Bukit Lawang is one of the most popular destinations in Sumatra. It is a convenient first stop for travels in Sumatra with lots of activities, great nature, tourist adapted food, convenient accommodation, and friendly people. Here one can get adjusted to Sumatra before onward travels. Bukit Lawang and its many restaurants and accommodation are nicely located along the clear and clean Bohorok River on the outskirts of the huge national park, Gunung Leuser.
Orangutans, the world’s largest arboreal mammals, once swung through the forest canopy throughout all of Southeast Asia, but are now found only in Sumatra and Borneo. Researchers fear that the few that do remain will not survive the continued loss of habitat to logging and agriculture.
While orangutans are extremely intelligent animals, their way of life isn’t compatible with a shrinking forest. Orangutans are mostly vegetarians; they get big and strong (some males weigh up to 90kg) from a diet that would make a Californian hippie proud: fruit, shoots, leaves, nuts and tree bark, which they grind up with their powerful jaws and teeth. They also occasionally eat insects, eggs and small mammals.
All of the forest is their pantry, requiring them to migrate through a large territory following the fruit season. But they aren’t social creatures; they prefer a solitary existence foraging during the day and building a new nest every night high up in the trees away from predators. Orangutans have a long life span, often living up to 30- to 40-years old in the wild. They breed slowly and have few young. Females reach sexual maturity at about the age of 10 and remain fertile until about the age of 30, on average having only one baby every six years. Only the females raise the young, which stay with their mothers until reaching sexual maturity. The ‘orang hutan’ (a Malay word for ‘person of the forest’) has an extremely expressive face, which has often suggested a very close kinship with the hairless ape (humans). But of all the great apes, the orangutans are considered to be the most distantly related to humans.