Training to Improve Welfare of Orangutans in Borneo

Barbara Heidenreich
Presentation given at the 2019 Conference

Releasing displaced or rehabilitated orangutans back into the wild is the primary goal of most orangutan conservation projects. But the reality is that unsustainable palm oil farming has led to hundreds of animals living in sanctuary situations in Indonesia. Some of these animals can be released with proper medical care. Others can experience improved welfare if they can learn to cooperate in day to day care and medical care.

In 2018, our team of three trainers visited two sites in Borneo to introduce staff members and approximately 400 resident orangutans to the benefits of training. We had many naïve animals to train, which meant we saw tremendous transformation. We also had to overcome fear responses, aggressive behavior, the challenges of working with limited resources, safety issues, and very limited time to produce results. This presentation will share the details of this training initiative in Borneo and how animal trainers are making an impact on the welfare and conservation of one of the rarest species on the planet.

Click here to return to the 2019 Conference Program