“All my days in the field are special, but on occasion something really exciting happens – a fight between two male orangutans and we were able to film it.” – Ashley Leiman OBE

No sooner had our speedboat arrived at Camp Buluh when the staff came running and excitedly told us to hurry up. I knew before I reached the end of the jetty by the noise of breaking branches that something was going on in the forest ahead.

It didn’t take me long to see one huge male being pursued by another, both cheek padded. The assistants told me that they were Yoko, who was often seen around Camp Buluh, and Darwin, who hadn’t been seen for a number of years.

Yoko. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Yoko. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The orangutans were face-to-face in open combat. They would grapple one another, no doubt inflicting some injuries. This would last for a number of minutes until one would go further into the forest and there would be a lull in the confrontation.

There were times when both came down to the ground, one aggressively pursuing the other, before going back up into the trees. What was interesting was that during the conflict they would occasionally stop to rest, so obviously this activity takes a lot of energy.

Long calls and branch cracking perforated the performance. This encounter went on for over two hours before Darwin, realising Yoko had the upper hand, made his way further into the forest and was not followed.  That’s what I love being in the field, it’s never boring, it’s not every day one sees such excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Become a Guardian of Lamandau today and help us protect the home of Yoko, Darwin and over 500 other critically endangered orangutans. Click here to find out more.

Thank you.

Ashley Leiman OBE, Director

Have your donation doubled for free and support Borneo’s wildlife conservationists

From 28th November until 5th December you can DOUBLE your donation through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, at no extra cost to yourself. Click here to donate and double your impact to support our work.

This year our we are raising funds to inspire Borneo’s future conservationists. In this clip Arie, Research Manager of Pondok Ambung, our tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, explains why it is important.

We use camera traps to monitor the wildlife in the forests surrounding Pondok Ambung. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film!

To protect Indonesia’s biodiversity, future conservationists need to be encouraged and supported.

Orangutan Foundation hosted 53 visiting Indonesian silviculture students from Bogor Agricultural University in June.. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Orangutan Foundation hosted 53 visiting Indonesian silviculture students from Bogor Agricultural University in June. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Our research station is a base from where Indonesian students and international scientists can conduct research. Take a virtual tour below:

Please help us to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Image© Helen Delachaux.

Critically endangered Bornean female orangutan with infant © Helen Delachaux.

Thank you for your support. Click here to DOUBLE YOUR DONATION through the BIG GIVE.

Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Image© Orangutan Foundation.

 

22,000 tree saplings planted out to restore forest habitat

Orangutan means person (orang) of the forest (hutan). Quite simply, without trees, there are no wild orangutans.

Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The Orangutan Foundation are not only protecting this vital habitat, but we are also restoring it. Since 2015, we have planted out more than 39,000 seedlings within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. More than half of the seedlings were planted out this year. To celebrate this achievement, we organised a tree planting ceremony at the end of October to coincide with the visit of Ashley Leiman OBE, the Orangutan Foundation’s Director and founder.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, new head of BKSDA, and government officials from Sukamara. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, new head of BKSDA, and government officials from Sukamara. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The event took place at Danau Burung guard post in the Reserve, the site of one of our three tree nurseries. Setting off at 6am, it was a long and bumpy journey by pickup truck, along dirt roads. Once Ashley and our team of staff had arrived they set about constructing a temporary shelter for the guests. This would shield them from the midday sun, out from the coolness of the forest, it is noticeably hotter.

Tree planting ceremony, with speeches. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Tree planting ceremony, with speeches. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Once everyone had arrived, Ashley and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of Central Kalimantan’s Wildlife Department (BKSDA Kalteng) opened the ceremony by planting a tree. Many other guests, including government officials were invited to join in.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE planting a tree. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE planting a tree. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE and Pak Adib reading our latest issue of Red Ape. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE and Pak Adib reading our latest issue of Red Ape. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

It was a long day but extremely worthwhile. Our staff were very proud to show off their excellent work and the ceremony received press coverage throughout the province of Central Kalimantan, which helps enormously to raise awareness about the importance of forests.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE together with BKSDA and Orangutan Foundation guard post staff. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE together with BKSDA and Orangutan Foundation guard post staff. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

 

There are many people who have helped to support our Forest Restoration Programme, in particular we would like to thank Orang-Utans in Not e.V., Chris Redston and our Guardians of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

You can also support this work by purchasing a copy of The Orangutan’s World. Not only does this make a wonderful gift, all the proceeds go towards supporting our Forest Restoration Programme.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE presenting a copy of our book "The Orangutan's World" to Pak Adib. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE presenting a copy of our book “The Orangutan’s World” to Pak Adib. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

An interview with Jakir – Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

To finish off Orangutan Awareness Week, our final blog post is about Jakir, who oversees the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious inhabitants. He has been in this role for 10 years. Jakir is also a talented photographer and many of his images have been included in our new photobook, The Orangutan’s World.

Our committed Indonesian staff are the bedrock of all we do. Please donate to support our vital work, keeping forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Jakir, Patrol Manager Orangutan Foundation

Jakir - Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

Jakir – Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

My role as Patrol Manager is to supervise the 12 staff who occupy our eight guard posts, ensuring that they are well maintained and operated, so that the wildlife reserves are protected from illegal activities, such as logging, mining, hunting and fishing.

It’s a very important role and I most of all I love the interaction with the local community in the field. Sometimes ignorance is the reason for illegal activities, and we tell people what we are doing so they also understand why we are protecting the forest.

Orangutan Foundation patrols detect illegal logging in the Reserve’s area. Credit Orangutan Foundation

But the biggest challenge is facing people who deliberately do illegal activities. We have faced threats and bribes, but some people who were previously involved in illegal forestry now give us information on illegal activities they encounter.

Bornean female orangutan and infant in the Reserve. Orangutan Foundation

It’s very special to see some of the animals that we have saved roaming free in the forest in Lamandau.

Changeable hawk eagle released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Changeable hawk eagle released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

When I first met Ashley, the Director of the Orangutan Foundation, I didn’t understand why she talked so much about protecting the forest and sacrificed so much of her own time for this. But a long time afterwards I saw some villages submerged by flooding and I realised why protecting the forest is so important.

Jakir - Patrol Manager, with Ashley Leiman OBE - Director, Orangutan Foundation

Jakir – Patrol Manager (left), with Ashley Leiman OBE – Director, Orangutan Foundation and other members of our field staff.

My hope is that the forest will always be alive and awake, so that my grandchildren can see and feel the coolness of this forest.

Written by Anna Levin, this interview was featured in our latest member’s newsletter, Red Ape, Autumn 2017.

By donating £16.50 a month you can become a Guardian of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and support the protection of over 150,000 acres of tropical forest habitat. Click here to find out more.

 

Meet Aan the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work, but unfortunately, not all have a second chance in the wild.

Aan

Aan, 2013. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan, 2013. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan is a blind orangutan. She first came to us in 2012, having been found stranded on an oil-palm plantation, after being shot over 100 times with an air gun. The injuries sustained left Aan blind. You can read more about her rescue here.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In 2016, we arranged for an ophthalmic surgeon to visit Aan to see if there was any chance of restoring her sight, with the hope that one day she could return to the wild. Aan underwent surgery but it soon became clear that the damage sustained was too severe and Aan would be permanantly blind.

Aan, blind orangutan. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan, blind orangutan. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan lives in a purpose-built enclosure at Camp Gemini, where our vet clinic is located, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Our staff give her the best quality of life that is possible, but sadly Aan can never return to the forest, where she belongs.

Aan in her permanent enclosure, with enrichment. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan in her permanent enclosure, with enrichment. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan’s story serves as a heartbreaking reminder that the threat to orangutans caused by habitat loss is a very real one. Please support our care of Aan during Orangutan Awareness Week by donating here.

Meet Kotim the orangutan

It is Orangutan Awareness Week and each day we will bring you a story about the orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Thanks to your support we are protecting their forest home the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and keeping them wild and free.

Kotim

Kotim, February 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Kotim, February 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Kotim was rescued in 2014. She was handed over to Orangutan Foundation after being illegally kept as pet. Sadly, we can only assume that her mother was killed.

Kotim, 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Kotim, 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

At three-years-old Kotim was too young to be released back into the wild and so entered into the care of our Soft-Release Programme, at Camp Rasak in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Kotim joined another infant orphan, Torup. They became playmates and together practised their nest-building and climbing skills.

Kotim and Torup in the trees, 2016. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Kotim and Torup in the trees. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

By April 2016, Kotim was deemed to have all the skills needed to survive in the forest and was successfully released. She is still occasionally seen by Orangutan Foundation staff. In December 2016, Kotim was seen with adult female orangutan Acuy and her infant, Ariel.

Acuy and Ariel. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Acuy and Ariel. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Support Kotim during Orangutan Awareness Week. Please donate to help us protect her tropical forest home. Keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Please donate here.

Here’s a video of Kotim whilst under our care in our Soft-Release Programme:

Meet Paula the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work.

Paula

Paula with an infant in 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula with an infant, 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula with infant Paul, 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula with infant Paul, 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula is an adult female orangutan who clearly has strong “motherly instincts”. Not only has she given birth to her own offspring, but she has also adopted Rawit. She was released into the Reserve in 2003. She delighted us last year when staff sent images of Paula with a newborn, Paul on the 25th December 2016.

The photos show a third orangutan. This is Rawit, a juvenile orangutan, who Paula took under her wing (read more here).

Paula with infant Paul and Rawit, 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula with infant Paul and Rawit, 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Paula is very occasionally seen at the feeding station. This is exactly what we want, for the most part of the year, the forests provide all she and her offspring need.

Support Paula during Orangutan Awareness Week! Please make a donation here to help us protect her forest home.

Meet Bangkal the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work.

Bangkal

Bangkal, dominant male of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Bangkal, dominant male of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In the late 1980’s Bangkal was an orphaned infant, being kept as a pet. He was rescued, rehabilitated over many years, and then released into Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo.

Bangkal in 2000. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Bangkal in 2000. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In 2000, when illegal logging was rife in Indonesia’s National Parks, Bangkal became the victim of a horrifying incident. Illegal loggers threw hot oil over him resulting in a burn down his face and neck.

During his recovery, Bangkal protected himself from annoying insects, by using a blanket to cover his injured face. Once recovered, Bangkal was released again but this time into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Now aged around 28 years-old, cheek-padded Bangkal is magnificent. He is the dominant male around Camp Gemini and is thought to have fathered many offspring.

Bangkal, during a visit to the feeding station by Camp Gemini. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Bangkal, during a visit to the feeding station by Camp Gemini. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Support Bangkal during Orangutan Awareness Week! Please donate here to help us protect Bangkal in his forest home.

Meet Holahonolulu the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work.

Holahonolulu

Holahonolulu in 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Holahonolulu in 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Holahonolulu is a wild born adult female orangutan. Her mother, Huber, was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in around 2000 and Holahonolulu was born in 2004. Huber unfortunately passed away in 2012.

Holahonolulu in 2016, with a wild male. Image© Sophie Hanson.

Holahonolulu in 2016, with a wild male. Image© Sophie Hanson.

Holahonolulu is often seen by Orangutan Foundation staff at the feeding station, close to Camp Gemini. She been observed with Bangkal, a dominant male, mating on several occasions.  Orangutans have a gestation period of about 9 months, it is slightly shorter than humans. Watch this space for the announcement of a new arrival in a few months’ time!

Bangkal, dominant male in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Bangkal, dominant male in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

We are delighted when released orangutans go on to produce future generations. The orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve are now a healthy, viable and growing population.

Support Holahonolulu during Orangutan Awareness Week here! Please donate to help us protect her tropical forest home.

Freedom in the wild

If you want something done, ask a busy person. This expression is especially true for Orangutan Foundation Director, Ashley Leiman OBE, who has just returned from a field visit to our programmes in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. One of the highlights was a tree planting ceremony to celebrate the planting out of over 22,000 seedlings in degraded forest habitat in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

The most memorable day though involved the return to the wild of seven different species. Captured from the wild and kept as pets, these animals had been confiscated by the Wildlife Department of Central Kalimantan (BKSDA Kalteng). The day was also a chance for Ashley to meet Bapak Adib Gunawan, the new Head of Wildlife for Central Kalimantan, who was overseeing the releases.

Staff from two of the guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve with Ashley Leiman OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of BKSDA Kalteng. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Staff from two of the guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve with Ashley Leiman OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of BKSDA Kalteng. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The animals due for release included two changeable hawk eagles, a hornbill, a pangolin, a slow loris, two reticulated pythons, a sun bear and a young orangutan.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, about to release a Changeable Hawk Eagle

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, about to release a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The orangutan, a handsome young male of around one-and-a-half years old, had been kept as a pet in a nearby town. He was named Adib, after the new Head of Wildlife, and has joined our Soft-Release Programme at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where he’ll learn the skills to survive in the forests.

Adib the orangutan, named after the new Head of Wildlife

Adib the orangutan, named after the new Head of Wildlife. Image© Ian Wood.

Adib the orangutan, a handsome male of around 2 years old.

Adib the orangutan, a handsome male of around 1 and a half years old. Image© Ian Wood.

Paddington the sun bear helping himself to a light refreshment. Credit Ian Wood

Paddington the sun bear helping himself to a light refreshment. Image ©Ian Wood.

A playful sun bear, named Paddington (also a pet), was taken to Camp Siswoyo, where Orangutan Foundation staff will care for him until he is old enough to live independently. The slow loris, being a nocturnal primate, was released after nightfall.

The hornbill has a nibble pre-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

The hornbill has a nibble pre-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

The changeable hawk eagles and hornbill were released from a guard post in the reserve, and Ashley opened the slide door to the crate of the pythons.

Changeable Hawk Eagle, post release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Changeable Hawk Eagle, post release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Close up of a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Ian Wood.

Close up of a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Ian Wood.

One of the animals released was a large reticulated python. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Two large reticulated pythons were released. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Over 3 meters in length, Ashley questioned why anyone would want to keep the snakes as a pet! We’ll post a separate blog on the pangolin, so watch this space.

Python released into the wild. Image ©Ian Wood.

Python, post-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Ashley pointed out that our work for these animals has only just begun. Through our habitat protection work we must ensure that the forests stay standing, so the wildlife stays in the wild.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, Central Kalimantan. Image© Ian Wood.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, Central Kalimantan. Image© Ian Wood.

Please support our work, donate now.

Thank you.