The picture above shows an orangutang rescued from the rubbish heap as a baby, now thriving with its own baby.
But this isn't just a tale of a few sad orangutangs living on the edge...
Willie Smits went back at night to a market where he had seen a very sick baby orangutang in a cage and was not surprised to find that it had been discarded onto a rubbish heap and left to die. He forced it to drink and saved its life. Soon he had 1000 oranutangs and nowhere to put them.
So he found some very degraded land and reclaimed it. In less than a decade the land was reinvigorated and could provide shelter and incomes to many families as well as a healthy population of orangutangs. He integrated this reclamation with empowerment of the local people whose economic fortunes, he was able to show them, were inextricably linked to the health of orangutangs. He was very careful to make government absolutely transparent and describes what was necessary.
They grew a biodiverse forest with seeds planted in orangutang dung. Then many birds and animals found the forest, very quickly. How wonderful!
This is an incredible film, all biologically credible. It occurs in a third world country where the dyak people (the forest people) have been dispossessed and murdered by Indonesian colonists. The people in the area in question had high infant mortality, high alcoholism and lived in misery.
The film gives a quick overview of the science of rain-making in the tropics and says that there is a different dynamic there from dry forest rain. However, rehydrating the forest is a matter of how and what you plant.
Now the rainfall in this area is huge. The continual forest fires have stopped.
This could happen in Victoria.
I found out about this film from Natural Sequence Farming, which is an Australian method for rehydrating land. I have been discussing forest rehydration in Victoria, Australia to stop this place burning up completely.