Logging, palm oil plantations, poached for their pelts – today the great orange ape of Asia is found only in a few remote reserves. Tanjung Puting in Indonesian Borneo plays refuge to these gentle, intelligent beasts and is giving them a chance to bounce (or, perhaps more aptly, swing) back from the brink.

At last count, planet Earth hosts only around 104,000 orangutans, less than half of what existed a century ago, but in 2006 there were only 60,000. Tanjung Puting is a fitting jungle vantage from which to watch this wise old ape of Borneo make a hooting comeback.

While it’s possible to fly in from Jakarta, Surabaya, and several cities in Kalimantan, we drove four hours to Semarang, and then flew an hour on Trigana Air into the coastal town of Pangkalan Bun, keen to see these wonders of the natural world and, indeed, a close relative.

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