Browse content similar to Refugees of the Lost Rainforest. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This is Durrell. Jersey's famous wildlife conservation trust.
Outside, the animals enjoy the sunshine.
Inside, one very special creature is being closely watched.
Dana, the Sumatran orang-utan, is almost ready to give birth.
Staff are anxious about the arrival of her baby
because Dana's last pregnancy ended in tragedy.
Here, Dana and the other apes live safely,
but her wild relatives are on the edge of extinction.
These orang-utans live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
It's one of their last wild strongholds.
They cling on as land is cleared and burnt to make way for industry.
But with half of the island's rainforest already gone,
can they survive?
I really get sick up of seeing just the scale of destruction.
You see fires, you see plantations going.
Not just a few trees being chopped down here,
but whole landscapes being converted.
Dana's keeper, Gordon Hunt, is making the hard journey to Sumatra
to see for himself what can be done to help these great apes.
He knows it's going to be tough.
I'm expecting to see cages full of orphaned orang-utans,
which is...not great.
He's come in search of the refugees of the lost rainforest.
Day one. And Gordon's going deep into the jungle.
Road? What road? There is no road.
It's a boggy ravine, rut, riverbed mixture of...
No track at all.
But this is the only way
to get to the orang-utan release site in northern Sumatra,
where he's going to meet a man
who's devoted his life to saving these animals.
Today, Dr Ian Singleton's home is in the jungle,
but he was once a keeper at Jersey Zoo.
While Gordon wrestles with the rutted road,
his orang-utans in Jersey are on his mind.
Good girl, Dana.
He's got two expectant mums to think about - Anette and Dana.
And just like any pregnant mums, they're having ultrasound scans.
Dana's scans are crucial because her last baby was stillborn
and she almost died.
Luckily, this time, she's in the hands
of Jersey hospital's Neil MacLachlan, consultant gynaecologist.
We are concerned as to how she's going to perform in this pregnancy
because she's never actually had a live-born baby before.
So we've been watching today on the scan
to see if the baby is developing well.
Gerald Durrell's intention was never to imprison endangered animals,
but to protect them.
Captive breeding is now a vital part of the wildlife trust's work.
Because who knows if one day these Jersey-born youngsters
will be among the few orang-utans that remain.
Back in the forests of Sumatra, it's thought there are fewer
than 7,000 orang-utans left in the wild.
They're being pushed to the edge of their habitat
as nature and industry compete for space.
Here, vast palm oil plantations have replaced the jungle.
There are still thousands of hectares of forest,
alive with some of the world's rarest species.
The Great Argus pheasant.
And one of the biggest forest geckos in the world.
At the top of the tree, the orang-utans.
They are among the world's most critically endangered great apes
and protected under Indonesian law.
But despite this, many will end up here with Ian
at Sumatra's only rehabilitation project
in the far north of the island near Medan.
Ian takes in rescued and injured animals in the hope
they can be one day released back into the jungle.
The orang-utans that come here are mostly confiscated illegal pets.
So they come in from back gardens, where they've been kept in a cage
or chained up by the neck or something like that.
One or two of them have come here
because we've had to rescue them from the wild
because they were in patches of forest that were being destroyed.
And usually, if we do that, we'll release them immediately
in another safer area of forest.
This is Ian almost 20 years ago looking after the apes in Jersey.
The passion to protect them began here at Durrell.
In my early zoo career,
I felt I enjoyed working with the animals
and working closely with them
and not working with people and being responsible for them.
And when I started at Jersey Zoo, I really liked the fact that
I ended up on the orang-utans
and we built a new enclosure in the far corner of the zoo
so I could go up there and just hide with my charges and get on with it.
Naturalist and author Gerald Durrell
inspired a generation of readers with his love of wildlife.
About the otters,
if we could have a sort of cement thing about two foot...
Three foot? Yes, about three foot wide.
The zoo was his ark and home to orang-utans since the 1960s.
He hoped they would teach his visitors
that their fate is in our hands.
If we can indoctrinate people as they come through our gates,
if we can indoctrinate them with the idea that it's terribly sad
that creatures are being killed all over the world
in hundreds of thousands,
and if, during the course of our existence,
we can save one or two species from extinction,
then the whole thing would be...
It would be worth it, certainly.
The Durrell Wildlife Trust is now an international organisation
and it supports Ian's work in Sumatra
with funding, equipment and publicity.
Indonesia is one of those counties where Jersey
didn't traditionally have a big role and a big influence.
Even today, it's still not that well known.
And I would like to change that by showing people by example
exactly the kind of things that can be achieved
by following Durrell's philosophy.
After hours of hard driving,
Gordon has almost made it to his destination.
A boat ride across the River Aceh welcome relief from the muddy roads.
He's come to the jungle reserve
where Ian Singleton is waiting to meet him.
Morning. Hey. How's it going? Good. You?
You have any trouble on the trip in? No, it was fine.
It was a bumpy ride, but, yeah, it was pretty good.
Ian is taking Gordon to the site
where orang-utans who have been rehabilitated in quarantine
are finally set free.
For me, it's massively exciting.
Is it still massively exciting for you to see the finished product?
It is, it is. Because this is...this is what the whole thing's about.
And I still get a massive kick out of it when I come out here
and see Marco or somebody hanging about in the trees.
And they're behaving just like wild orang-utans. It brings it home.
Because when you first meet a lot of these animals,
they're little, skinny, covered in fungus, chain around their neck,
really terrified of people.
And then to get them from that stage, out through the quarantine
and they're living as wild orang-utans again,
you feel like everything you're doing is worthwhile. Yeah.
This is Udin.
At about six years old, he was confiscated by police
who found him near the swamps where he used to live.
Ian's team says his home had been burned and cleared for industry,
making him vulnerable to the illegal pet trade.
Given to Ian's team, Udin has been learning how to feed himself
and make nests.
Wow! Look at that. Ooh!
Is he going to open the door himself? Yeah.
Oh! You're very enthusiastic.
Udin is one of about 30 orang-utans
rescued each year by Ian's organisation.
It's taken two years to get him ready for this,
but there's always a risk.
I feel much better giving an animal a second chance
at a life in the wild, and maybe it's lucky and it makes it,
maybe it's not so lucky and it doesn't make it,
but I feel much better giving them that chance.
Great to see them out of the cages.
I think Udin is in... Looks like he's in really good condition.
Bright eyes, wet nose, glossy hair.
It's the moment Ian's been waiting for.
Oh, look at that. Straight up. Wow! Fantastic, yeah!
Look at that! That is brilliant.
Up the liana. Go on, off you go, mate.
Wow! A whole new world.
As Udin ventures out to explore his new home,
he won't be left to his own devices.
Like the other orang-utans released here,
he has a transmitter chip in his neck,
so his progress can be tracked.
For Ian, new developments are playing a growing role
in efforts to save the species.
Yeah, there's two up there.
See that big branch up there?
See that big branch? Yeah.
So, that is the signal from one orang-utan?
So, who is it? Nelly.
But they're not the only orang-utans in the world being closely watched.
In Jersey, Anette and Dana are having a regular checkup.
Ape keeper Sarah Foulkes has trained them
to position their tummies against the cage so they can be scanned.
Hold, hold. Good girl.
Scanning an orang-utan's a little bit different from a human
because an orang-utan is not quite as obliging.
So sometimes you see things that maybe look unusual
or you're not expecting to see.
And that partially can be just because it's the complications
and the logistics of trying to scan an animal
that's hanging on bars rather than lying down.
In April, Anette gave birth
in the middle of the night to a healthy male.
He's been named Jantho after the release site in Sumatra.
Now all eyes are on Dana.
Her story is interesting and amazing
because she came to Jersey to breed with the male there, Dagu.
She did so very quickly and she went full term,
eight and a half months with the youngster,
which turned out to be a female, but she had a stillborn.
The placenta sheared off inside her
and we almost lost her as well as the youngster.
She was bleeding to death.
But this time, medical science is helping Dana. Good girl.
There's a lot more amniotic fluid than before, as well.
Would you like me to do anything? No. Just keep going. Hold. Hold.
Neil MacLachlan operated on her fallopian tubes
so later she could become pregnant.
Now he's making sure his patient's latest pregnancy is going to plan.
That's the heartbeat.
It's a departure from his daily routine at the hospital.
That looks nice and regular.
I was really interested in the breeding programme
and because one of my big interests is in fertility, um...
And because Durrell is all about breeding endangered species,
it was just a wonderful place to go and get involved with.
There were occasions where they felt they needed to compare
with a sort of human doctor, as it were.
All's well in the hospital today, but Neil once had to perform
an extraordinary operation on an orang-utan.
She needed an emergency Caesarean.
We need some oxygen. Get the oxygen on. Turn the baby over.
Neil went up to Durrell to carry out the surgery.
As these incredible pictures show, he was able to save the baby.
185, 186. OK.
Thankfully, the anatomy was very similar.
I'd never done this before, but I just...pretended I was operating
on one of my human patients that just was a little bit hairier than normal.
And it was incredibly similar.
We thought initially that maybe the baby wasn't going to survive.
And after many minutes, when he threw his arms up and started crying,
there was a great roar from everyone in theatre.
and it was really a very emotional moment for everyone.
Oh, look at him!
'I said at the time that it was'
the greatest day of my life and my wife was not over pleased!
Come on then.
Jaya is now a healthy nine-year-old
and is being taken to a zoo in France to breed.
Oh, look at his little chest.
And now there's concern he might have to do
the same operation again, this time for Dana.
If we can keep the scanning going
and see that the pregnancy is developing
as normally as possible, then I think she'll be OK,
but we do need to be prepared for a similar thing
to what happened last time.
In Sumatra, Gordon is waiting to hear how Dana is.
But he's 7,000 miles away
and mobile phones don't work too well out in the jungle.
Getting connected is tricky,
but not impossible.
Here we go.
Ah! Hello, how are you doing?
'Everything's going really well, Jantho's really good.
'He's getting more active and he's looking around more.'
Fantastic. And Dana?
'Dana's doing really well as well.
'She's looking like the pregnancy's developing normally.
'She is spending more time sleeping and resting and she is getting
'increasingly hungry, so I think it's probably pretty soon.'
OK, yes. Yes.
That's great news.
Safe in Jersey or deep in the jungle, both Gordon and Ian
are continuing what Gerald Durrell started 50 years ago.
You knew Gerald Durrell?
Yes, I mean I didn't meet him a lot, but...
I mean, I started in '89 and I was kind of interested in this idea
that you can take a species that's on the brink,
for relatively little investment compared to some of these
big conservation projects, relatively little investment,
and you can actually save a species from extinction.
Recent research says that since 1985,
half of Sumatra's rainforest has been lost.
Ian has filmed the scale of forest destruction.
He says much of it is caused by large industries
demanding more land to develop.
He believes some of the native species, already endangered,
are being pushed to the brink.
The biggest threat to most species right now
is not hunting and collection, it's loss of entire ecosystems
and by destroying them you're losing your water sources,
your climate regulation, and a host of other resources.
For me, the aim is to use these species, these iconic species,
that can get international attention and public support
in the battle to save the bigger picture,
to save whole ecosystems.
Now, there is another threat on the horizon.
More than a million hectares of protected forest,
in the region where most of the remaining Sumatran orang-utans live,
could be opened up to industry.
Conservationists such as Ian fear the animals they work so hard
to protect will be left more vulnerable than ever.
Gerald Durrell's vision is being put to the test.
Campaigners and the regional government disagree over what's planned.
The head of forestry for the Aceh region says while no protected land
can be used for industry, there is a growing need for human settlements.
HE SPEAKS IN HIS NATIVE LANGUAGE
TRANSLATION: So I can tell you that we do not issue
the land clearing permit or licence for palm oil businessmen,
no permits for mining businessmen or any other businessmen.
If you want to convert forest areas into other purposes,
it is purely for people's settlement. People need space.
Gordon remains unconvinced by assurances from the authorities.
He argues industry is competing
for the areas of forest the orang-utans live in.
That competition looks like this.
It's farmed extensively throughout Sumatra
and Indonesia is the world's largest exporter.
More than 30 million tonnes were produced this year.
The oil is extracted from the fruit of these trees
and it's used in products from shampoo to biscuits.
Indonesia Palm Oil Association says it gives people jobs.
It says its members are committed to protecting the environment.
But as Gordon travels further in Sumatra,
he's worried more industries on this scale
could ruin the remaining rainforest.
Finding out what's going on on the ground
is hard in such a vast country.
But there are ways.
Just a few miles from Ian's head office near Medan,
Graham Usher and David Dellatore are testing the latest spy technology.
Yes, that should do it.
They're working with Ian, and today they're testing a mini drone.
One, two, three.
David and Graham have high hopes.
You can use a video camera for spotting fires,
encroachment in the forest.
It has been used in the past for surveying for orang-utan nests,
which you can see from the air if you fly low enough over the forest.
The spy-plane can travel to remote areas
and its on-board camera records the scene below.
It's the cutting edge of conservation technology.
I see lots of interesting new technologies coming out now
which we will support and try and test
and try and refine in the field,
but in five to ten years, I think we're going to see big advantages
from all of these things.
These young orang-utans are among those made homeless
as their habitat disappears.
There are many mouths to feed,
many infants with no mothers,
many very ill.
Some of them are just so bad, some of them are critically ill
and so late in the disease progression
that you really haven't got much hope of saving them,
whereas other ones you have
and you just focus on the ones that you can do.
It would be amazing to get all of these orang-utans
back into the wild, but there are ones that can't go back
for various reasons - they've been maimed so badly,
one is blind, permanently blind, and that is really sad
because it requires full-time care
from people and they shouldn't need to.
They should be able to return to their home where they came from.
But some can't.
Gordon's preparing to say goodbye and head home to Jersey.
He has mixed feelings.
There are more orang-utans here than the last time I visited.
There are some extremely sick orang-utans being cared for.
One has a broken neck.
Another one has been bitten by a dog.
It's quite tragic really to see them.
And they are all, as Ian describes them,
refugees, being looked after in this refugee camp.
No-one knows what future these animals are facing,
but Ian's not giving up on them.
It's like what Gerald Durrell always said,
the happiest day of my life will be the day I can close the zoo
because it's not needed any more.
The happiest day of my life would be the day
I could stop doing this job because I didn't need to do it any more.
Durrell, Jersey. Gordon's back at work.
Dana's baby is due any day now.
It's been eight and a half months in the waiting
but no-one quite knows when the baby will come.
And worried staff are doing all they can to keep an eye on her.
Cameras are recording and sending pictures to the laptops
and phones of everyone involved in her welfare.
They've been rigged up specially,
some updating mobiles every 15 seconds.
There are hours of anxious watching and waiting.
If Dana gives birth to a healthy orang-utan,
in terms of it being miraculous, then I think it's close.
If you think that most new life is miraculous in itself,
then the process that we have gone through
so that she is able to conceive is a miracle of science.
One night in June, staff see her behaviour changing.
She's preparing her nest.
At 11.45pm Gordon's patience pays off.
Here it comes, here it comes.
Here it comes.
This is it, that's the head.
That's it, it's out.
Yes, it's alive, it's moving.
She's only minutes old.
It's life in Dana's arms
when only a few years ago this new mum faced death.
These animals are incredible characters.
Realising that their characters are so different
and being able to help them is very special.
They're very close to humans.
Dana and Anette's babies are growing up.
The efforts of Gordon and Neil have helped
bring two new babies into the world.
She's still learning. She is.
Dana and her baby are venturing outside for the first time.
But how will Anette respond to the new addition
to the Durrell family?
Captive orang-utans could become the last of their kind
if their relatives die out in Sumatra.
Hundreds of species go extinct
but what we're seeing now
is an increase in the amount of extinctions that occur.
The timeframe is shorter, and the reason is us.
He's echoing the fears Gerald Durrell raised
more than 40 years ago.
It's the most incredible, the most beautiful garden,
and what have we done?
We've trampled through it with our great hobnailed boots.
For better or worse,
the Sumatran orang-utan is at the mercy of human intervention.
Understanding the close links between our species and theirs
is the key to their survival.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Watch this. It is amazing.
The BBC and the OU, inspiring learning.
You can see why humans value this so much.
It can have a significant impact on the rest of your life.
What happens next depends on us.