Come and see orangutans the only way they should be seen; in the jungles of Sumatra. Make a personal difference by contributing to a unique organisation helping to save the great red ape from extinction.
On this 10-day Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID) fundraising tour, beginning and ending in Medan (North Sumatra), you will visit pristine rainforests, trek into the jungles of Gunung Leuser National Park in North Sumatra, where wild and released orangutans wander freely in their natural surroundings. You will go back in time, to a place in the jungle where one of the first orangutan research camps was established in 1971 and see where some of the early field research of the red ape was carried out.
You will also have the unique opportunity to visit SOCPs orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre, where veterinarians are delivering life-saving medical treatment to the red ape and where orangutans are prepared for reintroduction back into the forests. This is where you will see the real difference being made by OVAID. Also, a visit to one of OICs groundbreaking reforestation projects in North Sumatra will enable you to see directly how attempts are being made to compensate for deforestation.
There really is nothing like giving back and on this specially crafted expedition, you will visit the jungle habitat of the orangutan and help protect them for generations to come. If you are interested in adventure and giving back to the world at the same time, then you have got to be part of this expedition.
Join your hosts Nigel and Sara Hicks (OVAID co-founders) who will travel with you throughout the journey and give you their personal views about orangutans and how their organisation is helping to save them and enable them to be released back into the jungle.
An Introduction to OVAID - Nigel & Sara Hicks
Vet, Dr Nigel Hicks and his wife Sara Fell Hicks, have been working with orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra since 2009. Together they have on the ground experience of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orangutans in both Malaysia and Indonesia. Spending approximately five of the last ten years living and working in these countries and being an active part of the veterinary teams in four different orangutan rescue centres, Nigel and Sara can share in-depth knowledge of this critically endangered species. Through their experiences, they recognised an urgent need for the provision of veterinary equipment, medicines and practical veterinary mentoring to orangutan rescue groups and rehabilitation centres in Indonesia and Malaysia. Initially, through friends, they raised funds to enable them to buy equipment which they personally took out to Indonesia but it soon became obvious that a more formal structure was needed and in early 2014 they established Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID) as a registered charity.
During this accompanied tour Nigel and Sara will share presentations on their work with orangutan over the last 12 years and there will be plenty of time for one to one conversations as well as group discussions.
THE LEUSER ECOSYSTEM - THE LAST PLACE ON EARTH
At around 2.63 million hectares, the Leuser Ecosystem really is a world unto itself; a rich expanse of original tropical lowland rainforests, cloud-covered mountains and swampy peatlands. It is among the most biodiverse ecosystems ever recorded by science, and it is the last place on earth where Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinos still freely roam.
However, the Leuser Ecosystem is now under threat. Despite being protected under Indonesian national law, massive industrial development is being planned for logging, palm oil, pulp and paper plantations and mining. This will threaten the entire ecosystem, as well as the continued wellbeing of the millions of Acehnese traditional landholders who depend on it for their food, water and livelihoods.
For those that want an adventure on the way back, we will be offering action-packed trips extensions to see Krakatoa, Bali, Lombok, Java or perhaps even the Komodo dragons. Just let us know which location and we can provide more details and prices.
WHAT TO EXPECT
You are embarking on an adventure to places and amongst people whose lives are very different from your own. Many aspects of life in Indonesia will seem unusual. Remember that these are often the same aspects that make an area an exotic and attractive destination. While boat expeditions are considered easy, no trek is easy, even those rated "easy or moderate". In addition to the personal physical challenges you may face, travel conditions can present unexpected obstacles, such as rough and bumpy roads and changeable weather. To prepare for this "pack" a flexible and relaxed attitude. Bring a spirit of adventure and enquiry, a healthy sense of humour and a willingness to encounter the unexpected and you will find your trip to Indonesia the adventure of a lifetime!
An Introduction to OVAID
OVAID is a registered U.K. charity that provides essential medicines, equipment and professional help for vets working at the front line of orangutan rescue whether this is from illegal pet homes, human orangutan conflict or the illegal wildlife trade. These vets and their teams are often working in extremely difficult, demanding and dangerous conditions with minimal equipment and the support of OVAID is vital. In addition, the charity seeks to educate and inform the public about deforestation issues, habitat loss and the plight of the orangutan.
Since its inception in 2014 OVAID has donated more than £250,000 in medicines and equipment to orangutan vet teams and is also currently funding a £30,000 veterinary scholarship for young Indonesian orangutan vets from the rescue teams. By participating in this tour you will be part of this amazing effort and will be positively impacting orangutan welfare.
Our goal is to provide our guests with a unique experience, to observe wild and semi-wild orangutans in their natural habitat. We will provide you with a safe platform to observe the other wildlife Sumatra has to offer including Thomas Leaf monkeys, gibbons and more. We will also provide you with comprehensive information about the destination you are in so that you are fully informed of your surroundings.
- Travel with OVAID co-founders Nigel and Sara Hicks and see first-hand how their work is helping save wildlife.
- See wild orangutans in their natural rainforest habitat
- Spend time searching for other amazing wildlife
- Meet the Orangutan Information Centre team (OIC) and see their project site at Bukit Mas including the newly established SRA (Sumatran Resue Alliance) facility
- Trek through the forest of Gunung Leuser National Park and camp out overnight by a river.
- A night at the beautiful jungle retreat in Batu Ronring
- Sunrise climb of Mt. Sibayak volcano (optional)
- Exclusive visit the SOCP's rescue centre at Batu Mbelin (closed to the public)
- Exclusive guided tour of SOCP's new Orangutan Haven project
- Join for the presentation of OVAID donated veterinary supplies to SOCP, OIC & SRA
- Visit the Batak people of Lake Toba, learn about their unique culture and experience their way of life
- Help save the orangutan
ITINERARY - 10 DAYS
1st to 10th November 2022
*Subject to change without notice due to local conditions
Day 1 - 1st Nov: Arrive in Medan.
Today you will arrive in Medan, North Sumatra where you will be met and picked up from the airport by an Orangutan Odysseys representative and transferred to our hotel in Medan city. Tonight over dinner we will meet our local guides and discuss the tour. Overnight hotel.
Day 2 - 2nd Nov: Bukit Mas.
This morning we will visit the Orangutan Information Centre's (OIC) main office in Medan to meet some of their team and for a presentation on their vital work helping to save the wildlife of the Leuser Ecosystem. Here we will present donations from OVAID to the OIC Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU). After lunch, we head off to OIC's Bukit Mas reforestation project site where you will see first-hand some of the work you heard about in the presentation. We will also plant some trees here to help regenerate the forest, Overnight stay in basic onsite cabins/tents. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - 3rd Nov: Bukit Mas - Batu Ronring
An early start this morning where you will get a tour of the site, then visit the newly established Sumatran Rescue Alliance (SRA) orangutan rescue site and also participate in a range of activities with the OIC staff. It is here we shall also hand over OVAID donations to the veterinary staff. After lunch, we then travel (approx 4 hours) to the small village town of Batu Ronring on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. This afternoon you will meet with our local guide team for a briefing on the trekking adventure for the next day. If time allows we can take a short walk around the jungle or have a swim in nearby the river. Overnight at jungle lodge/tents. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - 4th Nov: Batu Ronring to Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge
Morning jungle trek and riverwalk and lunch before transferring on to the Eco Lodge in Bukit Lawang. Here we shall enjoy a relaxing walk around the area and check out the village. In the afternoon we will meet our local guide team for a briefing about our jungle trekking. Overnight Ecolodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 - 5th Oct: Leuser Ecosystem - 2-day jungle trek
This morning we set off for our jungle adventure, trekking away from the normal tourist trails, via the lovely Landak river into the National park searching for wild orangutans and amazing wildlife within the Leuser ecosystem. We will walk slowly with plenty of rest stops along the way looking at the amazing scenery and wildlife. Lunch along the way in the jungle and later finish by a river where you can swim and clean up at our campsite. Overnight jungle campsite (B,L,D)
Day 6 - 6th Oct: Jungle trek - Tube Rafting - Bukit Lawang Eco Lodge
Another day for jungle trekking today in the Leuser National park searching for more wild orangutans and amazing wildlife. After lunch, we shall trek down to the Bohorok river where you will enjoy an exciting tube river rafting ride back down to the village of Bukit Lawang and the Ecolodge where we shall then enjoy a shower and a well-earned rest. Overnight Ecolodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 - 7th Nov: Bukit Lawang - SCOP- Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) - Brastagi.
Early morning we depart Bukit Lawang and transfer for our visit to SOCP's orangutan rescue/rehabilitation centre (Batu Mbelin) for a unique tour of the centre and also to hand over the OVAID donations to the vet team. Then it's off to see the newly built Orangutan Haven project. Late afternoon we travel through to the mountain town of Berastagi. If time allows you can visit the local markets. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - 8th Nov: Sunrise climb volcano - Transfer to Lake Toba
An early morning wake up call for an optional climb of Mt. Sibayak located directly behind your hotel. A short drive and an hours hike up the mountain volcano will hopefully allow a spectacular sunrise across the valleys with wonderful views. After breakfast back at the hotel, it's on to Lake Toba, which is the site of the biggest eruption recorded in our history and which played a significant role with the orangutans. Along the way, we will travel the beautiful route through the Karo highlands via pineapple, clove and ginger plantations with stops during the trip at the tribal kings' house of the Simalungun Batak in Pematang Purba and at the Sipiso Piso falls. We will cross Lake Toba to the island of Samosir and arrive in Parapat in the afternoon where we will have a two night stay in a hotel - Tabo Cottages on Samosir Island right at the lakeside. (B,L)
Day 9 - 9th Nov: Lake Toba
Today you are free to relax and explore some of the areas on foot. Optionally we can organise a tour to some of the traditional Batak tribes to learn about their culture and see more of the island. (B,L)
Day 10 - 10th Nov: Lake Toba - Medan - Tour ends This morning you will transfer to Medan (or Lake Toba) International airport for return onwards flights or continue your Indonesian adventures (B).
*Itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions.
INCLUSIONS / EXCLUSIONS
- Accommodations throughout (twin-share basis)
- Meals as outlined in Itinerary. (B,L,D)
- All National park and entry fees
- All transfers in private AC vehicles
- Experienced English-speaking local guides
- Donation included for a one year orangutan adoption through The Orangutan Project
- Orangutan Odysseys water bottle and travel pack.
- OVAID "goodies" pack
- Ranger and local guide fees plus porters
- Tent and camping equipment
- International and Domestic airfares and any expenses due to flight delay or cancellations
- Travel Insurance (mandatory)
- Personal expenses; alcohol, laundry, phone calls
- Tipping (optional)
DONATIONS, FEES AND COST
The purpose of this trip is to create awareness of the threat of extinction facing orangutans because of the destruction of their rainforest habitat and to raise funds to help orangutans. The trip hosts, Nigel and Sara are generously donating their time and expertise to help make this a most unique trip and a special experience for all our guests. Orangutan Odysseys tours have now raised over $1,000,000 since 2011 to help support the orangutans survival. Each participant of the trip will adopt an orangutan (included in trip fare) and agree to fundraise a minimum of GB£850 in donations specifically for OVAID. Your participation in this event WILL make a difference to help save orangutans lives.
How will your fundraising be spent?All of the money raised will be completely utilised by OVAID to supply much-needed equipment to the SOCP orangutan vet team in Sumatra, medicines and equipment for the Batu Mbelin rescue centre and its remote release stations and the OIC rescue teams and to support the further training of Indonesian vets. Nigel and Sara have advised that the following equipment supplies will be provided:-
For Sumatran Orangutan Rescue Centre (SOCP)
We will provide a new portable x-ray generating machine that is capable of x-raying a fully grown male orangutan.
This piece of equipment costing approximately £5,000 will enhance the centres x-ray system by making it portable, thus allowing much greater scope for taking x-rays on site. Importantly, this machine will enable the team to perform radiography at the remote release site at Jantho in Aceh which is currently without any x-ray facility.
OVAID will provide full on-site installation of the equipment together with full training over several days to ensure that the vet team are confident in its use.
Maintaining equipment in the harsh tropical climate is difficult and expensive so OVAID has instigated an arrangement whereby the supplier will provide full back-up for the machine in the event of any failure, both remotely (some solutions can be fixed remotely via computer) and if necessary in person.
We will also be providing an intravenous infusion pump that automatically controls the rate of intravenous infusion leaving the vet team free to concentrate on the patient. Cost £850
A patient warming system that controls the body heat of orangutans during surgical procedures. Surprisingly, even in Sumatras hot and humid climate, this is necessary during lengthy procedures in an air-conditioned operating theatre. Cost £1,000+
In addition, we will be providing vital medicines and many smaller items from the vet teams wish list.
For Orangutan Information Centre (OIC)
1)Pulse oximeter - a portable machine to enable the OIC rescue team to monitor vital oxygen levels and pulse rate of injured and rescued orangutans. Cost £450
2)Sedative (and reversal) drugs for the three OIC rescue teams. Cost £600+
3)Plus items from the vets wish list.
For Sumatran Rescue Alliance SRA
We will provide items from the veterinary teams wishlist for the new centre.
HOW ELSE YOU CAN HELP
Many of our guests feel that in addition to their fundraising effort for OVAID, they would like to make a small personal contribution/presentation to the vet teams. The following is a list of useful equipment which tour participants can bring - items are always needed by all centres.
Please note this is entirely optional and OVAID have extensive supplies of consumables needing to be taken out to the centres and which you can help carry in your luggage to help enormously.
If you want to personally provide some items your local veterinary practice is a good source and might even be willing to donate (e.g. slightly out of date suture material can still be used) or they may be able to help you to obtain some items. Alternatively, for those of you within the U.K., OVAID can make direct purchases on your behalf. If you are offered other items as donations, please contact OVAID re suitability at email@example.com
- Finger pulse oximeters
- Quality Stethoscopes. Stethoscopes made by Heine or Littmanns cost approximately £80+ VAT. OVAID can purchase these VAT free if you contact us
- Quick read digital thermometers
- InfraRed Thermometers
- Suture materials - especially Vicryl or PDS size 2/0 or 3/0 on cutting needles. Probably available from your vet or contact OVAID - a pack of 12 sutures can cost approximately. £30
- Microscope slides and coverslips.
- Surgical scissors -These are really sought after - OVAID can purchase them for you @ £7 a pair!
Why not think about seeing more amazing locations in Indonesia after your orangutan expedition? For more details about some of the exciting trip extensions on offer to other parts of Indonesia click here.