Orangutan found 500m from a main road



Though the flames that overwhelmed Kalimantan for months are now out, it seems the damage may have already been done. Since September, the Orangutan Foundation rescue team has rescued an orangutan from burnt and desolate forest on a weekly basis. Now, the fires may have come to an end but this rise in rescue activity has not.

Orangutans are elusive creatures, and provided they live in optimum habitat, are relatively difficult to spot (much to the grievance of orangutan researchers!).  Yet this morning our teams rescued a young juvenile orangutan who could be seen at a distance, clambering the topmost point of an isolated tree just 500m from a main road. The proximity of this rescue to a public road is evidence of the devastation that wild orangutans will continue to face thanks to three months’ worth of wildfire.

IMG_1061As you can see in the images below, the habitat where this young orangutan was found has been very badly affected by the fires. Thankfully, the orangutan himself appeared to be in good health and will be released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve right away!


Foundation vet, Dr Wawan, performs a routine health check with the help of the Foundation rescue team


Foundation staff carries the young orangutan to safety





Indonesia’s fires rage on.

Sometimes images are more powerful than words.

These fires have resulted in a surge of orangutan rescues. To follow all of our orangutan rescue and release activity, please visit us on YouTube and Facebook.

Orangutan habitat continues to be under threat. You can make a difference by donating towards the Orangutan Foundation’s fire-fighting team, or by sharing this video with your friends and family to help us raise awareness for these difficult times.

Fire and smoke surrounds orangutan habitat

October 2015

Last Monday the Foundation rescue teams received a report from landowners in Mendawai that several orangutans might be trapped in an area nearby. This area in question was a narrow strip of forest, completely surrounded by fire and smoke.

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Foundation rescue teams roam the barren landscape in search of stranded orangutans.

Our teams, alongside members of the BKSDA, swiftly headed to the scene and, though the haze was thick, they were able to make out a large male orangutan in the clearing. In spite of the vet darting him with an anaesthetic, the male was merely slowed down because of his size, and was still able to scale a tall tree.

rescue tree

                       The large male was unreachable having climbed to such a height.

The height of the tree was too dangerous for our team members to climb, and before long the orangutan was once again on the move. Hours of following ensued, but eventually the thick haze from the fires overwhelmed the area and the atmosphere became too dark to continue. Though the rescue attempt failed, our rescue teams endeavoured to try to again the following day.

But on the following day, further reports were made to the Orangutan Foundation that, according to our staff, orangutans were “falling to the ground” because the forest was almost completely burned down. Trees were dried to a crisp and the air engulfed by heavy smoke. Despite these terrible conditions this rescue attempt was more successful, and our teams were able to rescue an adult female and her infant. The pair have now been named Vania and Venty, aged approximately 26 years old and 5 years old respectively.

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    Mother and infant being transported to the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Though this mother and her infant will be released into the safety of our protected Reserve, this turn of events only demonstrates the immense devastation facing Kalimantan’s forest habitat. Because of the extreme haze cloaking the entire region, it is likely that many more orangutans are stranded in these fire-damaged areas of land. Unless reported to us, there is no way of knowing where these orangutans are that are so desperately in need of rescuing.

The conditions caused by Indonesia’s fires have posed serious problems for the local people, as well as for their eco-tourism. Now we know that the dramatic weather conditions are affecting the wildlife within the forests as well, with more and more of their habitat continuing to be lost every day.

Note: Since writing this post, another orangutan has been rescued by our teams. That’s one failed rescue and two successful rescues in three days. More details to follow.

I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke

(Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia)

i love PKB

Due to the globally dramatic effects of El Niño, Indonesia is having a longer dry season than usual. Some areas are beginning to run dangerously low in water supply. Indonesia faces the very serious threat of rice crop failure. Fire is now a daily threat. With forest fires and open land fires becoming difficult to extinguish in peat land areas like orangutan habitat, they are easily spread to neighbouring areas. This is a problem so frequently faced by the majority of Central Kalimantan, but sadly it has now become a worry for the Foundation’s protected region, the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. If orangutans aren’t safe in protected forest, where can they be?

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Fire damage on the outskirts of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

To prevent the spread of forest fires, we need the cooperation of local people. For this reason, the Orangutan Foundation, in cooperation with the BKSDA (Agency of Natural Resources Conservation) and Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), have campaigned to raise awareness throughout the local town of Pangkalan Bun this month. Noting that August 9th was the town’s ‘Car Free Day’, Foundation staff toured the town with signage reading ‘Stop Forest Fires’ while orangutan mascots handed out brochures to the local people. Car Free Day is a weekly event in Pangkalan Bun, supporting the reduction of pollution and smoke in the local communities. With Indonesian communities making environmentally conscious steps like these, we are confident that we can harness their support to keep orangutan habitats safe.

car free day car free day 2

Capitalising on the extra foot traffic, and thanks to the hard work of Foundation staff, this campaign attracted a lot of attention, with people of the younger generation proudly taking photographs with our orangutan mascots and campaign posters which read ‘I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke’.

car free day 3

A huge thank you to everyone involved!

Fire Outbreak in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Untitled July has been met with an alarming number of fires in Central Kalimantan. Break outs have occurred worryingly close to our guard posts at Vigilant Howe, Danau Burung and Sungai Pasir. As you can see from the map below, these posts mark the outskirts of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which means that these fires have encroached upon protected land.

Kebakaran SM Lamandau Juli 2015_1 The damage found indicates that these fires were set intentionally by hunters hoping to attract deer to fresh grasslands. Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA, has succeeded in putting out the bulk of the outbreak, but for now fire surges on in Sungai Pasir. Limited equipment and staff numbers in the area mean that our teams have to work that much harder to fight the spread of fire caused by high winds. We are confident in our ability to manage outbreaks such as these; however the proximity of these fires to our orangutan release camps requires constant monitoring.

Fire 17 juli 2015

[Limited equipment meant that our staff have had to extinguish the fires by hand.]

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Please DONATE and quote ‘FIRE‘ to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!


  As we enter the dry season in Kalimantan, Indonesia, we’re taking every precaution.

_MG_1691_2 Our field staff are going the extra mile to raise awareness and stop the breakout of fires in areas surrounding protected forest. Every year fire is a constant worry. Naturally occurring fires are prevalent throughout Indonesia, and the tradition of ‘slash and burn’ farming can also be used as a method to prepare for oil-palm plantations. In open stretches of land where the air doesn’t hold as much moisture, these fires are a constant challenge to control. A fire that cannot be easily extinguished can wipe out forests that are home to thousands of species, including the endangered orangutan.

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Forest fires lead to mass devastation, and thousands of animals can lose their forest home.

That is why the Foundation has always made fire prevention a priority. In addition to fire training for all guard post staff, our employees in the field have called for local people to stop clearing the land with fire through the implementation of signposts. These steps are especially important because dry and barren landscapes, such as those pictured below, surround the areas of forest in which we work. These patches of open land are especially susceptible to catching fire, and their vulnerability to wind only encourages fire to spread.

_MG_1601_2 In our efforts to raise awareness, we at the Foundation have built warning sign-posts all along the boundaries of particularly high-risk areas (highlighted in yellow). Through these actions, we hope to keep protected areas of forest, and all of their inhabitants, safe from harm.
Sigboard Karhut

Please DONATE and quote ‘FIRE’ to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!

RAINFOREST: LIVE! Why It’s Important

Rainforest Live 2015 logo
It’s easy to disengage with the reality of a world so distant from our own. As a supporter of a conservation organisation, you can enjoy occasional updates from the field and take pleasure in new photographs of the species you love most. But what do these things tell you about the world these species actually live in? What does a supporter of the Orangutan Foundation truly know about life in the Indonesian rainforest?
We at the Foundation feel that it is important to show our supporters what their money goes towards – what environment it helps to sustain – what biodiversity it keeps alive. Rainforest: Live is the perfect opportunity for us to do this. With 24 hours of live updates, photos and videos from the field, you will be transported to the forests of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia through just a few clicks of a mouse.
We want to encourage the public to feel as though they are part of a global community, to engage with our planet and appreciate the natural wonders it offers – and we’re not the only ones who recognise the importance of this project! This year’s Rainforest: Live has 17 NGOs participating from all over the world!
Gunung Palung Orangutan Project
The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop)
Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme (HUTAN)
CREES Foundation
Selamatkan Yaki
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP)
Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Flora & Fauna International
Orangutan Outreach
Orangutan Land Trust
Burung Indonesia
Tropical Ecological Assessment & Monitoring (TEAM) Network
Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS)
TODAY you can look out for the hashtag #rainforestlive, or follow the compilation of live feeds from each of these organisations here: https://storify.com/outrop/rainforest-live. If you’re as excited as we are to see what wildlife makes an appearance today, then don’t forget to join the Orangutan Foundation, alongside these other NGOs, in celebrating RAINFOREST: LIVE!
Twitter: @OrangutanFndn     Facebook:  /orangutanfndn
JUNE 19TH #rainforestlive

Protection begins with education

This Tuesday a wild orangutan was found dead in an oil-palm plantation. The Foundation vet, Dr Wawan, performed the necropsy, from which it was clear that the orangutan had been lying dead on the ground for three days before plantation staff found her. The review also showed that she had died from two severe puncture wounds. As a result, this case is now under investigation by our partners at the BKSDA.

Even with all the work we do to towards education and human-orangutan conflict mitigation, there continue to be cases like these. The plantation where the orangutan was found is located within the Lamandau district where the Foundation does the bulk of its orangutan reintroduction work. In such close proximity to an area that we strive to protect and make safe for the orangutans we release, it is always alarming to find such animosity.

penemuan orangutan IMG_7354Our work to raise awareness and to educate local communities about endangered orangutans is more important than ever.

Help us to protect wild orangutans from fates such as these.


RAINFOREST: LIVE! Why We Are Taking Part

The Foundation frequently receives e-mails from budding conservationists and passionate supporters displaying their frustration over not being able to visit Indonesia or join our summer volunteer programmes. This is one of the reasons we were so excited to take part in Rainforest: Live. If you are one of many who are unable to join us out in the field to experience the many wonders of Indonesian Borneo first-hand, we now invite you into this world through the lens of a camera.

Thanks to the astoundingly connected world we live in, we’re able to take you inside Indonesia’s rainforests, to live amongst the trees and the tropics, and to catch a glimpse of some of its most elusive inhabitants. Live the life of a Foundation patrol: roam the forest in search of an orangutan sighting; get up close and personal with some of Indonesia’s most beautiful and fascinating plant life ; watch our live camera traps from within the exceptionally rich and biodiverse Belantikan Hulu region.

You can do all of this from the comfort of your own home – thanks to Rainforest: Live, you will receive updates on all of your favourite animals, without the hot and humid tropical air, the smell of exotic droppings, or the tickling sensation of some uninvited insect working its way up your arm. (That said – those experiences are all part of the fun!) By simply joining us on Facebook and Twitter for the day, you’ll get the chance to experience the forests of Borneo just as the endangered orangutan does.

[Below are photos taken in Spring 2014 by our camera traps set up in the Belantikan Hulu region; Top Left: A clouded leopard by nightfall; Top Right: A female orangutan climbing trees with her offspring; Bottom Left: A sun bear with her young; Bottom Right: A solitary red langur monkey]

Clouded Leopard Cam C21 20-03-2014 0457h Orangutan Belantikan (5) Red langur Belantikan (1) Sun bear Belantikan (1)

Join the Orangutan Foundation on June 19th for a 24-hour sneak peek into life in the rainforest!

June 19th #rainforestliveRainforest Live 2015 logo transparent

[Rainforest: Live 2015 logo designed by @BethAucott]

RAINFOREST: LIVE! Conservation Meets the Technological Era

The growing relationship between technology and conservation is one that seems to play an increasingly important role. The ease with which we can have instant contact with our staff in the field enables us to have up-to-the-minute knowledge of our work on the ground like never before. The ability to connect with one’s supporters directly, wherever they live around the world, is also an incredible luxury. It allows conservation organisations to see first-hand how much support they have and to thank their dedicated ambassadors every step of the way. Moreover, the unbridled nature of social media helps us all to extend awareness for important issues and campaigns far beyond our usual reach.

Here in the UK office, receiving news from our field sites in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and Tanjung Puting National Park (both in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia), is often the best part of our day. To see photographs of rescued orangutans receiving the veterinary care they need provides unparalleled motivation to raise funds for such programmes. Being able to watch a video of an orangutan released back into the wild serves as great inspiration for us to continue working with the Indonesian government to protect large areas of critical habitat. When we see our Indonesian staff going to great lengths to take extraordinary photographs for the pure pleasure of it, it lets us know that we’re helping to engage the local communities with the wildlife around them.

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Up close photography of a long-ledge fly in Lamandau taken by Foundation vet, Dr Wawan.

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Our staff captures an intimate moment shortly after an orangutan birth back in January.

With the use of GPS and satellite mapping, the Foundation can constantly monitor areas affected by increases in deforestation, as well as map out protected borders. This also means that when our staff rescues an orangutan, we can see immediately where they were found, as well as what region is most suitable for their release.

Thanks to advances in technology, we needn’t be detached from the work we do halfway across the world; and thanks to social media, the public can always be as engaged with our conservation work as we are.

That’s why the Orangutan Foundation is thoroughly excited to be able to share these moments with you, the public, LIVE on June 19th during an annual global project called Rainforest: Live! Throughout the day the Foundation, alongside several other prominent conservation NGOs, will be posting live reports, photos, and videos directly from our Indonesian field sites all over Facebook and Twitter. This will also be a unique opportunity for you to interact and engage with the Foundation directly, asking questions, sharing posts and showing how much you care about the world’s rainforests.

Last year, OuTrop (Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project) alone saw the hash tag #rainforestlive 120,000 times. Let’s try to top that this year, spreading our love of rainforests and the life that inhabits them as far across the globe as possible!

JUNE 19TH #rainforestlive