Working to Save Orangutans

In 1971 Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas ventured to the remote Tanjung Puting Reserve in Indonesian Borneo to study humankind’s nearest relative, the orangutan. Cut off from the rest of the world, Galdikas began what is now one of the lengthiest continuous studies of a mammal ever conducted. It was also here that Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) was formed, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat.

Today OFI operates an orangutan research center called Camp Leakey, as well as runs the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility in the Dayak village of Pasir Panjang, which is home to 330 displaced orangutans. Focused on the rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release of these majestic animals, the OCCQ facility is unlike any other in the world. Every infant orangutan that comes into the facility begins a comprehensive 10–13 year program to prepare them for life in the wild.

The program starts with a one year placement with a surrogate mother that will provide 24 hour, around the clock care. After the first year, orangutans between 1 and 3 are grouped together — sleeping in a large enclosure at night and playing in the “Teaching Forest” during the day. The “Teaching Forest” is a safe place where the young orangutans can play and learn under the watchful eyes of their caretakers.

All orangutans at the OCCQ facility receive one-on-one attention from dedicated care-givers who help teach foraging and nest-building skills and supply the orangutans with stimulating enrichment activities until they can be returned to the wild.

OFI has returned over 500 orangutans to the forest so far! OFI only releases orangutans in safe, protected forest where they can guarantee the animal’s life-long safety. In the last five years, OFI has launched major campaigns to purchase and protect forested areas in Borneo.

Help OFI in their mission to save orangutans and their habitat. Donate, volunteer and find out more at