Today, we would like to introduce you to another orangutan warrior from the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Central Kalimantan. Meet Mas Surip, the welding coordinator.
What is your responsibility at Nyaru Menteng?
I keep all orangutan enclosures and complexes in safe working order and ensure water and electricity run well. I started as a casual employee for the BOS Foundation and its projects in 2002 and joined permanently five years later. At that time, I dedicated my life to nature and the environment, particularly to orangutans.
Can you give an example of a project you worked on?
One of my achievements was building 46 individual enclosures in the Nyaru Menteng 2 complex, where we currently care for un-releasable orangutans, pre-release and release candidates. My team and I completed the complex over two years, from 2012 to 2014.
Where did you learn your enclosure-making skills?
To further develop my technical skills, I joined a five-week training program in Australia back in 2009. You are also known to be a highly skilled handyman and mechanic. Is there anything else our readers should know? l also occasionally drive trucks during orangutan releases, which gives me a change of scenery and allows me to help out in the unlikely event of a cage or car malfunction during the release journey.
Do you have a memorable experience from working with orangutans?
One day an orangutan peed and spat on me from the top of the enclosure when I was performing infrastructure maintenance. As unpleasant as this incident was, it gave me a new perspective on the maturing process of orangutans. Also worth mentioning is my first experience living deep in the forest when the BOS Foundation launched its series of releases in the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest. I was responsible for installing electricity at the forest camp. On that occasion, I witnessed and enjoyed the natural beauty of this pristine primary forest in the heart of Borneo.
What are your hopes for the future?
I don’t want to see any more orangutans living in cages. I want the orangutans at Nyaru Menteng to experience true freedom in nature or on a sanctuary island if we can’t release them to the wild. I hope that the general public will start paying more attention to the environment and be more proactive in caring about the condition of our earth. I urge people to plant more trees for a greener future. And I implore people to stop taking wildlife from their natural homes and holding them captive, as their real home is in the wild, not in cages as pets.
If you would like to support our work, please consider adopting one of our orphaned orangutans. Thank you!