Come along with us on a journey into the heart of Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem in our four-part series Wild Work Sumatra. You'll see amazing wildlife, meet the forest-edge communities who call Sumatra home, learn about the complex social and environmental challenges they’re facing and the incredible people working to tackle these issues. 

Guiding us through this series is Auckland Zoo’s primate team leader Amy Robbins who has dedicated her life to raising awareness for these incredible primates. Amy uses skills learnt caring for our orangutans Charlie, Melur and Wanita at the zoo and her extensive knowledge of primate behaviour, to help conserve their cousins in the wild. 

You’ll get to see just how special this place is, and why Amy is so passionate about conserving it. The Leuser Ecosystem is the largest intact forest in Asia and it’s the only place left where Sumatran orangutans, elephants, rhinoceros and tigers co-exist together in the wild.   

Watch our series below or on TVNZ OnDemand with your whānau and learn more about the conservation work that you help to support every time you visit or make a donation to Auckland Zoo. 


Episode 1

Amy heads to Sumatra and introduces us to Jack and Agus from the Sumatran Ranger Project, a conservation team Amy set up in 2016 to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the ‘buffer-zone’ - the space between where people live and work and the forest where wild orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinoceros reside. Next Amy takes us to meet the Conservation Response Unit elephants in Tangkahan who are helping to provide a solution for human-elephant conflict in the area.


Episode 2

Amy introduces us to Mina, an orangutan taken from her mother as a baby in the illegal pet trade before being rescued and released back into the wild in Bukit Lawang. We also meet John Purba, a senior ranger who knows every orangutan in the Leuser Ecosystem. John believes in conserving the forest and its wildlife so much that he’s set up a school in his own backyard where he teaches conservation and English, that Auckland Zoo is proud to help fund!


Episode 3

Now we’ve met orangutans in the wild, we’ll learn more about the challenges facing them in their rainforest home. Amy explains why Auckland Zoo supports the use of sustainable palm oil and exactly how it benefits wildlife and wild places. Next we meet Nayla who shows us the replanting Orangutan Information Centre are doing within native forest that was once the site of illegal palm oil plantations and we meet Jack who used to be an illegal logger in this area before he became involved in the forest's conservation.


Episode 4

In our final episode we meet Leuser – an orangutan that was attacked and shot 62 times with an air rifle, leaving him with permanent blindness. Thankfully our partners at Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme were able to rescue him and care for his wounds. Due to the nature of his injuries he isn’t able to be rehabilitated and released like the majority of the orangutans that come through their quarantine centre. Instead, he’ll live out his days at the Orangutan Haven - a sanctuary and education centre that is currently in development. Amy meets up with Dr Ian Singleton who shows us around the haven and explains the concept behind creating a beautiful home for these primates.