‘Last Tree Standing’

At 5pm on the 4th of February, we received a moving and poignant photograph from the OF-UK rescue teams in Indonesia.


This orangutan was immediately visible, seen clinging to the top of a tall thin and burnt tree – the only tree in sight in an area overtaken by oil-palm.


A heart-breaking image like this perfectly sums up the extent of the devastation caused by habitat destruction in Indonesian Borneo. Rainforest habitat is rapidly dwindling, leaving orangutans to search for shelter on community land or in sparse and fragmented areas of forest. Fortunately this 15-year-old female was one of the lucky few: found, rescued and soon to be released.


The female orangutan, now named Narti, was examined by the OF-UK vet, Dr Wawan, and thought to have eaten palm-shoots as there was no other food around. The shoots from oil-palm plants are not healthy food for orangutans, and are a struggle to digest. Luckily after medication and given time being fed the right foods, Narti will be safely released back into orangutan habitat within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.


 Help us to provide stranded orangutans with a new and safe home: http://www.orangutan.org.uk/how-to-help

Share the hashtag #LastTreeStanding to help us build awareness for habitat destruction in Indonesia!

New year, New home

New Year’s Day welcomed three new additions to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve! Just days earlier, mother of two, Sera, and her infants Karno and Rano were rescued by OF-UK staff from a rubber plantation close to the local town of Sampit, and released into the reserve after a few days of quarantine! Because Rano is a new-born infant, thought to be only one or two weeks old, the rescue was trickier than most others, and OF-UK staff had to be extra careful not to injure Rano in the process. 1.1.16 rescue

1.1.16 rescue 3

Foundation vet, Dr Wawan, administering vaccinations.

1.1.16 release 21.1.16 release 3After all their check-ups from Foundation vet Dr. Wawan, all three orangutans were found to be in perfect health, and are now enjoying their life of freedom and security in the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. 1.1.16 release1.1.16 release 41.1.16 release 51.1.16 release 61.1.16 release 7

You can watch the full release on video here!

Happy New Year Foundation supporters!

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.

rescue fire

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?

fire damage aug 2015

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.]

Fire 21 Juli 2015_6

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.

OU in forest fire damage high res

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.