Orang Utan in Malay means “man of the forest” which given the fact that we share around 97 percent of our DNA-sequence with them, must be said to be a very fitting description. In many ways they look and act like us, and it is very tragic that the numbers of orangutans are decreasing rapidly even in the protected wildlife parks in Asia and Indonesia. Deforestation is the primary reason for their rapid decline in numbers and even though progress has been made regarding overall awareness, they still lose their natural habitats at an alarming rate. The primary rainforest is being cut down to make room for production of palm oil and other industrial activities.
During a visit to the island of Sumatra, Jorgen had the opportunity to see the orangutans up close. He found these caring, loving creatures fascinating and resented the idea of these beauties vanishing for good. Jorgen was quite impressed with the Danish conservationist Lone Dröscher Nielsen’s work in Borneo. She is the founder of the rehabilitation center Nyaru Menteng and the organization Save the Orangutan. He became intrigued by her efforts towards protecting, rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans in Borneo as well as protecting the precious rainforest on the island. Her organization has contributors from all around the world and Jorgen was proud to be one of them.
Through the last five years, the Jorgen Simonsen Foundation has been a co-sponsor for a now 11 years old female orangutan called Kesi. Kesi has been going through the normal rehabilitation program at the center and has now graduated and moved to Palas island. She is now going to live on this protected island until she is totally capable of managing on her own without any interfering from humans. Hereafter she will be released into the wild rainforest.