Friday the 13th brings good luck for our rescue teams!

Friday 13th is a day infamously associated with bad luck, but fortunately in our case, the day brought us good fortune! After two earlier rescue attempts, the Foundation staff were finally able to safely and successfully release another orangutan left stranded by habitat destruction into a protected release camp.

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The remnant forest near Pangkalan Bun where teams found the stranded orangutan

Orangutan Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA rescue team, responded to a report that an orangutan was destroying the oil-palm trees on a farmer’s plantation near Pangkalan Bun.

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Foundation staff sharing our newsletters with the local people

 

Foundation staff quickly established that this plantation was within an area of now fragmented secondary peat swamp forest, the remnants of what would have been an orangutan’s preferred habitat. Such sites are proof that suitable orangutan habitats continue to shrink.

 

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The orangutan’s handiwork on an oil-palm plant

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The treetop nest where the rescue team found the orangutan

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It took the effort of the whole team to get the large orangutan safely down from his nest.

 

Yet although Foundation staff were able to assess the site, it wasn’t until the third time our rescue teams were contacted on Friday 13th that they were able to track down the orangutan.

 

 

 

Once they had found him, our rescue team then had to work particularly hard to manoeuvre the moist peat and scrubland habitat, as well as to anaesthetise the orangutan. With a large, strong and cheek- padded male, this was no easy feat!

 

 

A full physical health examination showed that the wild orangutan was healthy and aged +- 25 years, making him a perfect candidate for immediate release into one of the Foundation’s release camp sites, all within 48 hours of capture.

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Our Foundation vet giving a full health examination with the help of the staff

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The large cheek-padded male awaiting his release

Once the anaesthetic had worn off, our team, alongside staff from Camp Siswoyo, opened the adult male’s cage doors and watched as he quickly assessed his new environment before disappearing into the tall tree-tops. The Foundation is excited to welcome a mature and healthy male into a protected reserve, and has decided to name him Raja! Good luck Raja!

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OF staff releasing Raja into Camp Siswoyo

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Raja quickly ascending into tree-tops to explore his new habitat

From fruit garden to forest refuge…

Whilst orangutans are found in oil palm plantation or community land, it means their habitat is still shrinking. However these orangutans can still have a safe future in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.  Already this year two orangutans have been rescued and translocated into the Reserve.

This is Kuala’s story, sent by one of our staff,  a six year old male, he had been damaging the village garden of Mr Joko. Mr Joko kept him for over a week, before a neighbour pointed out that orangutans are a protected species.  Mr Joko then contacted the BKSDA who, with the Orangutan Foundation’s vet and staff, travelled to the village ‘a 10 hour journey from the Foundations office’, where Kuala (named after the village) was handed over.

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Mr Joko handing over Kuala

After all the required health checks were clear he was able to be transferred to the Reserve.

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The health check – under anesthetic

Seemingly impatient to be back in the forest, Kuala stood rattling his cage and looking upwards at the trees. Once the cage door was opened he surveyed his surroundings and then without hesitation was straight up a tree. He was moving so quickly from tree to tree that it was difficult for the staff monitoring him to keep up, but by the end of the day, they were able to see he had already made his night nest, back in the wild where he belongs, and safe.  He was monitored for the next ten days.

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Kuala moving into the trees

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Kuala heads upwards into the branches

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Safe in the wild, soon to build a night nest

Exciting start to the New Year!

Sheila gave birth to her third offspring on the 15th of December 2014. We don’t yet know if it’s male or female. Her nurturing instinct is obvious from just looking at the photos.

This birth is a testament to the ideal habitat she lives in, and to the conservation work that protects this area; the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. The Foundation has always said, “If you protect the habitat, you protect the wildlife” – please read more by clicking here.

This offspring is a very good start to 2015, and two more are on the way ! f Sheila beDSC_1733 f Sheila eDSC_1948 f Sheila third offspring eDSC_1844 fb Sheila DSC_1973

 

 

Now it’s New Year, we look back with confidence, knowing that we have made a difference…

The Foundation works in three areas of critical orangutan habitat. We extend the scope of our achievements by patrolling an area almost as large as the land area of Singapore. Our strategically located guard posts are therefore vital. We have been able to rescue more and more orangutans whose lives were in imminent danger. 75% of all orangutans live outside protected areas, so with our partners, we launched a campaign to collaborate with 18 oil palm companies for the protection of orangutans within the forests of their companies concessions and surrounding areas.A new born infant rides on their mother’s back.

  • In 2014, the Foundation translocated 17 orangutans into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
  • Torup and Kotim were rescued from community land and both are now in the ‘Soft Release’ programme, learning skills for an independent life in the wild.
  • 2014 saw the birth of two infants, and two more orangutans are due to give birth in mid 2015.
  • An exciting new initiative was the installation of camera traps in Pondok Ambung, Tanjung Puting National Park and Belantikan Arut. Without these camera traps, we would of never have had sightings of clouded leopards, one of the most elusive species of the tropical forest.

Camera trap captures a clouded leopard.

  • The Volunteer Programme once again proved its worth, by renovating a Guard Post on a vulnerable river in the south of Tanjung Puting National Park.
  • An important research project is the Population and distribution of the endangered banteng (wild ox), found in the Belantikan region. This is critical to the banteng’s future status.

Our teams bravely fight fires, the blaze reoccurring every dry season.

  •  Thanks to the diligence of the Foundation staff, forest fires (an annual problem) were quickly identified and isolated, which prevented further areas of the forest from being burnt.

Thank you to all – your support really does make a difference and the orangutan foundation could not have achieved any the above without your help. A very happy New Year.

The Foundation out and about…

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The class made leaves and a ‘forest’ for their classroom

In October this year, the Foundation staff visited a school in west London, one of several schools we’ve enjoyed visiting in 2014. Our UK school visits go hand in hand with our Education Programme in Indonesia, read more here. 

This class had been studying rainforests across the globe, learning how habitat destruction effects the endangered orangutan and other wildlife. With the presentation and activities led by Foundation staff, the visit further encouraged the class to raise environmental awareness. Children particularly enjoyed listening to an orangutan long call and trying to make the distinctive call themselves.

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The children’s research

The Foundation thanks the class and teaching staff for their generous contribution.

To learn more about orangutans, with downloadable resources, please visit our website (click here). See our wide range of work in Indonesia by clicking here. 

Thank you to everyone who supported Orangutan Awareness Week and The Big Give this year.

 

A welcome end to the dry season…

Foundation staff have welcomed the end to the prolonged dry season, more than three months. During this time, it was very difficult to reach Camps and Guard Posts with food and logistics. In spite of the low rivers and logs blocking access, staff were still able to get supplies to the camps and guard posts, even if it sometimes took them 6 – 7 hours, rather than the normal 2 – 3. Even under these difficult conditions, the staff carried out their work with dedication and good humor.

The dry season is also the reason behind the fires that occur annually – this year they were especially severe. For the future, the Foundation staff need to be prepared by creating more bore holes and providing extra fire fighting equipment. It is only through these measures that we are able to control the fires and to prevent any further destruction to the forest and threats to the wildlife.

Thank you to all our dedicated staff in the field.

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Fire fighting team in action

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Fire damage, needing years to regenerate.

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Equipment and training is important to fight the fires effectively.

 

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The effort needed to get supplies to camp

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Removing logs from the low-level river

 

Nick on his Travels! : Climate Change March on the 21st of September 2014

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Nick in the capital!

Nick was out and about again on Sunday the 21st of September – a date that will go down in history as one of the biggest marches globally, with 40,000 people attending in London and 400,000 in New York City

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Nick joins all biodiversity threatened by Climate Change!

Altogether there were over 2,500 events in 166 countries – and Nick took part in London!

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Nick climbs to get a better view – and gets noticed!

Campaigners were marching for global action on climate change, in one of thousands of events worldwide ahead of a UN climate summit (23 September, 2014, New York).

Nick has had many travels – which you can see here – but never has he had so much company!

Please click here for more information about the march.

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Learning to be free!

Ivan who hold wood stairs DSC_3117 You may wonder about the ladder in this photo… In this case, it’s because Ivan and Yuli are reluctant to come back down from the tree, the staff – using the ladder – can reach them high in the tree, and bring them back to their cage for safety.

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Staff getting Ivan down from the branches

After one year in soft release (and using the ladder!), Ivan has now graduated to spending all his time in the forest, with no need to come back to the cage at night! As always, he still travels with Yuli (see some of their story - click here).

 

They are great companions; the same age, both developing through their soft release at the same time. After one year, they were both
released together – a great release to witness! We are hopeful Ivan will become a mature, confident male in the future…

Direct quote from our Vet… “Don’t know if someday Ivan will become mature male, we hope so, or even dominant and then what happen? are they still together?. Together or not, we are all happy to know that they were survive in the forest.”

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Little MC – perhaps playing hide and seek – the daughter of Mantra, a successfully released orangutan

The Foundation’s relationship with individual orangutans will ideally be short, as we can translocate fit and healthy individuals straight away. Sometimes the process of soft release can take some time, but whatever care the orangutans need, the Camp staff and Foundation vet are ready and waiting to improve the lives of those rescued. To find out more about the Foundation’s Translocation and Release Programme, please click here. You can make a donation to this life saving work here.

…With a lot of help from our friends…

More can be achieved by working together…
Collaboration and partnerships are how we extend the reach of the foundation. Working with groups who have similar aims, we raise funds to support our team on the ground, funding research and education. The training courses we administer enable local people to continue to live sustainably within forest environments.538839_10150788342383993_1920120953_n

GRASP - The Great Ape Survival Partnership, working with its partners UNEP and UNESCO – comprises of the great ape range states that work together to lift the threat of imminent extinction facing apes in Africa and Southeast Asia. The Orangutan Foundation is on the GRASP Executive Committee.

4apesThe Ape Alliance is an international coalition of organisations and individuals working for the conservation and welfare of apes. The Foundation is a founding member of the Alliance.
Here Sir David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall and other speak in a panel discussion with Ape Alliance Chair and Foundation Trustee, Ian Redmond OBE at Ape Alliance’s ‘Hope for Apes’ evening in 2010 at the Lyceum Theatre

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Both these groups provide a forum for discussion, campaign for public awareness and help information exchange between groups, including the coordination of events. The Orangutan Foundation works with these groups to ensure our experience of working for forest protection over 24 years has the maximum effect across the globe.

Yayorin - Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Indonesian Orangutan Foundation) — is our partner organisation. Our work with Yayorin contributes on their  Education and Awareness Programme, supporting and promoting their projects. This has included helping with Kampung Konservasi, the conservation village that provides a learning centre for the local community, teaching sustainable agricultural techniques.

We also collaborate with Yaryorin on research in Belantikan (click here to learn more) — a remote forest that is home to the world’s largest population of orangutans in an unprotected area. We’ve mentioned the work of the Mobile Education and Library unit previously (click here) – another project Yayorin run with our support.

The Foundation and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry work together under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This is vitally important for our ongoing work in Indonesia and all our efforts in collaboration with the Ministry, which now spans over ten years.

k Alex DSC_3834These relationships allow development and new achievements. Together, we can plan for the future and take our own roles in leading proactive work plans, safeguarding wild habitat and promoting the protection of the great apes. We thank all our friends and partners who work with us. Achievements so far have made a big difference, so these groups are have laid good foundations to continue with fantastic projects for great ape conservation. To keep up to date with our work and our friends – sign up to our Email Updates by clicking here!

Wild cats and more! at the Pondok Ambung Research Site

This year the Foundation received a grant from the Rufford Foundation for a Camera Trap Programme at Pondok Ambung. This is an important development, as this research site is within the Tanjung Puting National Park (protected since 1982). Foundation staff have helped protect the park and the site since 1998. With this duration of protection, the park and its biodiversity has remained mostly undisturbed – a pristine forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

The Foundation has hosted many students at Pondok Ambung – a chance for Indonesian students to conduct biodiversity research. Now with these cameras, we can catch a glimpse into more elusive wildlife…

Earlier this year, 10 camera traps were installed within the research site. The Foundation ensured there was no human activity in the study area for two months before the camera traps were installed. This lack of disturbance encourages more animals to travel past the camera traps. Foundation staff carefully selected the positions for the traps, and our hard work paid off!

Just one month after the camera traps were set up, we are excited to see the first collection of photos…  as well as those shown below, we also have seen crestless fireback (Lophura erythrophthalma), lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus), Bornean red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and the Malayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura)!

Macan dahan (Neofelis diardi)

Clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi)

Babi hutan (Sus barbatus)

Bearded pig (Sus barbatus)

gBinturong-(Artictis binturong)

Binturong (Artictis binturong)

Kucing kuwuk (Prionaliourus bengalensis)

Leopard cat (Prionaliourus bengalensis)

Musang (Viverra tangalunga)

Malay civets (Viverra tangalunga)

Sempidan biru (Lophura ignita)

Crested fireback (Lophura ignita)

To get a snap shot into the lives of these rare and endangered species is truly special and important. Many of these creatures may be more endangered than currently listed (on IUCN Redlist – click here), so knowing where different species roam, and estimates of population size, are crucial.

It’s fantastic to see this much biodiversity within 30 days. In this location, there is much potential for further scientific analysis. We look forward to future results – who knows what else we will see! To support the Foundation’s scientific research and the protection of orangutan habitat, please donate here or get in touch!