Forest fire spreads to orangutan habitat

Fires, deliberately lit next to an oil-palm plantation, have spread to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to over 500 critically endangered orangutans. This is the second fire this year. Please donate to help us.

Fire inside the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve 16 February 2018. © Orangutan Foundation

The Orangutan Foundation’s guard post staff spent yesterday evening and all last night fighting the fires. We can’t thank them enough for their bravery and efforts to protect the Wildlife Reserve.  The fire, as the map below shows, was on the other side from our Orangutan Release Camps and so our young orphaned orangutans and Aan, the blind orangutan, are safe. However, other wild orangutans and species will have been harmed by these fires.

Map of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve showing the location of the fire and our guard posts.

We are alarmed that fires have been lit in the first place but are spreading so easily, especially at this time of the year. It is meant to be the wet season but the scrub land, just bordering the reserve, and the forest, inside the reserve, is unusually dry due to lack of rain.  In 2015, an El Nino year, over 11,000 hectares of the reserve burnt.  This cannot happen again.

At around 18.00 hrs yesterday our guard post staff at Post Vigilant Howe detected fires about 3 km outside the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. The fires are thought to have started near to PT Sampurna oil-palm plantation.

Fighting forest fires in Central Kalimantan , Indonesian Borneo February 2018

Our staff from Guard Post Danau Burung and Government Resort staff BKSDA SKW II from Guard Post Sungai Pasir tried to extinguish the fires for 3 hours using water jet pack shooters. At 20.00hrs they realised the fire was growing due to the wind and ready fuel of dried shrubs and grass.  They informed the Head of BKSDA Resort SKW II, Mr. Sugih Trianto and requested extra help.  Our staff from Guard Post Perapat and even our Forest Restoration Manager,  Anto, went to help tackle the fires.

Fires near Pos Vigilant Howe

At around 03.00hrs the fire was eventually extinguished by an exhausted team, made up of Orangutan Foundation and staff of BKSDA SKW II.

Burnt area directly by Guard post, forest in background.

Orangutan Foundation staff with Jet shooters extinguishing fires.

At 10.00 hrs today our team returned to the location of the fire and extinguished any smouldering vegetation. The fires were very close to our Guard Post Vigilant Howe. Using GPS, the total area of the fire was 61 hectares, which is the equivalent to the area of 150 football pitches.

Fire fighting team made up from Orangutan Foundation and BKSDA Resort SKW II staff.

At a time when orangutan numbers are falling dramatically we need to ensure their habitat is safe.  This is the second fire this year alone and we have also detected and stopped 2 cases of illegal logging.   Help us to protect these forests and orangutans. If you can, please consider making a regular donation.  Donate today

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

Vet treats orangutans but fires are causing concern

Our Vet, Dr Dimas, has been treating one of the young orangutans in our Soft Release Programme for a dry scalp.  Dimas, has been applying a moisturising ointment and our staff will continue with this treatment.

Orangutan Foundation Vet applying moisturiser to young orangutan’s head to treat dry scalp. © Orangutan Foundation

All our young orphaned orangutans were also given vitamins and medication to prevent parasitic worm infections.

Orangutan Foundation vet giving an injection of vitamins to young orangutan. © Orangutan Foundation

Female orangutan, Acuy, feeding her 3-year-old, Ariel. February 2018. © Orangutan Foundation

While going from Camp Siswoyo to Camp JL within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Dr Dimas and Azhari (Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) had to use a kelotok boat (flat bottomed) instead of a speedboat because the water level is getting lower.  The dry season seems to have come early this year to Central Kalimantan, with very little rain.

There are worrying reports of more fires, right on the boundary of the Reserve. We’ll keep you updated on this situation.

Please click here to donate to our work.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

 

 

 

Stop habitat loss, stop orangutans being killed

In the last month we have heard disturbing reports about the cruel and brutal killing of two critically endangered Bornean orangutans. Sadly, our staff care for the victims, of these sort of actions, every day. We’re still caring for Aan, shot 104 times and left permanently blind.  Little Bumi, rescued last year, 8 pellets removed, his mother must have been shot and killed.

Bumi, orphaned infant orangutan who had 8 bullts removed from his body. His mother was killed. © Orangutan Foundation

 

We ask ourselves, how could someone harm these gentle, intelligent and peaceful beings?

X-ray showing the bullets in Aan’s head, causing permanent blindness. © Orangutan Foundation

The killing of an orangutan is a visible threat, rightly generating shock and outrage. The invisible threat that forces orangutans into increasing contact with humans, onto oil-palm plantations or village farms, is habitat loss. We use the term invisible because habitat loss does not elicit the same level of response as an orangutan killing.

In the last month our guard post staff have tackled illegally lit fires and prevented them spreading, but still 30 hectares burnt.  This week, they detected the second case this year of illegal logging, right on the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.  This is meant to be strictly protected forest, it has a population of over 500 orangutans. We need to keep it protected and the orangutans safe.

Illegal logging detected by our forest patrols. January 2018 ©Orangutan Foundation

 

Why does the image of a fallen tree not also generate the same outrage? When forests are cleared, orangutans and hundreds of other species are harmed or even killed. Some survive, if they can move to another area of forest. This increases competition for resources and forces them into closer contact with humans. It is because we can’t see the immediate impact on orangutans and so our response is different.

Wild female orangutan, with infant, stranded in an oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

We need your help now, more than ever. Our guard post patrol staff require ongoing support to prevent illegal activities and further loss of orangutan habitat. The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is huge, 158,144 acres of tropical forest (one acre is the approximate size of one football pitch). Our staff do a fabulous job patrolling such a large area but need to be supported.

Please help us to keep these vital forests standing and their precious inhabitants in wild. Please donate today.

If you can, please consider becoming a Guardian of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, from £16.50 a month (the equivalent of 55p a day) you can make a significant difference. Thank you.

We thank the West Kotawaringin Police, KPHP Kotawaringin Barat, and BKSDA Kalteng for their joint patrols. 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby orangutan born

We are delighted to announce the arrival of another baby orangutan born into the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.

Our staff believe the orangutan was born on 26th January. Mother, Holahonolulu (Hola for short) was seen with her new infant at Camp Gemini’s feeding site. We think the father is likely to be Bangkal, the dominant male, as they were seen mating on several occasions.

Bornean female orangutan, Hola, with newborn infant. © Orangutan Foundation

Mother orangutan Hola with newborn infant © Orangutan Foundation

Both Hola and her baby looked healthy. Hola ate a lot of fruit, the extra energy needed for milk production. As yet, our staff could not tell what sex the baby was.

Hola was born in the wild in December 2004 and her mother was Huber. Huber was rehabilitated by OFI and was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in December 1999, but she has since passed away.

Our staff have yet to name Hola’s new baby so we thought we would ask for your help.  Send us your suggestions (leave a comment), it must start with an H and be a unisex name. We will decide on Monday 5th February.

Help us to ensure these orangutans remain in the wild and that their forest home stays protected. Click here to donate today!

Orangutan Foundation – a future for orangutans, forests & people

The future of conservation is in our hands

The survival of the critically endangered orangutan and its forest habitat lies in the hands of Indonesia’s youth. Their opinions, decisions and actions will determine its future existence in the wild. This is why awareness and capacity building is vital to the long-term conservation of this threatened great ape.

Indonesian students on a visit to Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park.

This month the Orangutan Foundation, and other local organisations, delivered a series of lessons to senior school, SMAN 3 Pangkalan Bun (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). Our Research Manager, Arie, talked about the importance of research and our work at Pondok Ambung Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park. The Orangutan Foundation’s Forest Patrols Manager, Jakir, led an inspiring session about photojournalism.

Why is Pondok Ambung Research Station important? 

Every few months our staff move camera traps to a different location within the research study site. Just some of the wildlife documented so far includes clouded leopards, sun bears, muntjac, crested fireback (forest pheasant), mouse deer, tree mouse, frogs and pig tailed macaques.

Female tarsier, nocturnal primate ©Orangutan Foundation

The brilliant coloured Pitta Sp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree mouse Chiropodomys Sp

An infant tarsier

They also monitor tree phenology, recording which species of tree are in flower or fruiting and which consumer species are feeding from them and how often.

Our research station was renovated by last year’s volunteer team and is now much better equipped to hosted  visitors. In January, 65 students visited. The students participated in wildlife observations, learnt field skills, watched and discussed a wildlife trade documentary and planted 500 tree seedlings, at Pondok Ambung’s forest restoration site.

Tree phenology monitoring

Orangutan Foundation Researcher at Pondok Ambung

 

 

 

 

 

 

The success of the event was due to the collaborative efforts of Orangutan Foundation staff and other organisations including; Bagas the Traffic / IUCN Redlist Ambassador for Kalimantan; Fajar from OFI, the FNPF, BTNTP and FK3I. The event was supported by the National Park’s tour operators and guides who provided a free klotok (longboat) as did FNPF.

Student visit to Orangutan Foundation Information Centre

Please donate to support our work – it is needed to secure a future for oranguans, forests and people. DONATE HERE

Vet’s first orangutan rescue

The Orangutan Foundation is delighted to welcome Dimas Yuzrifar as its new vet, replacing Dr Steven, who has now returned to Bali. Being “thrown in at the deep end” is certainly how the first week has been for Dr Dimas!  Last weekend we received reports of a wild orangutan in village forest. This was passed onto the government agency for wildlife, BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun.

Wild orangutan in transport cage being moved to protected habitat. Dr Dimas on the right.           © Orangutan Foundation

The orangutan was found close to oil palm, banana and rubber plantations owned by local residents. The villagers feared the orangutan would damage their crops and so BKSDA decided, in this case, to capture and move (translocate) the orangutan, to avoid any conflict arising. Dr Dimas managed to anesthetize the orangutan. After being caught the orangutan was identified as female with an estimated weight of around 25 kg.  The next day after checking the orangutan was well and active she was released into the safety of the protected Lamandau Willdife Reserve.

Wild Bornean orangutan released into forest © Orangutan Foundation

Watch this clip to see how quickly the orangutan leaves the transport cage and disappears into the forest.

After the busy weekend with the translocation, Dr Dimas also spent time meeting and checking up on the young orangutans in our release camps.  Here’s a clip of young Satria playing in his night-time enclosure.

Wonder what the next week will have in store?

Thank you for supporting our work.

Donate to help us keep the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious orangutans and wildlife protected. Click here to donate – thank you. 

 

Wild cats at Pondok Ambung station, Indonesian Borneo

Below are some images taken from camera traps at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park. In 2017, Orangutan Foundation, awarded three research scholarships to Indonesian students. One of them is Reza Bayu Firmansyah. Reza is conducting research on the density and distribution of wild cat species to complete his Master’s Degree at UGM – Gajah Mada University.

Clouded leopard © Orangutan Foundation

Around the Pondok Ambung Research Station area our staff and Reza think there are 3 individual clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) all from one family. A male, female and juvenile this based on their size and where they where and when they were photographed.

Clouded leopard caught on camera trap. © Orangutan Foundation

Clouded leopard ©Orangutan Foundation

Clouded leopards are a threatened species and it is vital that we learn more about them. Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is located in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo and is run by the Orangutan Foundation in co-operation with Tanjung Puting National Park Authority.

Please donate to support our work.

Thank you.

 

 

 

Orphaned infant orangutans “at home” in the forest.

“When Adib, an orphaned infant orangutan, arrived at the end of October he was afraid of climbing in the trees. Within two months he is much more confident and now seems very at home.” said Azhari Purbatrapsila, manager of the Orangutan Foundation’s Release Programme.  In this blogpost, Azhari shares his observations of some of the characters in soft-release.

Orphaned infant Bornean orangutan Adib. © Orangutan Foundation

The Orangutan Foundation run 5 release camps within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.  Here, infant orphaned orangutans undergo a soft-release process, allowing them time to learn the skills to survive in the wild.

Adib: He can climb high to the tree top. Sometime he plays with orangutans Mona and Timtom but he mainly loves to play alone since the other orangutans are bigger and stronger than him. (Watch Adib’s first climb) 

Infant orphan orangutan Adib “at home” in the forest Dec 2017 © Orangutan Foundation

Infant orphan orangutan Mona eating Ubar fruit © Orangutan Foundation

Mona: Mona is making great progress. Just after she moved out from her sleeping enclosure, Mona climbed a tree and straight away started bending the branches. She made a tiny nest. Not long after the nest had broken with the branches springing back to their original position. She still doesn’t have enough strength to break the branches and make a firm nest. But still, this is a really good improvement from her!

Infant orphan Bornean orangutan Timtom Dec 2017© Orangutan Foundation

Timtom: Like Adib, Timtom likes to play alone but she will play will Mona or Adib. She plays in the lower tree branches, even though she can climb to the top. Being cautious, she never ventures far.

Young orphaned Bornean orangutans Boy and Nyunyu playing together. © Orangutan Foundation

Boy & Nyunyu: Boy and Nyunyu are two of the biggest and strongest of the orphaned orangutans, which explains why they are best buddies. They are very active and spend almost all their time playing together so much so that it is often difficult to get them back in at night! An encouraging sign though.

Please donate to support our work helping these orangutans return to the wild. Thank you to all our members and supporters for their ongoing support.

An Orangutan Foundation snapshot – 2017

Here is a snapshot of the Orangutan Foundation’s year in the field, thanks to our dedicated Indonesian staff. Most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support. We truly could not do, what we do, without you.

January: Miners evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and mining equipment confiscated.

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

February: Attempts to restore sight to blind orangutan Aan sadly fail but her story galvanises support for her cause. We continue to care for Aan to ensure she has the best quality of life possible.

Blind Bornean orangutan Aan © Orangutan Foundation

March: Infant orphans, Mona (top) and Nyunyu (below), are rescued and enter our Soft Release Programme, bringing it to 10 young orangutans being cared for.

Mona, orphaned infant orangutan Mona in soft-release ©Orangutan Foundation

Nyunyu, orphan infant Bornean orangutan looked after by the Orangutan Foundation © Orangutan Foundation

April: Orangutan Foundation, active on Earth Day, involving young Indonesian’s in cleaning up rubbish in their local environment.

Conservation education, Earth Day 2017 © Orangutan Foundation

May: Publication of our new photo book promotes the wonders of the orangutan’s world and raises vital funds for forest restoration.

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

Orangutan Foundation’s new photo book ‘The Orangutan’s World’ not only raises awareness about the orangutan’s habitat but raises vital funds too. © Orangutan Foundation

June: A new orangutan birth in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Venty shows off her new baby, Volvo.

 

Female orangutan, Venty with her newborn Volvo. © Orangutan Foundation

 July: Another birth!  Dedek gives birth to a healthy baby, named Dublin.  Orangutans Jessica and Ketty, are released back to the wild!

Dublin, Dedek’s newborn baby orangutan. © Orangutan Foundation

 

August: Orangutan Foundation staff help tackle fires and stop them spreading to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Fire close to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve August 2017 © Orangutan Foundation

September: Orangutan Foundation Patrols in Tanjung Puting National Park remove and destroy illegal fishing traps, which also pose a threat to other wildlife species.

Illegal fishing in Tanjung Puting National Park September 2017 © Orangutan Foundation

October: Bangkal, an ex-captive rehabilitated orangutan, reminds all who is King of Lamandau!

Dominant male Bornean orangutan , Bangkal. © Orangutan foundation

November: 22,000 tree saplings planted out in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2017

A nursery worker tending to seedlings.. © Orangutan Foundation

December: A wild female orangutan is rescued from a beach resort and translocated to the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Release of a Bornean female orangutan back into the wild ©Orangutan Foundation

And to finish off our year here’s Adib, the latest orphan orangutan to join us in November, making his first climb at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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Challenging but successful orangutan rescue from beach resort

“As the pictures came through on WhatsApp and I saw an image of a beach I wondered what our rescue team had been up to!” – Ashley Leiman (Orangutan Foundation director.)

A lone adult orangutan had been reported close to a beach resort where villagers were threatening to capture and harm it.

Wild orangutan climbing palm tree on beach

After receiving the call for help from the Wildlife Department (BKSDA SKW II), in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, our vet and rescue staff had to drive, for 5 hours, through the night, to the town of Sampit.

Orangutan Foundation pick up truck

Orangutan Foundation pick up truck heading off to Sampit

 

The team made a rescue plan and set off at 3am to where the orangutan was last seen. They found the orangutan’s nest and traces of faeces, but the orangutan was nowhere to be seen.

Wild orangutan nest in edge of forest by beach

The only sign of the orangutan was its nest and faeces.

After 10 hours of searching, the orangutan was finally spotted in a small patch of mangrove forest. No wanting to lose her again, Orangutan Foundation’s vet had a dart gun ready.

Searching for wild orangutan on beach

Wild orangutan in nest

The orangutan was successfully darted, caught and then quickly examined by the vet for injuries.

Once darted and still anaesthetised the orngutan was carried along the beach

Our vet gave her another examination and confirmed she was female, healthy and in a fit condition. He gave her vitamins and worming medicine and blood samples were taken.

Release of wild Bornean orangutan into the wild

She was then transferred into a holding cage, for the long drive back to Pangkalan Bun, to the Wildlife Department’s head office.

Bornean orangutans are critically endangered due to the destruction and fragmentation of tropical forests. As they lose their forest home they are forced into contact with humans, often resulting in injury or death for the great ape.

We have rescued many orangutans, but this is the first time an orangutan has been rescued from a nearby beach. Luckily, for this orangutan, she was taken by boat to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. As soon as the cage door was opened she clambered straight up the nearest tree and disappeared into the forest canopy.

The wildlife reserve, is home to an estimated 500 orangutans, and the Orangutan Foundation actively protects it with guard posts, forest patrols and conservation drones.

Please donate now to support our work.