A Visit to Sintang Orangutan Center

Last month, The Orangutan Conservancy announced its partnership with the Sintang Orangutan Center. Our partnership with SOC was created to fund the purchase of new medical equipment for the center.

After the OVAG meeting our president, Dr. Rafaella Commitante had the opportunity to visit one of the newest centers called the Sinang Orangutan Center (SOC) in Western Borneo. Sintang is a a small village/town/city not too far from Pontianak (which is further west).

The Center is only a few years old but the staff are dedicated and they have made great progress since their inception. They are currently in the process of relocating the orangutan quarantine to a new location slightly outside for the city center where they will have more space for the orangutans. Additionally, they have even started a farm where they will be able to grow their own food for the orangutans in their care.

SOC farm

SOC plans to keep the old location (which is sadly now located next to a very noisy club/bar) and convert it to a small animal clinic. There are no veterinarians in Sintang that work with small animals (chickens, cats, dogs, goats, etc.) so people often come to SOC for help with their domestic pets/animals. They will have certain days when the SOC vets will be at the original location for the locals – this will also allow them to take any money earned and use it for the orangutans – trying to become more self-sufficient, which in our opinions is such a great idea!

Dr. Rafaella Commitante and Jati (main vet at SOC) at the Sintang Museum!

The only two vets in all of Sintang are Vicktor (SOC Manager) and Jati (Main Veterinarian) – so they are kept fairly busy as you might imagine! They are both amazing!

Having visited the center – Dr. Commitante saw that they are in desperate need of a portable x-ray machine.

Off to Forest School!

The two hour trek to the SOC Forest School is lined fully lined with Oil Palms.
SOC Forest School Base Camp

Dr. Rafaella Commitante was also able to visit the SOC forest school which is located in a forest near a very small village about two hours or so from Sintang. The village is surrounded by Palm Oil plantations (above picture) but this village is trying to keep them out of the area because they have seen the destruction they are capable of. SOC works with people in and around Sintang to make them more self-sufficient as well. There is a Dayak women’s cooperative that they work with to encourage weaving (see photos below) as well as training omen to crochet orangutans dolls (see photo) for sale by SOC. The women are provided with all the materials they need and get money per each doll they make. Truly a collaborative enterprise in saving orangutans and the humans that share their habitat!

Interested in supporting SOC and future OC projects? Donate below!

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