It makes us really sad when people that are visiting the jungle feed the orangutans.
I will tell you why:
1. Bukit Lawang is a site where both semi-wild and wild orangutans live. The semi wild orangutans have been returned to the forest to that they have the chance to be fully independent again, but in the meantime they will get more dependent on people if tourists feed them.
2. Our DNA is so similar that orangutans can catch our diseases, but they don't have the immunity so they get sick and then die. This doesn’t only affect the individual orangutan but 3 can affect a whole group as they live so closely. It is especially sad when babies are affected and infant mortality is much higher in areas where orangutans are in close contact with people though tourist operators cite lack of direct evidence. This also works the other way; people are vulnerable to zoonotic diseases (carried by the orangutan) as well.
We cannot afford to be giving the orangutans our diseases, please let anyone who is visiting areas with orangutans know that they should keep their distance and under no circumstance feed them or touch them.
If you want to read more about this issue please read our guidebook to the Gunung Leuser National Park.