The Forest – A Message of Thanks

We have just received a wonderful message from our Research Station Manager, Fembry Arianto. The Orangutan Foundation manages Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, which lies within one of Southeast Asia’s largest protected areas of tropical peat swamp and heath forest, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo.

“The Forest…the place where I can rest, think, learn, observe and create my future…thank you to all my colleagues who always give great support and work together so well. 

Today marks 3 years and 21 days of working for the Orangutan Foundation, I’ve given and received so much from this organisation…thank you for everything, the passion runs deep!”

There is a rich diversity of species around the station including orangutans,           proboscis monkeys, gibbons, kingfishers, tarsiers, false gharial crocodiles, black rayed softshell turtles, clouded leopards, bintorungs and sun bears.


Pondok Ambung is available for use by individuals wishing to conduct research within Tanjung Puting National Park.

For more information please get in touch with our UK office info@orangutan.org.uk.

All photos show the grounds and variety of wildlife which can be found around Pondok Ambung Research Station, taken by Orangutan Foundation staff.

An Adventure in the Bornean Rainforest

Long standing supporter, volunteer and 2016 volunteer coordinator, Joanne Cotton, shares her experience of voluntary work in Borneo gained from taking part in the Orangutan Foundation Volunteer Programme.

2016 Volunteers pose for a photograph, coconuts in hand.

“I had trawled the internet for hours reading up about potential volunteer programmes, many of which offered fun and adventure in far off lands but somehow there was something lacking. As soon as I read the information about the Orangutan Foundation programme, I knew that I had found the right adventure for me. It was really important to me that whatever project I joined, it had genuine heart and soul for a worthwhile cause, a real opportunity to help make a much needed difference. The Orangutan Foundation offered this by the bucket load! This was an opportunity to live and work in the rainforest in Indonesian Borneo with a local team doing building work that ultimately was to facilitate the release of orangutans in the area.

Guard post 25 in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve midway through construction, 2016.

I applied for the programme straight away and was very glad I had done so as places were limited. The Orangutan Foundation arranged for a telephone interview with me, this was just an informal chat but was a great opportunity for them to check that I was suitable for such an experience and also for me to ask all of the many questions I had been thinking about.

2016 volunteers pose for a selfie during an excursion to an orangutan feeding site.

That’s how my adventure started and six months later I found myself at an airport, on the other side of the planet, all by myself. I had never done anything like this before and it felt amazing, I felt so liberated, yet it had only just begun!

 

Volunteers get to grips with basic construction work, 2016.

When I signed up to do this project, this was well outside of my comfort zone but the staff at Orangutan Foundation were extremely helpful and supportive and provided me with lots of useful information so that I could be as prepared as possible for what lay ahead. If you are thinking of joining an Orangutan Foundation programme in the future, I cannot recommend it enough, just do it! It will open your eyes and it is likely that you will never look at our planet and life the same way again.”

The completed guard post, 2016.

Applications for this year’s Volunteer Programme are now OPEN. Email info@orangutan.org.uk to receive an application form. Please join us for an unforgettable experience!

Orangutan, Aan, to remain permanently blind despite expert’s best efforts to restore sight.

Orangutan, Aan, who was blinded after being shot 104 times with an air rifle, underwent surgery a few days ago to remove a cataract, which was probably caused by this trauma. Claudia Hartley, an ophthalmic surgeon, led the British team of experts, including John Lewis, one of the UK’s leading wildlife veterinarians. Post operation, initial signs were promising and the eye looked clear and healthy.

However, it is now thought that the optic nerve must have suffered irreparable damage, when she was shot, which wasn’t detectable before the surgery. The Orangutan Foundation’s vet has been monitoring Aan’s progress and is saddened to report that she isn’t showing signs of any vision.

Aan, will remain permanently blind as the damage to her remaining eye’s optic nerve is irreparable.

Orangutan Foundation is hugely disappointed and we know our members and supporters will be too. The focus is on Aan’s long-term care and welfare as she will never be suitable for release back into the wild. Orangutans can live well into their forties, Aan is thought to be around 14 to 15 years old.

Thank you to every one for their support.

Cautious optimism for blind orangutan Aan

Claudia Hartley, the ophthalmic surgeon, and her team in Borneo have been in touch to say they are cautiously optimistic that the procedure, to remove the cataract from Aan’s eye, has worked. The optic nerve looked fine, which is a great sign.

Aan took a long time to come round from the anaesthetic and her eyes were still closed as it started to get dark. Orangutan Foundation field staff will keep a close eye on Aan overnight and Claudia and her team will return in the morning to assess Aan’s vision.

We are still keeping our fingers crossed that her vision will be good enough for her to be released back into the wild.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to help Aan.  We will keep you updated when we hear more from the field.

Here’s a short video of Aan, before the operation.

 

 

Images of newborn orangutan

We are delighted to share these wonderful images of a newborn orangutan, taken by Azhari, the Orangutan Foundation’s Orangutan Reintroduction Manager. The mother is Paula and she was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo, in 2003. Her new baby, who has been named Paul, was born 25th December.

Newborn infant orangutan, Paul. © Orangutan Foundation

 

Paula, Bornean female orangutan with her newborn, Paul.

Arms and legs! Bornean orangutan female Paula with her two offspring, Pauline and newborn Paul. © Orangutan Foundation

Newborn orangutan, Paul, grasping onto his mother. © Orangutan Foundation

Newborn orangutan sleeping on his mother. © Orangutan Foundation

Donate to help us protect the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, key habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

 

Saltwater crocodile and kite translocated to safety

Here is a blog post by Azhari Purbatrapsila, the Orangutan Foundation’s Reintroduction Manager. But, as you will see, it is not just orangutans that the Orangutan Foundation rescue and release.

On 12 January 2017, I and Jakir (Forest Patrol Manager)  translocated one saltwater crocodile and one black-winged kite to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Translocation was done together with SKW II BKSDA Kalteng (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). The crocodile is about 1 meter in length and is in a healthy condition.

Release of 1m saltwater crocodile into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Borneo. © Orangutan Foundation

Unlike the crocodile, the kite was not in a good condition. It looks like the kite was kept in a small cage so its wings are really weak. Although its wing are full (no missing feathers), some of the feathers are not in good shape. The kite and the crocodile were handed over from the community.

Rescued black-winged kite in holding cage prior to release. © Orangutan Foundation

After confirmation of the translocation, we left the Orangutan Foundation office at 10am and went to the BKSDA office to pick up BKSDA staff and the animals. We drove to the speedboat jetty and went directly by boat to Camp Buluh, within the Reserve.

Firstly, we released the crocodile,  which swam away from us before it dived into the river and wasn’t seen again.

Translocated saltwater crocodile swimming off just before it dived down out of sight. © Orangutan Foundation

After, we released the kite onto a tree which is usually used by soft-release orangutans who are learning to climb.

Placing the black-winged kite into a tree for its release. © Orangutan Foundation

Black-winged kite in tree just after release. © Orangutan Foundation

After several minutes of staying on the branch, the kite tried to fly. Unfortunately, the kite unable to fly properly and it fell into the swamp water next to the camp building.

Black-winged kite fallen into swamp as it was too weak to fly. © Orangutan Foundation

The kite was rescued from the swamp water. © Orangutan Foundation

We decided to put the kite in an empty orangutan enclosure and let the camp staff take care of it until its healthy and strong enough and can fly. Hopefully the kite’s condition will improve quickly so it can be released and be wild again. We will keep you updated.

Thank you,

Azhari

Orangutan Foundation

 

Miners evicted from Wildlife Reserve in Borneo

Protecting the habitat of the critically endangered orangutan is our number one priority but also our biggest ongoing challenge – we have to prevent illegal activity. Last month, illegal gold and zircon miners were evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.  This Wildlife Reserve provides a second chance of survival for orangutans that have been rescued from oil palm plantations or other areas where they are a risk.

Mining equipment being confiscated from illegal mining in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. © Orangutan Foundation

To protect the Reserve, Orangutan Foundation have built eight guard posts from which regular forest and river patrols are launched in collaboration with the Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA). It is a huge undertaking keeping the Reserve (64,000 hectares) free from illegal activity.

Critically endangered Bornean orangutan. Bangkal was released into the reserve. It is vital we protect his habitat. © Orangutan Foundation

Illegal mining was first detected months ago, by the Orangutan Foundation’s forest patrol teams. Frustratingly, we do not have the authority to evict or stop the miners but can only inform them that they are acting illegally and gather evidence to report to BKSDA.  To evict the miners and their equipment, the Forestry Police and Indonesian military are involved.

Forestry police and military involved in the eviction of illegal miners from Lamandau Wildlife Reserve © Orangutan Foundation

Confiscation of illegal mining equipment. Also, shows the devastating impact of mining on the forest ecosystem. © Orangutan Foundation

Thankfully the miners and their equipment are now gone. We remain vigilant and will try to prevent the miners starting up again.The mining process devastates the forest ecosystem, destroying orangutan habitat.  If the Orangutan Foundation stopped actively protecting the Reserve then its precious wildlife and this globally important ecosystem, with huge stores of carbon, would very likely be destroyed and lost. Please help us to keep the forest protected. Click here to donate.

Thank you.

Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Foundation: 2016 in pictures and numbers. A huge thank you for your support.

6,000 wild Bornean orangutans live in the Belantikan region. The largest population outside of a protected area. Orangutan Foundation actively engages key stakeholders to conserve this critical tropical forest ecosystem.
 
The Belantikan Forest.

The Belantikan Forest.


33 wild orangutans rescued. One particularly poignant rescue was Narti, who was found completely stranded, clinging to the burnt remnants of a tree surrounded by oil palms.

Narti was found completely stranded.

Narti was found completely stranded.

 
36 rescues of other wildlife species. All released into the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

A Brahminy Kite rescued by the Foundation.

A Brahminy Kite rescued by the Foundation.

        

A sunbear pictured shortly after release.

A sunbear pictured shortly after release.

 

A slow loris rescued by Foundation staff.

A slow loris rescued by Foundation staff.

 

16,000 Ubar tree seedlings nurtured and planted to restore areas of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve damaged by forest fires in 2015.

A nursery worker tending to seedlings.

A nursery worker tending to seedlings.

 
One new patron. Patrick Aryee and Offspring Films visited our work in Borneo to film for “Monkeys: An Amazing Animal Family”, a three-part series which first aired on Sky 1, on Christmas day. Star of the show, was Okto who was charmed by Patrick’s presenting skills!

Okto, our adoption star!

Okto, our adoption star!

 

Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with Orangutan Foundation Patron Patrick Aryee.

Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with Orangutan Foundation Patron Patrick Aryee.

 

Eight volunteers and one new guard post. In July, the construction of Guard Post 25 began. Now up and running, this guard post is critical for the protection of the new 8,000 hectare extension of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

2016 Volunteers.

2016 Volunteers.


The newly completed guard post 25.

The newly completed Guard Post 25.


Our 25th anniversary year saw the opening of Tanjung Harapan’s Information Centre, in Tanjung Tanjung Puting National Park. Renovated by our 2015 volunteers and designed by the Cube in Residence Programme.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the Information Centre.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the Information Centre.

 

Orangutan Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with the administrative head of Tanjung Puting National Park.

Orangutan Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with the administrative head of Tanjung Puting National Park.

 

Visitors taking in the exhibits in the Information Centre

Visitors taking in the exhibits in the Information Centre

104 air rifle pellets were found in lodged in orangutan Aan, 32 of which in her head left her blind, in 2012. In October 2016, ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness. 
 
Aan, found blinded by air rifle pellets.

Aan, found blinded by air rifle pellets.

What a wonderful start to 2017 to have the chance to restore Aan’s sight. Claudia Hartley will be returning the to field with her team and specialist equipment in February to remove a cataract, currently affecting Aan’s vision in her one remaining eye.
DONATE NOW to help us to raise £2000 to fund this vital operation to give Aan a second chance in the wild.


2016 – the highest number of orangutans rescued

As 2016 comes to an end, we have received news of yet another orangutan rescued from an oil-palm plantation – read our vet’s blogpost below. Please support our vital work protecting orangutans and their globally important habitat – donate here

Yesterday we attended a meeting with BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). Whilst we were there Pak Agung, the head officer, received a call from an oil-palm plantation, in the Sampit area, to rescue an orangutan. The Orangutan Foundation’s rescue team immediately jumped into action to respond to the rescue call.

After a 4 hour journey we arrived at the location and were immediately met by the authorities from the plantation office, who directed us to the orangutan. We found the orangutan in a tree. We used a tranquilliser gun and once anaesthetised, the orangutan was identified as female, around 16 years old and her weight is around 30 Kg.

Wild female Bornean orangutan rescued from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

Wild female Bornean orangutan rescued from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

The condition of her body looks thin, maybe because she lacks food. After examining, I give de-worming drug and vitamins to help restore her health. As the orangutan came round after the anaesthetic, her behaviour became very aggressive and she was quite stressed.

Bornean orangutan being transported from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

Bornean orangutan being transported from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

She will be translocated to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in the next few days, where she will be released back into the wild as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Steven – Orangutan Foundation Vet