The Gunung Leuser national park is covering an area of about 9.000 sq km, and Bukit Lawang is today the main point of access to this impressive habitat, which wildlife includes tigers, rhinos, tapirs, elephants, gibbons, reptiles and of course the orangutan. There are more than 380 species of birds and a huge number of flowers, trees and other plants.
Bukit Lawang is a pleasant getaway from the polluted streets of Medan. The village sits on the eastern outskirts of Gunung Leuser National Park, a huge sanctuary for the flora and fauna of the region, but BL is maybe most famous for the Bohorok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. These attractions has made Bukit Lawang one of the most popular destinations in northern Sumatra, and today the town exists almost only for the purpose of serving the tourists.
The Bohorok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center was started in 1973 by two Swiss zoologists, Regina Frey and Monica Boerner, and funded by Frankfurt Zoological Society and WWF. The intention was to help orangutans that had been displaced due to land clearing or recovered from captivity. In the first years they had great success in the four steps of rehabilitation; removal from captivity, a quarantine of at least three months, release into the forest around the center and finally taken deep into the rainforest to be released into the wild permanently.
(Guest blog) I just came from four days at BUKIT LAWANG near GUNUNG LEUSER NP in Sumatra…Such an amazing place and it’s really tragic the way that the town has yet to recover from the 2003 flood. It needs only one thing – and that’s tourists. Pre Nov.2003 Bukit Lawang was an absolute oasis for travelers to northern Sumatra and we made up a HUGE part of the local economy.