New loo for ranga zoo

Feeding time at Nyaru Menteng.
Feeding time at Nyaru Menteng.

The orangutans of Nyaru Menteng in Kalimantan, Indonesia are about to get a new waste water treatment system thanks to Lismore’s Ecoteam and Tony Gilding who owns and runs the Macadamia Castle at Knockrow.

Nyaru Menteng is a refuge for orangutans who are predominantly the victims of habitat loss, and they have up to 600 animals across four sites.

Director of Ecoteam, Dr Keith Bolton said the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the growing demand on the centre in the past 20 years.

The waste water system, as well as having to deal with the human waste of up to 50 staff and volunteers, has to deal with food scraps and monkey poo from the cages where the orangutans are kept in at night.

“It’s a fairly rudimentary system they’ve got at the moment that consists of septic tanks with no bottom which is creating pollution of the ground water. There is a lot of overland flow of sewage too which is creating a parasite issue in some of the younger oragutans which reduces their health and increases infant mortality,” he said.

Dr Bolton and the team at Ecoteam have come up with a wetland based water treatment system that will be installed across the four sites.

“It will treat the raw sewage to a high quality secondary treatment level which can then be discharged into a water course.”

Ecoteam have donated their services to design and implement the system, but Dr Bolton says he has an ulterior motive.

“I get to go and hang out with orangutans,” he said excitedly.

Dr Bolton and North Coast plumber Nik Hyde will fly over to complete stage one in the next few months and will be supported by a team of Indonesian tradespeople. Materials and travelling costs are being provided by Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia, of which Tony Gilding is vice-president.

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