Birute Galdikas - set up the Orangutan Research Centre nearly 40 years ago. Following in the footsteps of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Galdikas is sometimes referred to as the third of Dr Louis Leakey's angels. She has contributed much to the current understanding of orangutan behaviour. It was her book "Reflections of Eden- My Life with the Orangutans of Borneo", that inspired Mara to visit Camp Leakey and to set up Orangutan Aid in 2009.
Camp Leakey is open to visitors, and it was an amazing sight to see the fully grown males and the females up in the trees with their young ones firmly clutched to their sides as they should be. Orangutans have a slow reproductive rate, often producing only three offspring in a lifetime. Which doesn't help there predicament.
There are an estimated 40,000 - 60,000 orangutans left in Borneo, putting them on the endangered list. Logging, uncontrolled wildfires and, primarily, palm oil plantations are destroying their rainforest habitat. Mining and road construction is fragmenting the rainforest, making human contact had to avoid, and poaching for the wild animal trade or bushmeat is common. This wanton destruction is the orangutans' tragedy: if we don't do something, their may be no wilderness left for Cri and Douglas to be returned to. By doing these tours I would like to introduce you to a very special world, and increase the awareness of the loss of habitat for these wonderful animals. I would like to see Cri and Douglas return to their natural home.
My abiding impression was just how human-like they are in their behaviour.
Photography tours and courses in Hong Kong, and with the Orangutans in Borneo, with Jackie Peers