Orangutan Odysseys: From Bali to Borneo and beyond

Whether trekking across mountaintops or a guided boat trips, Orangutan Odysseys is the perfect way see nature's greatest apes. Photo: Doug Wheller (Flickr)

LOS ANGELES, January 31, 2013 ― In 2011, Orangutan Odysseys was founded to provide animal-loving adventure seekers with the rare opportunity to sojourn into exotic regions of Malaysia and Indonesia to observe and learn about one of nature’s most endearing and endangered great apes, the orangutan. 

Australians Garry Sundin and Peter Miller started Orangutan Odysseys with the intention of saving the environment through tourism. Their goal is not only to provide adventure but also to shine a light on the environmental concerns, starting with orangutans; a percentage of the fees go toward saving them. With an incredible and diverse variety of experiences, ranging from photography trips to extreme hikes, they are the only travel company with itineraries to every orangutan destination on the planet. 

In 1900, it was believed that there were more than 300,000 of these magnificent animals across the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, and Java. Due primarily to deforestation by the palm oil industry, this number over the past century has plummeted to as low as 60,000. Thanks in part to a decrease in demand for palm oil combined with awareness of the orangutan’s plight, the decrease in population has stabilized, but continued awareness could help cause a surge in the population of these gentle giants. 

Baby orangutan. (Photo: Christopher Chan (Flickr))

Baby orangutan. (Photo: Christopher Chan (Flickr))

Orangutan Odysseys presents animal enthusiasts with a multitude of ways to see orangutans in their natural environment. Whether it is trekking across mountaintops or taking a guided boat trip up some of the world’s most remote rivers, this travel company works with individuals to find the perfect way to suit the traveler’s needs. 

Lonely Planet’s Michael Taylor offers photography enthusiasts opportunities to go by car, boat and foot for eleven days into some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful jungles. This world-renowned photographer, who has dedicated much of his career to photographing orangutans, offers professional services at no cost. Instead, fees are donated back to several orangutan conservation efforts. While the treks are challenging, they are manageable for both adults and children. 

Dr. Gary Shapiro, a noted orangutan scientist, who worked in the late 1970s teaching orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park to communicate with sign language, also offers eight day treks. These begin in Bali and go into Borneo where guests spend three nights eating and sleeping in the jungle. On this trek, you will not only see orangutans in the wild, you will see formerly captive orangutans that now roam free but have become accustomed to being around humans, giving trekkers a chance to observe them in their natural environments without the apes being afraid. 

These tours are just some of the many that Orangutan Odysseys offer. Working alongside dozens of local conservation groups, Orangutan Odysseys is an educationally oriented adventure company that not only teams up with global conservation leaders to save these animals, but also to ensure that their message gets out. In helping them do so, participants have the experience of a lifetime. 

Say cheese! (Photo: Restless Mind (Flickr))

Say cheese! (Photo: Restless Mind (Flickr))


To learn about more available tours, go to http://www.orangutanodysseys.com/.


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Matt Payne

Matt Payne has lived and worked as both a television writer and producer in Los Angeles for nearly ten years.  Matt grew up in Oklahoma City and began his career with a degree in Film and Video Studies from the University of Oklahoma.  Since then, he has worked as part of writing staffs for such hits as 24 andWithout A Trace. Most recently Matt wrote and produced episodes of CBS’s The Defenders starring Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell and Memphis Beat, starring Jason Lee, which is set to air on TNT in August of 2011.

In addition to a successful television-writing career, Matt has developed features with major production companies and continues to work as a freelance script analyst for Relativity Media, the production company behind such hits as The Fighter, Zombieland, and Catfish where he has provided script feed back on nearly a thousand features.

When he is not writing and producing television, Matt works as contributor to the Washington Times Communities Travel section, where he has writing skills have taken him from the top of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpar to the jungles of the Philippine Islands.  New York City’s finest restaurants to the earthquake ravaged Port au Prince Haiti. 

Matt was the winner of the 2004 Comedy writing award for Scriptapolooza, a finalist for the Warner Brothers Television Writer’s workshop, and is an active participant in Los Angeles’s Young Storytellers Program.  

Early in his career, Matt spent two years working as an assistant the Endeavor, which is now part of WME, the second largest talent agency in the world, working closely with such talent as Christian Bale and Michael Douglass.

Matt  is a member of  the Writer’s Guild of America and the Screen Actor’s Guild.

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