When viewing orangutans the following guidelines MUST be followed:
NEVER INITIATE CONTACT: Never approach an orangutan. If an orangutan attempts to make contact, retreat slowly. If an orangutan grabs you; stay calm and avoid sudden or jerky movements. If you can’t gently twist your arm free – call for help. Never travel alone in the forest. An orangutans may seem gentle, however they can bite so do not be tempted to initiate
• NEVER FEED ORANGUTANS: Do not eat or drink near orangutans. Do not give orangutans food. If you see anyone feeding orangutans, politely ask them to stop as it this encourages the orangutans to steal food and can lead to confrontations.
• AVOID ORANGUTANS IF YOU FEEL UNWELL: Colds, flu or any respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases can be passed on to the orangutans (and vice versa). Avoid coughing near orangutans. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. N.B Women who are menstruating should be particularly careful. Sub-adult and adult males have been known to forcibly examine
women during their periods.
• LEARN TO RECOGNISE MALE ORANGUTANS: Sub-adult and adult males are much larger in size, have large cheek pads and beards. Unlike wild males, ex-captives are less afraid of humans. If, on a rare occasion, a male ex-captive charges – run.
• BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR BELONGINGS: Brightly coloured bags are particularly attractive to orangutans (fruit is often brightly coloured). Keep water bottles and plastic bags in your backpack. If an orangutan takes something from you – let them keep it (ask a guide or a member of staff to negotiate its return). No belonging is worth fighting over with an orangutan.
• VIEWING THE FEEDING OF EX-CAPTIVES: Do not approach the feeding platform. Keep back from the orangutans – as this can cause unnecessary stress to the orangutans.
These viewing guidelines are written by the Orangutan Foundation UK – see links page for more information.