Orangutans are dangerously close to extinction. They are often hunted, mutilated and snatched from their habitats. The calm, uncannily human-like Orangutan and its fellow primates have been the victims of progress for too long a time.
Fortunately, there are people like Mrs Puck Schmutzer who takes a huge amount of her time to tend to endangered animals. The Late Mrs Schmutzer, who was also a painter, was born in Indonesia in 1924. During her twenties, she worked in Singapore for some time, before returning to Indonesia and marrying Businessman IAM Ignace Schmutzer. Afterwards, she committed her life to social activities which are benefiting to both human and animals. She received an award in social commitment from ex-Indonesian president M Soeharto and died in 1998. Her ashes were scattered on top of a tiger’s footprint in Jambi upon her request.
In Pusat Primata Schmutzer or the Schmutzer Center for Primates, we can sample some of the magnificence nature had given us and learn how to appreciate nature the way Mrs Schmutzer did. The Primate Center is a shelter for various primates ranging from Orangutans, Chimpanzees, and many other kinds of their fellow cousins. These primates are placed in a large space designed to resemble their original habitat and they are fed various kinds of food in order for them to adjust to the wildlife before going back to the forest. Many of the primates, before they were taken in by the Schmutzer Primate Center, had spent most of their lives caged and fed with one or two kinds of food only and it will take some time for them to adjust to the ways of living in the wild.
Not only is the primate center a fitting habitat for the primates, it is also a comfortable place for the human visitors. The Primate Center is unlike the regular Indonesian zoos which are notorious for their lack of facilities and attention. For one thing, no food or food sellers are allowed inside. There’s a special place for the visitors to eat so there will be minimum garbage disposal inside the center. The center also offers a lot of activities and learning facilities, such as the museum and theatre with many selections of educational movies related to conservation.
The Schmutzer Center for Primate is the largest primate center in the world, and it is probably the most adventurous one too. From the moment you step inside the waving gallery, which is a tunnel with a transparent canopy, you will have the chance to see huge African gorillas living its daily life right beneath your feet. Through paths surrounded by dense vegetations, you will come across other features such as a dark, creepy ‘tunnel’ with glass floors showing various species of snakes, a challenging tour of climbing trees and treading wooden bridges, and a lake where you can rent a boat and enjoy a natural romantic moment. You can also witness the kitchen activities, where the keepers of the center prepare food for the primates, and watch how the primates were given lessons to choose whatever they want to eat from all the choices displayed in front of them. Be aware that this is probably one place in Indonesia that really sticks to the rules. Therefore it is highly unadvised to bring food inside, especially feeding them to the primates.
This enchanting place is not very hard to find, since from the moment you enter the Ragunan area you can see a big sign promoting the Schmutzer center. If you are too caught up in the excitement of the place and forgot about the time, you can stay in the nearby motels in Ragunan area. There are plenty of souvenirs sold in the center for you to bring home too.
The Schmutzer center for primates is a beautiful, affordable way to learn about nature, and Jakarta could use more of places like this. Come and pay a visit to this green sanctuary, the experience could be very valuable and you might decide to be one of the nature helpers like the late Mrs Schmutzer.
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