Class is now in session as Smithsonian Channel prepares to share the drama, as well as the hijinks, of a group of young endangered orangutans in an emotional new docuseries, ORANGUTAN JUNGLE SCHOOL.
The 10-episode season takes viewers to Nyaru Menteng, a unique forest school for orphaned apes in Indonesia, run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. At this singular school, young orangutans who have lost their mothers to poaching and deforestation learn the skills they'll need to survive in the wild as they progress through a series of classes and grade levels – but these lessons take place in the jungle instead of a classroom. Full of rich and distinct characters, hilarious antics, tear-jerking moments and even heart-pounding cliffhangers, the series offers a look at the incredible work being done by human caregivers to provide these intelligent and endangered creatures a chance at life in the wild.
All episodes of ORANGUTAN JUNGLE SCHOOL will be available to stream Friday, August 2 on Smithsonian Channel Plus, with the first two episodes free for those without a subscription.
In the premiere episode, AND SO IT BEGINS, class clown Valentino loves coming up with inventive shortcuts to accomplish his lessons. Darril and Liti are a class couple, but their relationship might be short-lived if Darril doesn't stop controlling his girlfriend. Meanwhile, recent graduate Clara's first baby, Clarita, has been kidnapped by a dominant male. When the staff returns Clarita to her mother, all eyes are on Clara to see if she will accept her newborn back after time apart. MOVIN' ON UP, the second installment, follows Valentino, Madara and Utris as they move up a class in jungle school and make an impression on their new classmates. At nursery school, two-year-old Mema is reluctant to eat termites but discovers a tasty snack inside a rotten log. Recent graduates of Nyaru Menteng are ready for release into the wild – but first the staff has to recapture them from their trial run on a jungle island.
Subsequent episode descriptions of ORANGUTAN JUNGLE SCHOOL can be found here.
Orangutan Jungle School was originally commissioned by Love Nature, a joint venture between Smithsonian Networks and Blue Ant Media. Orangutan Jungle School is created, executive produced and written by Judith Curran. Kyle Murdoch serves as Executive in Charge in Production, and Anya Durling is Head of Development. Anna Sand is the Executive Producer for Blue Ant Media. Tria Thalman and David Royle serve as executive producers for Smithsonian Channel.
Bornean orangutans are critically endangered due to habitat destruction, deforestation and illegal wildlife trade hunting, among other threats. Established in 1991, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is an Indonesian non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the Bornean orangutan and its habitat. As part of their work, the BOSF runs educational facilities to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans.