Dr. Birute Galdikas founded Camp Leakey over 40 years ago. If not for this center and the work that Dr. G conducted here, the world would not have it's foundation of knowledge about orangutans. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and are clearly dedicated to the conservation of the area that is being decimated by logging and palm oil plantations. It is evident that a lifetime of work and care has gone into creating, maintaining and trying to preserve this area for this incredible species. The up-close exposure you have to orangutans in their natural habitat where they have freedom to come and go is amazing. They are generally docile, solitary creatures. Witnessing mothers take care of their young is also beautiful. They will walk and swing right by you- many times they were just an arms length away or less.
Some pointers- wear comfortable shoes as there is a bit of walking to the feeding platforms. Wear and bring mosquito repellent. Prior to this trip, I actually treated my clothes in permethrin. I also brought repellent with the highest amount of DEET that I could find. That being said the mosquitoes can still be treacherous so be sure to protect yourself. Also, the heat / humidity is intense as it is in this region of the world. I actually wore light, breathable materials (both pants and long sleeves / 3/4 sleeves for protection from both the sun while walking and bugs) instead of shorts. Bring a water bottle and stay hydrated! Try not to bring plastic, disposable water bottles there... you are in the jungle and it's difficult to remove garbage. I carried a Nalgene.
Enjoy an unforgettable experience and please support Orangutan Foundation International. They are the non-profit that funds the feeding stations, research, orangutan rescue and orphanage. They do not benefit from the fees that the Indonesian government collects from park permits. Anyone you see in the park or Camp Leakey wearing a blue uniform is there because of this amazing non-profit and I'd consider their budget shoe string considering the amount that they do and accomplish.
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