Orangutans have lost one of their staunchest defenders with the death of Pak Bohap bin Jalan, who was a founding member of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), the organization established by his wife of 42 years, famed primatologist and conservationist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas.
Pak Bohap, an indigenous Dayak (one of the native groups of Borneo) and tribal leader, devoted his life to protecting these critically endangered “people of the forest.” He was known for his unique connection with orangutans and the mutual respect he shared with them.
In the 1970s, Pak Bohap began working as a research assistant with Dr. Galdikas in Camp Leakey. He brought a wealth of knowledge about the local community, orangutan food sources, and their forest home. His extraordinary traditional and personal knowledge of his native forest were instrumental in promoting OFI’s mission, leading it to become the impactful organization it is today.
Pak Bohap will be remembered for his warmth and generosity. He was friends with everyone he met—no matter their heritage, language, or species. His remarkable career and life are a reminder that standing up for what we believe in can create positive change that lives on—even after we’re gone.
His spirit will remain strong in the forest of his ancestors, a force of power and protection for the orangutans for years to come.—OFI
To commemorate Pak Bohap’s decades of protecting orangutans, the tropical rainforest, and endangered wildlife in Borneo, PETA is dedicating a leaf to him on our Tree of Life.
For all the orangutans whose lives you helped save and improve, thank you, Pak Bohap.