Lone Dröscher Nielsen is the founder and manager of the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
Working with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (B.O.S.), Lone began this project in 1999, and it is now the largest primate rescue project in the world, with nearly 600 orangutans in its care. The project not only rescues and rehabilitates hundreds of orphaned orangutan infants with the goal of a return to some sort of wild life, but it also rescues hundreds of adult wild orangutans from palm oil plantations which have been planted after their natural forest habitat has been cleared.
Lone’s project is the only orangutan project actively rescuing wild orangutans. These orangutans are treated and healed of wounds inflicted by loggers and eventually returned to safe forests, which have been secured by Lone.
Lone began working with orangutans 14 years ago while she worked as a flight attendant with SAS – the Nordic airline. Originally she volunteered in an orangutan conservation project, and her interest and skills developed from there.
In 1993, she moved permanently to Borneo to devote her life to saving orangutans.
Originally from Denmark, Lone has been featured in a Danish film called The World’s Most Remarkable Dane. Other films have featured the work of Lone and her team, most notably National Geographic’s Disenchanted Forest (1999), Animal Planet’s Growing Up…Orangutan, BBC’s Apes In Danger: Orangutan, and the BBC series that aired in 2006, Orangutan Diary, which also was featured on Animal Planet.
Currently Lone is working with NHNZ Ltd. on a new Animal Planet series called Orangutan Island.
Lone lives in a house near the Nyaru Menteng Rescue Center, and she works around the clock managing the project. Her duties include training and managing a work force of approximately 80 local Indonesian Dayaks who work as babysitters (women caring for the infant orangutans) and Teknisi (men caring for the older orphans). Lone manages a well-equipped clinic with veterinarians and paramedics as well as coordinates constant rescues – many of which she attends herself. She continuously faces the challenge of fundraising for the project, a never-ending effort with money often depleting. In addition to her already huge workload, Lone updates sponsors constantly, writes reporters, negotiates huge food requirements with local suppliers and coordinates with television crews filming these orangutan stories.
It doesn’t stop when Lone goes home at night either. She currently has at least a dozen orangutan infants sleeping in her house at night as she is trying to raise funds for a night nursery for them. Two baby sisters also stay every night to deal with night feeds and crying infants, but more often than not, Lone is up in the night nursing a sick or injured baby.
Lone Dröscher Neilson has become an expert on the care of these orphaned primates, and her methods of raising them and helping them to learn wild skills are recognized internationally.
* Meet The Orangutans
* Return to Orangutan Island