I had my heart set on going here from when I was here last time and didn't have time to visit. It's quite far...I took a public bus 5 hours north, spent the night there in Penang, then had a private driver take me an hour back south to get to Bukit Merah. It was quite the journey to get here...but worth it I think. Plus it got me away from my work laptop all weekend, which I really needed.
The orangutans live somewhat free. They have about an acre per animal (so they claim) and the animals are being raised to be set free someday on a smaller island nearby that the organization owns (so they claim). I was told there is never any contact between the orangs and staff. Ever. Even with the babies, if the humans have to do medical tests or whatnot, they do so after knocking the orangs out first. They want no human-animal contact, right....cause that wouldn't be natural for a wild animal, now would it? The tourists walk through a long cage, filled with some amazing flora and fauna. The orangutans are beyond the human cage, with about a 3 foot space, then an electric fence between us.
I learned a LOT about these animals. But sometimes people tell you one thing, and then you witness another and then you have to doubt everything they say. Such is life, eh?
I don't have the pictures uploaded from my camera yet...but this video captures the highlight of my trip. Excuse my giddy school-girl laughter.