Best Practices & Guidelines

Orang-utans are more arboreal than any other African apes and they spend almost their entire life up in the forest canopy. As a species, they rarely come down to the ground and close contact with visitors is unlikely. However, orangutans are a very intelligent species, and some individuals may let their curiosity get the better of them.

Therefore, strict compliance with this set of guidelines developed by RAE must be followed by all visitors entering the research site to minimize stress and disturbance to the orang-utans. Failure to adhere may result in the guide or research assistants escorting you or your group out of the area. Proper behaviour is a prerequisite to fully appreciating the unique opportunity to experience an encounter with truly wild orangutans.

RULE 1: Only 6 visitors per trip to the research site

RULE 2: Duration of an encounter with an individual orang-utan is limited to a maximum of one (1) hour unless prior permission is granted for specific reasons

RULE 3: Frequency of visits is limited to 2 visits per day per habituated orangutan


  • Smaller well behaved groups will increase the intimacy of the encounter
  • minimize orangutan stress levels and behavioural disturbance on the individuals as this is an active research site and behavioural data is still being collected on a regular basis
  • minimize disease transmission or exposure
  • minimize repeated impacts on the regenerating ecosystem (such as over-trampling, disturbance to wildlife & etc

RULE 4: People who are ill are not allowed to enter the research site
(RAE requests that all guests disclose any information on state of health to their guide prior to entering the research site. All efforts will be made to accommodate a change in date. If however, you do not disclose your situation, your  guide will not be able to permit you entry, and your trip will be forfeited)

  • minimize risks of disease transmission to orangutans. We do not treat or medicate orangutans within the research site as HUTAN only conducts non-invasive studies. It is therefore highly important that we reduce any risks to the orangutans in the area.

RULE 5: Asume appropriate behaviour at all times in the presence of any  orangutan or other widlife while within the confines of the research site

Please always:

  • refrain from smoking
  • remain within the group without loosing contact with your guide
  • where possible, visitors should sit whilst watching the apes.
  • be quiet and move as cautiosly and silently as possible.
  • show respect to the animals and try to remain as quiet and patient as possible.
  • do not clear vegetation to get a better view of the Orang-utans.
  • do not stare at the Orang-utan and do not use binoculars, photographic lenses and/or video cameras if the animals are disturbed. When orangutans are disturbed, they make kiss-squeak vocalizations. Your guide will inform you of this.
  • do not use flash as the sudden burst of light may shock the individual
  • do not litter, please bring out any items you brought into the site
  • no collection of any specimens plant or animal, living or dead, as this is a highly fragile and protected ecosystem

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