Image for Refugees of the Lost RainforestNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 29 minutes

John Nettles explores the late naturalist Gerald Durrell's legacy through the work of a small group of people trying to save endangered orangutans on two contrasting islands, Jersey and Sumatra.

Last on

Sat 30 Nov 2013 11:30 BBC Two

  • Orangutan birth

    Orangutan mother and baby

    Never-before-seen footage of the “miracle birth” of a Sumatran orangutan is at the heart of this documentary filmed to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of Jersey’s Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.



    The programme highlights the work being done to help protect Sumatran orang-utans in the wild.


    Refugees of the Lost Rain Forest explores the late naturalist Gerald Durrell’s legacy through the work of a small group of people on two contrasting islands, Jersey and Sumatra.


    Enthralling footage filmed at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust includes HD footage of Sumatran orangutan Dana, giving birth to her daughter. 


    Against the odds


    The birth, on June 9, was remarkable as Dana’s previous pregnancy in 2009 suffered complications that endangered her health and resulted in a stillborn infant.


    Following the incident Dana was left with blocked fallopian tubes, rendering her infertile.


    Expert intervention by Jersey General Hospital’s head obstetrician, Neil MacLachlan, helped her to conceive, against the odds, in late 2012.


    The new baby is the second Sumatran orangutan born at Durrell in 2013; the first, Jantho, was born to 30 year old Annette on April 1.


    Conservation in action


    In Sumatra, the programme looks at the work of Dr Ian Singleton, who trained at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.


    He is working to save orangutans from the impact of deforestation and other problems.


    His work, which is partly funded by donations from the people of Jersey, helps prepare them for release back into the wild.


    Experts say that the fate of orang-utans in Sumatra is in the balance.


    But the birth of two Sumatran orangutans in Jersey, helped by 21st Century technology, gives conservationists hope and is a remarkable story.

  • Meet the refugees of the lost rainforest


    Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was set up by Gerald Durrell with the aim of saving species worldwide.


    Harriet Bradshaw has been looking at the work they are doing with one particular species - the Sumatran Orangutan.


    Read the news feature on the BBC News website. 

  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust celebrates 50 years

    Orangutan mother and baby

    The Jersey-based Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is celebrating its 50th anniversary of becoming a trust.


    Naturalist Gerald Durrell registered the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust on 6 July 1963.


    Renamed Durrell in memory of its founder, the wildlife park in Trinity has become world famous, thanks to its work saving endangered species.


    Watch a video feature on the BBC News website.


  • Jersey hospital consultant treats orangutan

    Neil MacLachlan with orangutan

    Neil MacLachlan has had a helping hand in the births of hundreds of babies in his job is a consultant at Jersey's General hospital.


    He's been using his medical expertise to help with the births of two orangutans at Durrell's Wildlife Park.


    Watch the video feature on the BBC News website.


John Nettles
Executive Producer
Jon Gripton
Harriet Bradshaw
Harriet Bradshaw


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss