“We cannot let too many visitors to be here. This place is originally intended to be a research station,” says Haryadi, a field staff of Kutai National Park in Kalimantan, probably the only place in the world where wild orangutans can be seen in their natural habitat (2015). The main objectives of the orangutan conservation are to secure the sustainability of the population and habitat, and to keep them wild as well. These are precisely the most difficult things to achieve regarding the rates of habitat destruction, poaching, wildlife trade, and— last but not least—tourism.

“In the meantime, the efforts to rehabilitate the captive orangutans carry their own burdens. Orangutan rehabilitation has been defined as ‘the process by which captive great apes are treated for medical and physical disabilities until they regain health, are helped to acquire natural, social, and ecological skills, and are weaned from human contact and dependence, such that they can survive independently—or with greater independence—in the wild,”—Beck et al, 2007. In theory, it is a straightforward process. In reality, many of these orangutan rehabilitation centers in Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sabah, are losing direction. Rather than go back into the wild, orangutans became dependent on humans. Inside the facilities, orangutans being fed by visitors for many years until they finally used to be mendicants.

My writing on Kutai National Park and a glimpse of orangutan conservation (Indonesian).