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East Kalimantan, Indonesia - Samboja Lestari

Samboja Lestari Map Orangutan Odysseys

, located on the east coast of Borneo and north of Balikpapan, is a small village with a population of 10,000. The area, located 38 km from East Kalimantan’s capital of Balikpapan, is a restored tropical rainforest providing a safe haven for orangutans and a source of income for the local community. In the 1950’s, the first mechanical logging took place in Indonesia causing illegal logging and human encroachment to follow. The forests soon disappeared, and drought – followed by fires – destroyed all that was left. 
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) established the Samboja Lestari Forest Rehabilitation Program in an effort to bring the local forests back to this area. In 2006, more than 700 different tree species were planted. This unprecedented project, unmatched in its biological diversity, is already supporting hundreds of animal species, including nine species of primates.Fruit, seed/seedling collection and selection, soil treatments, pest and disease control, and a wide range of techniques for vegetative propagation were initiated as part of the reforestation process. Trees were grown from seeds extracted from the waste material of free roaming orangutans to increase the biodiversity of the area, and benefit research activities as well as help local communities. In order to restore the area, shade trees were planted to help to reduce soil erosion and improve infiltration of water into the soil.
In the centre of Samboja Lestari, 159 hectares have been allocated for the development of an enormous scientific tree garden, in which approximately 5,000 indigenous tree species and sub-species of Borneo will be planted. These developments will help to facilitate research and environmental education programs for the local communities.Covering an area of 58 hectares is the Sun Bear Sanctuary. Bears rescued from inhumane conditions throughout Indonesia reside here.In an effort to help the area further, the Samboja Lestari Forest Rehabilitation Program has been providing new employment opportunities to the community. Locals have become more involved in growing fruits and vegetables in Samboja and making crafts from the forest waste wood to sell.  Through these activities, the crime rate has decreased and protecting the environment has become more of a priority.

Located 38 km from Balikpapan is the Wanariset Orangutan Reintroduction Project, a forestry research station to help rehabilitate orphaned orangutans before releasing them into the wild. Wanariset was opened by conservationist Dr. Willie Smits, an advisor to the Minister of Forestry in Indonesia and the Founder of BOS.

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