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ORANGUTAN WARRIOR #5: HANDY MAS SURIP

Today, we would like to introduce you to another orangutan warrior from the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Central Kalimantan. This tough individual has dedicated 14 years of his life to the welfare of orangutans at Nyaru Menteng.

Suripno was born in Purbalingga on 21 April, 1979. He is called ‘Mas Surip’ by colleagues, and is the Welding Coordinator at Nyaru Menteng. He has the huge responsibility of keeping all the orangutan enclosures and complexes in safe working order, and water and electricity running well.

Mas Surip left his hometown and started working as a casual employee for the BOS Foundation and its projects in 2002. His deep interest in orangutans and the ongoing conservation effort led Mas Surip to join the BOS Foundation permanently five years later, in 2007. It was in that moment he had made the decision to dedicate his life to the environment and nature, and in particular, to orangutans.

As the Welding Coordinator, one of Mas Surip’s achievements was the building of 46 individual enclosures in the Nyaru Menteng 2 complex, where we currently care for un-releasable orangutans, as well as pre-release and release candidates. He and his team completed the complex over a period of two years, from 2012 to 2014. But Mas Surip wasn’t always so handy. To further develop his technical skills, he joined a 5-week training program in Australia, back in 2009.

In addition to his enclosure-making skills, Mas Surip is also known to be a highly skilled handyman and mechanic. There is no machine malfunction that he can’t repair! He is also a very good driver, and occasionally drives our trucks during orangutan releases; giving him a change of scenery and allowing him to help out in the unlikely event of a cage or car malfunction during the release journey.

However, not all experiences working with orangutans are so sweet. One memorable experience for Mas Surip was when he was performing infrastructure maintenance, and an orangutan casually peed on him from the top of the enclosure. Mas Surip suspected that the young orangutan, who was starting to develop a stronger sense of independence, was annoyed by human presence. Not only was Mas Surip peed on this day; the same orangutan also spat on him! Unpleasant as this incident was, it gave Mas Surip a new perspective on the maturing process of orangutans.


Mas Surip has also travelled deep into the forest. In 2012, when the BOS Foundation launched our first series of releases in the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest, Mas Surip had the responsibility of installing electricity at the forest camp. It was Mas Surip's first experience living away from phone signals, television, and other worldly luxuries. On that occasion, he witnessed and enjoyed first-hand the natural beauty of the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest, a pristine, primary forest in the heart of Borneo.

Mas Surip has a genuine affection for orangutans, and hopes that the BOS Foundation can release more orangutans that have completed the long rehabilitation process. “I don’t want to see any more orangutans living in cages. I want the orangutans at Nyaru Menteng to experience true freedom in nature or on a sanctuary island, for those who cannot be released to the wild," he said.

Read also: Orangutan Warrior #4: Bang Uji

Mas Surip hopes that the general public will start paying more attention to the environment around them and be more proactive in caring about the condition of our Earth. He urges people to plant more trees for a greener future. He also implores people to stop taking wildlife from their natural homes and holding them captive; as their real home is in the wild, not in cages as pets.  




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