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!

Great times ahead: this November be #OuAware14

OuAwarw

Dear all,

Exciting times are coming up!
Although November seems far away, time goes quickly… So when is Orangutan Awareness Week 2014?!

This year’s Orangutan Awareness Week will be held 10th-16th of November, with ORANGE DAY on the 12th (the Wednesday – as always).

We are already sending schools materials and the orange costumes are getting an Autumn clean. Our ambassadors are putting up posters and we really can’t wait to see everyone’s efforts in 2014 to help save orangutans.

It is important to dedicate a week to raising awareness and raising funds. It is a time where all and any communities can come together and do small and big things to support the safeguarding of Indonesian Bornean habitat. All funds raised will go towards the conservation of orangutans in critical orangutan habitat. Our work prioritises conservation of standing forests and local capacity building to ensure orangutans and amazingly diverse habitat are protected into the future. See some ideas and stories of our Awareness Weeks here!

We’ll be collecting all the photos of YOU, fun-loving public having a good time for orangutans, so please stay in touch – see all the fun on facebook too!

Be orange, be daring, have fun, and swing towards helping…

A Future for Orangutans, Forests and People

Camera trapping to save species

The Orangutan Foundation are proud to be partners of a groundbreaking Camera Trapping Project with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) – allowing us to document animals that have never been seen before in the remote and highly diverse area of Belantikan Hulu. Here, Susan Cheyne, co-coordinator of the project, tells us about the initial results…

Check out the stunning footage we got; sun bears here, an orangutan here and a pangolin here.

“July 2014 sees the end of 2 years of camera trapping in 6 forests across Kalimantan. 160 camera traps were set out covering at total of almost 700km2 of rainforest. The final forest to be surveyed was started in February 2014 in collaboration with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and the Orangutan Foundation UK (OFUK).

Orangutan Belantikan (5)

Orangutan on the ground with offspring

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Confirmed sightings of Clouded Leopards

The Belantikan-Arut area in Central Kalimantan, whose core area is Belantikan Hulu, is a spectacular landscape spanning 5,000km2 hectares across Central and West Kalimantan, is known to contain the largest single population of orangutans outside of protected areas.

The results of this work are very exciting. Not only were Sunda clouded leopards confirmed in this forest but also the elusive banteng. The banteng is a large and rare wild cattle species and is endemic to Borneo but is not widespread across the island.

Banteng Belantikan  (21)

Banteng – ungulate of the forest

Sambar deer Belantikan (26)

Sambar deer – another ungulate of the forest

Of course orang-utans featured on the camera traps, adding to the recent information that the man of the forest in fact spends a lot of time on the ground. Not only were large males caught on camera but juveniles and mothers and infants travelling on the ground.

Of great interest is the number of deer and bearded pigs especially the majestic Sambar deer, largest of the 5 species on Borneo. Good eating for a clouded leopard!

Red langur Belantikan (1)

Red langur

The white-fronted langur (see closely related species – the red langur – pictured above) is normally swinging up in the canopy, but like many primates, also comes to the ground. This species has a very patchy distribution across western Borneo and confirmation of the presence in Belantikan is important new information.

Sun bear Belantikan (1)

Sun bears picnic?

Sun bears are the smallest of all the world’s bears and have the longest tongue of any bear! Females generally have 1-2 cubs each year. We were fortunate to have surveyed during the time of year when cubs are venturing out and about with their mother and captured some wonderful photos and videos of their interactions.

Yellow-throated marten Belantikan (3)

Yellow-throated marten running speedily!

The little yellow-throated marten is apparently widely distributed throughout Borneo but not much is known about these animals. Living alone or in pairs, they are active at both day and night. Although listed as IUCN Red List Least Concern, nothing is known about the population numbers on Borneo.

Pangolin Belantikan

The illusive and truly amazing Pangolin

Camera traps provide an amazing and unique view into the wildlife of the forests we are working to protect. Almost each photo provides new information about behaviour, distribution or activity of these animals.”

Check out our recent blog for more amazing photos, or get in touch about any of our projects!

Amazing orangutans pictures…

These wonderful photos have just been sent to us from the field, all taken by Foundation staff in the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. These re-introduced individuals, some who were re-introduced years ago, are now well known by the Foundation staff. Many of the females have had offspring since their re-introduction to the Reserve, living in a safe and healthy environment. With this window into their world, we can see how they are getting along…

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Mother Amoi with her one year old Alex

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Swinging Alex

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It is important that Alex learns quickly. Whilst she is with her mother, Amoi, she can afford to make a few mistakes, though obviously tree-navigation won’t be a problem!

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Alex being lifted to be put on her mothers back.

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Badut with her little one BB – BB is already ten months old!

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BB ; showing off the hair that is so characteristic of this red ape.

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Alex learning with mother Amoi. As she’s a year old, Alex is starting to learn which foods are good to eat!

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Luxi and with her little Luna. Although smaller, Luna is about the same age as Alex at one year old.

 

#Rainforestlive. The Foundation join 11 conservation and ecological organisations for a biodiversity-day!

Fungi - Pondok Ambung Nov 11The Foundation are collaborating with conservationists to give a 24-hour window into wildlife of remote rainforests, using facebook and twitter! 

On 2 June 2014 conservationists are coming together to share 24 hours of wildlife sightings from rainforest locations across Southeast Asia. The Foundation were asked to take part and are excited to see what we can see from so many fabulous locations across the working world of biodiversity.

‘Rainforest: Live’ will take advantage of social media, using the spread of technology to allow everyone to see and learn about even some of the most remote corners of the globe.Rainforest Live Large 2

Photos, videos and wildlife sightings will all be shared live. The 11 respective rainforest field sites will all use the hashtag #rainforestlive. Do ask us or any of the organisations questions using the hashtag!

Ashley Leiman, OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation, said “this collaboration brings home that deforestation effects not only the wildlife, but is the third largest cause of green house gas emissions and so effects everyone on the planet. Days such as this highlight how much researchers are learning, with a view to achieving more conservation successes on the ground.”

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It’s not just for orangutans like Keno – we are looking forward to hearing about all the wonderful species.

Matt Williams, Communications Manager for OuTrop said “If people in Southeast Asia and across the world are reminded of this incredible natural gift, then we have a better chance of saving tropical rainforests everywhere. Rainforest: Live is an unprecedented event bringing live sightings straight from the jungle. Members of the public can take part by using the #rainforestlive hashtag to ask questions they’ve always wondered about to rainforest experts.”

“We’re excited to participate in this event,” says Dr. Cheryl Knott, Executive Director of the Gunung Palung Orangutan Project, “as Rainforest: Live will provide an exciting ‘virtual experience’ for the pubic – a way to simultaneously travel to rainforests throughout Southeast Asia and experience the regions’ incredible biodiversity.”

Can’t wait for Monday – hope to see you online on the 2nd! 

Orangutan Tropical Pealtand Project – FacebookTwitter

Orangutan Foundation UK – FacebookTwitter

Harapan Rainforest – FacebookTwitter

Gunung Palung Orangutan Project – FacebookTwitter

Orangutan Land Trust – FacebookTwitter

HUTAN – FacebookTwitter

Selamatkan Yaki – FacebookTwitter

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program – FacebookTwitter

Integrated Conservation – FacebookTwitter

Burung Indonesia – FacebookTwitter

RSPB – FacebookTwitter

“Us and not us” by Ashley Leiman – Director of the Orangutan Foundation

Ashley Leiman OBE, director of the Orangutan Foundation, explores the complex relationship between man and our closest relatives – the great apes

Please see here : The Biologist Vol 61(2) p12-16 , for the full article.

” The great apes are often perceived differently to other animals. In many cases, it’s the simple physical resemblance – we look alike – that’s enough to affect how people think and feel about them. No other group of animal has the same attributes that strike a chord with people: hands with nails, eyes that mirror our own, and rich social and emotional lives. Despite this, the 21st century may see the extinction of one of mankind’s closest living relatives…

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A mother and infant that the Orangutan Foundation helped get back into the wild.

[ ]…But there are two sides to our perception of apes. While one side emphasises the similarities, the other side emphasises the differences, how the apes are almost but not quite human. This duality occurs across the world, but is perhaps strongest in the west.

Joson, 4 year0ld  rescued orangutan

Stunning Joson who the Orangutan Foundation rescued.

 

 

 

[ ]…No one is deliberately trying to wipe out the great apes. The present situation shows little more than a lack of care, both nationally and internationally. This is the point where western and indigenous attitudes to the great apes intersect. The fate of the apes rests finally with the inhabitants of ape-habitat countries, be they individuals, communities or governments.
However, the west or developed world has a duty of care, for it’s the western world order (and its demand for products and raw materials from ape habitats) that has given rise to so many of the problems the apes face.

Bornean orangutan by Ian Wood

A life in the wild… (Photo: Ian Wood)

“As long as they [apes] are able to roam the earth, hooting, leaping, munching, breaking branches, beating their chests, or simply sitting gazing quietly into the sunset, they will act as a perpetual and vital reminder that we are, after all, little more than brainy, naked apes.” (Morris & Morris, 1966). “

 

Please consider donating to the Foundation here… You can contact us – Ashley and the team – on info@orangutan.org.uk

And still more orangutans to be rescued….

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Mother and infant on their way back to the forest.

The Foundation is always asked ‘How is the situation – facing the orangutans?’. We answer ‘The Foundation is making progress’, in one way by working closely with villagers and oil palm companies to mitigate human-wildlife conflict’. This strategy is working, as the Foundation is called upon to rescue stranded orangutans, rather than the individuals being harmed. Within one week in April, the Field staff were called upon to translocate four orangutans that had entered villager’s farm land. One orangutan was found in a chicken farm and had eaten bananas and coconuts from the orchard on her way! These situations must be extremely frustrating for the farmers and yet rather than injure the marauding orangutan, the local people now know that there is an alternative, and that is to call upon the Rescue Team (OF and BKSDA).

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Dr. Wawan, the Foundation vet, conducting a medical check

 

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A medical check prior to the family’s life back in the wild.

That same week, a female orangutan with two offspring was found in a farm of maize and bean crops. Again the land owner did the right thing by requesting that the orangutan be translocated. All these orangutans were given comprehensive health checks (see above), and when found to be healthy were re-introduced into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Without protected areas such as Lamandau, the fate of these orangutans would be unknown. The reserve is a haven not only for orangutans. Recently a gibbon and a salt water crocodile were released (in fact in that very same week!). It is worrying that the loss of habitat is not decreasing, but through the Foundation’s work on the ground and your support, we are able to give wildlife a protected future. Have a friend or an offspring of your own to read this story? Please do share on facebook(click here) or twitter(click here). Helping these individuals to be protected, you can read more and donate easily, supporting the Foundation. Thank you for reading!

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A family released

 

Borneo’s biodiversity; the Orangutan Foundation Research site

The new face to the Pangkalan Bun Indonesian office is Pak Arie. As our new manager for Pondok Ambung – Station for Tropical Research. The research site has been vital for many studies since 2005, including proboscis monkeys, fish, butterflies, the false gharial, orangutans and the stunning variety of bird life.

Please do share on this post with your friends and family! Check out our facebook account and twitter account to keep in touch with us!

Pak Arie has already been a good addition to the team, keen to develop Pondok Ambung – new posters have been sent out to Indonesian universities about the research grants available – and you in the UK can apply too! Pak Arie recently re-surveyed the site, telling us more about two less studied species…

We think of tarantulas as primarily South American, but Borneo also have their own species – the Sweet Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma Sp.).

Sweet Brown TarantulaOur team regularly see these nests in the day time, but would have to wait till dark to observe these arachnids nocturnal behaviour.

We are proud of the work we are doing on the ground, but there what about species living on the ground?! The Ling Zhi mushroom (Ganoderma sp.) was recently highlighted as an important species growing at Pondok Ambung.

Fungi - Pondok Ambung Nov 11

Within tropical areas, there is a high species diversity of macroscopic fungi, mostly unstudied within remote Indonesian forests. Data and literature on macroscopic fungi generally details those in subtropical regions that have different qualities than those in the tropics. Fungi perform essential role in maintaining the balance and composition of the soil, acting as a decomposer, which in turn helps fertilization. Fungi also can be used as drugs for their multiple medicinal uses. For example, Ling Jhi are fungi that have been cultivated in many countries such as Japan and China. Since 1999 these fungi have been used by an Indonesian company as herbal ingredients.

Dr Mark Fellowes Fungi 2

Swimming peacefully through the rivers near Pondok Ambung, the black rayed softshell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea/ Trionyx cartilaginous or Labi-labi in Indonesian) might pass you by.

Black Rayed Softshell Turtle

Turtles can be studied around the pier of Pondok Ambung. These are stunning creatures when you look at their shells, but with odd faces! They are active either day or night, usually requiring a muddy area to lay and hatch their eggs activities. Listed as vulnerable by IUCN, it’s always welcome news when we hear about sightings from the field. Pictured here, the team are measuring the turtle for our research records.

A day in the life…

We are often asked how things work on a daily basis for the Orangutan Foundation. What work is involved? How does this then help conserve Bornean forest and protect orangutans? Focusing on the London office, here is an insight into working for our conservation charity…

The team
We have four full time staff in the UK and fifty eight full time staff in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. The team in the UK work to provide daily support, management and to raise all funds for all the Foundation’s work on the ground in Borneo. Within the UK and internationally, we work to educate and inform about conservation of orangutan populations, and how we work to contribute to their and their habitats protection.

Keno – our most recent individual in the soft-release programme! Read his story – click the image!

The day
Every day we receive calls and emails from anyone and everyone about orangutans and conservation. In a recent day, we had all of the following keeping us busy…

  • Requests from media groups – T.V. and film groups interested in interviews and footage from us about these great apes.
  • The Director and staff work together on helping the Indonesian office prepare for a meeting with the Indonesian government, to discuss progress over the past three years, and to lay out work plans for the next few years. This kind of planning and governmental interaction is vital for our work to continue.
  • Members on the phone about new fundraising events and telling us when they’ll be popping in with their latest updates. Members do a fantastic job raising awareness and funds for the Foundation – thank you to all our dedicated ambassadors.
  • … and that doesn’t even include all the sales calls!

Our supporters are out there explaining our mission and how we are achieving great progress at our field sites – we help the general public understand what we do and how we do it. Our work focuses on five key areas – please click here or see below for more information – and each day we may focus on any of the five areas to ensure the best possible outcome for the areas with which we are able to help. We work with many different groups, including several primate conservation groups and the Indonesian Government. Communication with all our collaborators and stakeholders is imperative to this kind of work – without cooperation and working as a team, everything is slower and more difficult to achieve.

Training in the Agricultural Centre, managed by Yayorin – our partners

Facilitating funds to be sent to the team in Indonesia is of course one of the most important thing the Foundation does – these are the funds that make all our work possible. We rely on you kind donations, fundraising (via any and all weird and wonderful events), memberships (for those who want to be a part of the Foundation) and grants to fund all our work. We ensure our communications tell the story of exactly how all funds get used…

  • to conserve areas of forest via regular walks&boat rides (‘Patrols’) around the perimeter of protected areas of forest. With this human presence and source of education to local communities, encroachment and illegal activity in these areas decreased and since remained negligible since this system started.
  • to relocate and release orangutans into protected areas.
  • to support the education of local communities, facilitating families to practice sustainable agricultural techniques. We support teaching and training people in occupations that have the benefits of self-management or working in smaller, environmentally aware teams.
  • to raise awareness – clear, international outreach, communicating the need for conservation.
  •  to scientifically study the forest and species in these habitats, contributing to understanding how to help these forests last.
  • Night time scientific research

An example of the stunning biodiversity being protected

Pablo – one individual you helped release into the wild

 

Introducing Keno!

On the first of March a policeman of the Sabhara Sukamara Police , Brigadier Kiki Tobing, was visting the small village of Laman baru on his day off, intending to buy durian (a famous Indonesian fruit). He could of never expected what happened next…

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Small Keno handed in by the local community

Keno handed in to the police

 

As he walked through the village, resident came up to him and, recognising Tobing as a policeman, handed him a baby orangutan. The orangutan had been found in an oil palm plantation close to the village. Tobing named the orangutan infant “Keno”.

Orangutans enter into settlements and villages because much of orangutan forest habitat nearby is being destroyed, in this case due to a palm oil plantation. This kind of industrial encroachment has significantly contributed to an increase in the number of orangutans needing to be rescued and translocated in recent years. In addition, this particular plantation and village are near the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve border, the protected area in which the Orangutan Foundation work and release orangutans into the wild. In Borneo, human habitation and oil palm plantations are often side by side. Different types of land use can be in areas very close together. Here, areas of forest are close to oil palm plantations and often to villages. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for orangutans to find their way into areas of human settlement.

Tobing reported the situation to the police, who decided to bring the baby orangutan to the local police station. It was then decided to inform the discovery of this infant to the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

Keno climbing small trees

Due to this quick reporting and an organised system, the very next day, the Orangutan Foundation staff and BKSDA officers arrived (from Pangkalan Bun) to meet ‘Keno’ and it was decided to translocate him. He was kept in a transit cage at the BKSDA offices, and after a full health check and a few days to acclimatise. He was then moved to Gemini Camp (of the Orangutan Foundation camps), and Keno started his soft release programme. Staff saw that he was well and confident and so allowed him to get back into the trees again, as the staff keep a watchful eye. He had some minor bruising on his foot which has already healed up. He enjoys his diet of fruits from the forest. Now we hope to find a suitable surrogate mother for Keno. The ideal surrogate mother would either have an already independent offspring or no have no offspring at all.
We’ll make sure we keep you up to date with Keno’s development and progress through his soft release!