Mina, the Female Semi-wild Sumatran Orangutan in Bukit Lawang: Between the Most Wanted and the Most Avoided at Her Prime

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Mina has contributed a long story to Bukit Lawang, during her lifetime. Most guides and foreign or domestic tourists had their own stories to tell when Mina comes to their minds. I got my own stories too to tell, she destroyed a Canon and my Samsung S6 Edge. Mina was considered to be a successful model related to her life experience for being one of the semi-wild Sumatran orangutans who were released in Bukit Lawang when WWF funded-projects teamed up with the Gunung Leuser National Park, she gives birth to few.

mina bukit lawang

The Orangutan feeding platform which has been running for nearly 20 years, was discontinued forever. Another success story has been rewritten for Bukit Lawang, a small ecotourism village situated in North Sumatra, sitting at the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park.

“Bobi! hey Kath, run… run!! Mina is coming, go away now! you guys run now! I will stay here!” says a local guide, at my encounter with Mina and causing serious damage to a Canon camera held in my right hand.

Mina used to be considered a ruling queen for the tamed paths around the jungle trekking corridor inside the park close to the village. Mina’s aggressive and domineering behavior toward the hikers suggests that something in the past triggered such attitudes.

Mina’s scar across her forehead was believed to have led her being a temperamental grandma at a trekking zone inside the park. My first encounter with Mina has created unforgettable memory, it was the first time to see a one-meter-tall orangutan smack a man and bites his head, it was a tour guide screaming for help.

Mina was not the only female orangutan that has been released inside the Gunung Leuser National Park, there were some, and some of them are still alive now.

Some of the guides are not afraid of Mina, connection through recognizing might be linked. We share 97% of our DNA with orangutans, Mina seems to be the smartest one at recognizing guides compared to other orangutans. Mina knows who made her upset in the past days, once she met them in the jungle trails, it was mostly about to end up in trouble.

When Mina was still there to scare people, I did my best to avoid the trails when she was at, I am happy to see her, but happier to stay away from having trouble with her. My last clash with Mina, she got my mobile destroyed in 2018, and after that I never wanted to see her again. I always tell the guide to not encounter Mina if we got some elders doing trekking.

Probably Mina has passed away due to her age, she is very old, but her stories stay, she was very famous as an orangutan. after she left, many guides wondered, will she come back.

Mina was reported to be missing from the trekking zone for almost two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some miss her sadly, and some seem to ignore her. Mina has become the mascot of Bukit Lawang. She always became the story after hikers returned to their hotels in Bukit Lawang from the jungle trek.

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