Here for the Orangutans
OFI is profoundly committed to the welfare of all orangutans, whether captive, ex-captive, or wild. Established by Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and associates in 1986, OFI operates Camp Leakey, an orangutan research center, within Tanjung Puting National Park. OFI also runs the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility in the Dayak village of Pasir Panjang near Pangkalan Bun, which is home to 330 displaced orangutans.
It also helps manage the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where rehabilitated wild born ex-captive orangutans were released into the wild. Through its field programs, OFI also provides employment at these facilities for over 200 local Indonesians. OFI also owns Rusti, an adult male orangutan rescued from a backyard zoo in New Jersey, now on permanent loan to the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii. OFI built his magnificent enclosure which covers a good part of an acre.
Meet Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas
As a young girl, Biruté Mary Galdikas had a dream that she would go to the forests of Southeast Asia and study the least-known of all the great apes, the elusive Asian orangutan. As a graduate student at UCLA, she approached Louis Leakey and he promised to help her. After almost three years of waiting, finally in September 1971, Biruté set out for Indonesia and initiated the longest continuous study of any wild orangutan population in the history of science. Her dream finally became a reality.
During the initial journey to Indonesian Borneo in 1971 Biruté visited Jane Goodall at her chimpanzee study site in Africa’s Gombe National Park. Jane Goodall, Diane Fossey and Biruté all shared a common mentor in Louis Leakey and were later termed the “Trimates.” After visiting Louis in Nairobi, Biruté said goodbye to him for what would be the last time. On November 6th 1971 Biruté and her then husband Rod Brindamour finally arrived in what later became Tanjung Puting National Park. It was within the first few weeks of her arrival at Camp Leakey, named in honor of her mentor, that she began the groundbreaking conservation and research work that continues to this day 50 years later.
Learn more about her life’s work through an interactive timeline.