World Land Trust’s (WLT) conservation partner in Borneo, Hutan, had the great pleasure of hosting the renowned actress Dame Judi Dench and her partner naturalist David Mills during filming earlier this year of Atlantic Productions programme: Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure.
Local resident and head of Hutan’s Orang-utan research team, Hamisah Elahan led Dame Judi on a tour of Hutan’s field site. Hamisah shared some stories and insights witnessed by the team over the past 21 years of field study of Orang-utans and their adaption to live in the mixed forest-agricultural landscape of the Kinabatangan floodplain.
The production team had the opportunity to film a wild Orang-utan female, known as Jenny, and her latest offspring, 4-year-old, Ocean. In fact, Jenny, is a distinguished local resident herself, having provided a window into her life since the beginning of this long-term community conservation project in 1998 in Kinabatangan.
Dame Judi also met with Norinah Braim, the head of the Hutan reforestation team to share their mutual passion for trees. Together they planted a Dracontomelon sp. tree (known locally as Sengkuang); the fruit of this tree is a favourite with Orang-utans.
Dame Judi and David Mills were greatly inspired by the commitment and optimism of Hutan’s local conservation professionals and impressed by the work being done to restore degraded land and protection of wildlife in a region that been so drastically changed by oil palm agricultural development over the past 30 years.
Hutan will keep Dame Judy updated as her tree continues to grow to provide food Jenny, and the next generation of Orang-utans living in the floodplain of the Kinabatangan.
WLT’s support for conservation in Malaysian Borneo began in 2010 when funds were raised for LEAP Spiral and Hutan to purchase 222 acres (nearly 90 hectares) of fragmented forest to connect the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kinabatangan River. Since then WLT has continued to raise funds for highly strategic land purchases to protect wildlife corridors through the fragmented landscape of the Kinabatangan floodplain, working with Hutan. In a landmark achievement, coinciding with the Trust’s 25th Anniversary in May 2014, WLT successfully raised one million pounds which funded the creation of the Keruak Corridor, linking Keruak Forest Reserve’s protected forests in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
Help our partners around the world expand their reforestation efforts by contributing to our Plant a Tree appeal. Just £5 will enable our partners to plant and care for a tree to maturity.