Rescued but Not Free

We think all concerned must have been surprised to find a 12-year-old male sun bear being kept as a pet by Mr Sutiyo, the vice-head of the district resort police. Mr Sutiyo had kept the sun bear for 12 years, feeding him a fattening diet of rice, sugar and honey. Upon the arrival of a translocation team, the bear was anaesthetised by the Foundation vet, Dr Wawan, and put into a large cage so that he could be transported to Pangkalan Bun.

s drh. wawan DSC_8031

Foundation vet, Wawan, preparing an anaesthetic

s drh. wawan checking DSC_8068

The sun bear was anaesthetised and given a full health check

As Mr Sutiyo was leaving Sampit, for Jakarta, he finally made the decision to give his pet up to the authorities, and allow him be returned to the wild. Unfortunately, since the sun bear has been kept as a pet for so many years, and is very overweight due to its poor diet, it will not make a suitable candidate for release. Exotic pets lack the ability to feed, protect or more generally fend for themselves in the wild, and they face an extremely low rate of survival if released without these skills.

Sun bear DSC_7974

Sadly this sun bear is unlikely to ever be released fully into the wild

For this reason, our staff could not free the sun bear into one of the Foundation’s release sites. Instead it was coordinated that the sun bear be taken to Orangutan Foundation International’s (OFI) orangutan care and quarantine facility, where he will get the care he needs, yet sadly with little hope of eventual release.

This is a prime example of the unfair consequences of keeping wild animals as pets, and is sadly not the first case we’ve heard of people in authoritative positions being held accountable. Cases like these only highlight the importance of our educational programmes, through which the Foundation endeavours to teach local communities the implications of holding orangutans captive. We hope that these programmes continue to be met with great success.

Help us to continue this much-needed work by donating toward our educational programmes in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.


First images of newborn orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

Dr Wawan, our vet, has taken some fantastic photos of two female orangutans with their newborn babies, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, an orangutan release site, in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

Dr Wawan writes “Female orangutan Amoy was moved from the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility, run by Orangutan Foundation International, to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve ten years ago, in July 2003.  Her infant was sleeping on her neck when we visited Camp Gemini Release Site at the beginning of June. Field staff told us its just two weeks old and is female (is called Alex just in case!). The baby could barely lift its head it was so young. Orangutan Foundation field staff keep an individual book for every orangutan in Lamandau so we could find easily its history, when the first time they were released  and any offspring etc.
Bornean orangutan, Amoy, with her new infant, named Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female Bornean orangutan, Amoy, with her newborn infant Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Amoy, with newborn Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

The other orangutan is Luxi, she was hanging on to a tree and looking for food with her infant, Luna, attached on her waist. It’s maybe 3 or 4 weeks old, older that Amoy’s baby. Luxi was moved from OCCQ facility to the wildlife reserve in April 2005 and she was also released at Camp Gemini.

Sadly, last year, her first baby disappeared and nobody knew where or why. Now she looks healthy with an new infant and we all hope this baby will survive. We must keep monitoring her, making sure she get the best feeding in order to produce good nutrition for the baby.

On that day we were all fascinated and excited to witness that two orangutans have babies. It is a real evidence that prove it is possible to have a better life by living in the wild.”

Female Bornean orangutan, Luxi, with baby. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Luxi and her infant. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Luxi, and her infant. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos Dr Wawan!

Please help us to keep these orangutans and their habitat safe. You can support our work by making a donation here or simply text APES05 £X to 70070 (where X is the amount you would like to donate, e.g. text APES05 £20 to 70070 to donate £20).

Thank you for your support,

Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Workshop

Tomorrow sees the start of a 3 day workshop on orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction at the Bogor Agricultural University, on the island of Java, Indonesia. The workshop will be attended by all stakeholders related to orangutan conservation issues but with a particular focus on those involved with rehabilitation and reintroduction. This includes, government agencies, private sector, academics, N.G.O.’s and individuals.

Pak Hudi, (our Programme Coordinator), Pak Tigor (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager), Dr Fiqri (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) and Pak Uduk (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Camp Coordinator) left Kalimantan today to attend on behalf of the Orangutan Foundation. They will share the Foundation’s experience of successfully reintroducing and translocating orangutans into the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. We are also sponsoring the participation of Pak Eko Novi (Head of section II of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan) whom we work closely with in the Lamandau reserve.

Hudi will bring news on how the workshop went. We’d like to thank Lisa B for her donation of $50 and Matthew K for your monthly donation of $35 – thank you for your continued support!

Keep sending us your comments and questions,

Cathy -Orangutan Foundation UK office

Orangutan translocated to forest reserve

Finally, last week Memes (the young female orangutan rescued from the oil palm plantation a few weeks ago) was successfully translocated to Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

Dr Fiqri, the vet of the Orangutan Foundation’s Reintroduction Programme gave the all clear – Memes was healthy and free from worms. Pak Eko Novi, from the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources of Central Kalimantan, gave permission for the translocation.

Orangutan, Memes, being moved from OCCQ 

Female orangutan, Memes, leaving the OCCQ and heading to the forests. 

Memes was transported from the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility (OCCQ) by the Orangutan Foundation International’s (photo above) translocation team. The Orangutan Foundation Reintroduction Programme staff, accompanied by Pak Eko Novi, then took over the final stages of the translocation process.

Orangutan, Memes, heading to the Lamandau reserve

Pak Eko Novi accompanying Memes in the speed boat up to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  

After a journey of 2 hours Memes arrived at Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau reserve. 

Orangutan arriving at Camp Gemini, Lamandau reserve 

The whole translocation process was filmed by Trans 7 (the Indonesian television company) and was observed by staff from Tanjung Puting National Park. 

 TV crew filming translocation process

Trans 7 filming the translocation to raise awareness in Indonesia.

Dr Fiqri did a final check on Memes to make sure everything was well and safe for her. Memes seemed impatient to get back to her life in the forest (see photo below)!

Dr Fiqri observing Memes

Female Bornean orangutan, Memes, ready to get back in the trees! 

Immediately after the cage was opened by Pak Eko Novi, Memes climbed up the nearest tree and didn’t look back, as she moved on into the other trees.

Orangutan climbing tree in Lamandau 

Memes headed straight for the nearest tree. 

Orangutan, Memes, in the forest.

Dr Fiqri watched and smiled as Memes disappeared into the forest. He’s confident she will be very fast to adapt to her new home in the Lamandau reserve.

Smiling for the release of Orangutan Memes

Two Camp Gemini staff followed Memes into the forest until she made a nest and went to sleep. The staff spent the night in the forest, sleeping in hammocks. Memes woke up early the next morning and moved off very quickly through the trees, eventually losing her two followers.

Memes is now living free in the Lamandau reserve but our work doesn’t end here, we must continue to protect these forests and the precious wildlife within.

Please support our work,

Hudi Dewe  (Orangutan Foundation Porgramme Co-ordinator) 

Hope for another Bornean Orangutan.

The translocation of the young female orangutan (we rescued her last week from an oil palm plantation) to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve is planned for this week. The young orangutan was named “Memes” by Tigor, Orangutan Reintroduction Manager.  Dr Fiqri, our vet, has said Memes is healthy and clear from worms and can leave the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine facility for the Lamandau reserve.

Hopefully we’ll have more news from Hudi on his return from the stakeholder meetings in the Belantikan Hulu region. 

Thanks for your recent comments Theresa, Amy and Wanda (very sorry to hear about your dog Wanda but glad we could bring you some good news).

Thanks for all your support,

Cathy – Orangutan Foundation

 Please support our ‘Protect Me and My Tree Appeal’

orangutan in tree

Male Bornean Orangutan Rescued

Orangutan Awareness and Orangutan Freedom

On Wednesday 11 November 2009, the rescue team from Section II Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan and Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ-OFI) rescued one big male orangutan from Tanjung Putri, a local village. The orangutan was 183 cms tall, weighed approx 80 kg and was about 20 years old.  Mr. Eko Novi (The head of section II of the  Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan) gave him the name “Jejawi”.

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

Jejawi being transferred to the speedboat

Translocation Bornean male orangutan

Orangutan is transferred by speedboat.

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

 translocation male Bornean orangutan

Mr. Eko Novi coordinated with Tigor, the Reintroduction Manager of Orangutan Foundation, for the translocation process. After medical observation by Dr Popo (OCCQ-OFI Vet) and Dr Fiqri (Lamandau Vet of Orangutan Foundation), on Friday 13th , Jejawi (the orangutan) was successfully translocated to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, the same place where Bruno, the sun bear, was released.

Translocation of male Bornean orangutan

Mr. Eko Novi said this is a good moment to participate in Pekan Peduli Orangutan (Orangutan Awareness Week) with real action to help the orangutan to get a new life in safe habitat.  

Translocation male Bornean orangutan

When the door of the transporter cage was opened, Jejawi immediately move out from the cage, he looked around for a second and then with fantastic speed, moved and reached the branch, he climbed the trees, and then moved to other trees, climbing until reaching the canopy.  We hope Jejawi is now free for a better and safer life in the Lamandau reserve.

Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

 Translocation male Bornean orangutan

Back in the trees, hard to see – as orangutans should be! 

The Orangutan translocation story was already published in Metro TV (the Indonesian television station) for News Program, and published in Borneo News (Central Kalimantan news paper) to encourage orangutan conservation awareness.

Thank you,

Hudi WD

Programme Coordinator

Please support our ‘Protect Me and My Tree Appeal’ – keep these orangutans in forest where they deserve to be.

Orangutan Rescued From Oil Palm Plantation

Last Sunday the Orangutan Foundation responded to reports of a young female orangutan isolated in a tree in an oil palm plantation.

 Stranded orangutan in tree

The young  female orangutan climbed the fig tree when we arrived in the oil palm plantation area at Pandu senjaya village, Pangkalan Lada.

OF staff clim tree to rescue orangutan

Uduk and Yatno  climbed the tree, but the orangutan moved to the top of the tree. At 17.30 the orangutan made the third nest and prepared to sleep. It started to get dark, so Uduk climbed down from the tree. We decided to stop the rescue and drove back to Pangkalan Bun. A labourer from the oil palm plantation stayed and watched the orangutan during the night.

The next day at 05.00 Dr Fiqri, the Vet of Orangutan Foundation’s Reintroduction Programme arrived and the orangutan was still in the tree. The labourer had started work that made the orangutan scared to come down.

orangutan in tree

The plantation labourer moved to a different area and the orangutan began to climb down. Dr Fiqri tried to catch her but she was very fast and moved to another tree, climbing right to the top.

The second rescue team arrived at 08.00, started to moved in on the second tree where the orangutan was.

Rescue accomplished

At 10.00 the orangutan climbed down and the rescue team succeeded to catch her with a net.

Orangutan rescue succeeded

Dr Fiqri immediately checked the orangutan and he found worms in the orangutan’s faeces but on a whole the orangutan was in good condition.

Orangutan rescue succeeded

The young  female orangutan inside the transportation cage.

Orangutan rescue

We then had to carefully transfer the cage to the truck.

Orangutan rescue

The young female orangutan on the back of the truck with Dr Fiqri always keeping a close eye on the whole translocation process for safe and good handling.

Goodbye oil palm plantation

The young  female orangutan’s view as she leaves the oil palm plantation. She will be freed in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, a safer and healthier habitat, after she has received treatment for the worms in the Orangutan care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility.

Dr Fiqri said approximately 3 or 4 days after treatment the female orangutan is ready to be translocated to the reserve where she will be monitored and protected. Please make a donation today to support our work in the Lamandau reserve – these orangutans deserve a life in the forest and the forests deserve orangutans.

Special thanks  go to; Eko Novi, the head of of Section II Nature Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan; Haryo, who gave the information about the young  female orangutan in the oil palm plantation; Sia and Polis (OCCQ  Staff) for good collaboration rescue ; Tigor (Orangutan Reintroduction Manager), Uduk (Orangutan Reintroduction Camp Coordinator), Fiqri (Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) and Yatno (Orangutan Reintroduction Driver) for the good work and dedication.

Thank you,

Hudi W Dewe

Orangutan Foundation – Programme Co-ordinator

Meet our new vet for the orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Please meet Dr. Fikri, our new vet, for the orangutans in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Dr Fikri and Tigor

Mr Tigor our Orangutan Reintroduction Programme Manager, is on the left (reluctant to stand still and smile!) and Dr Fikri is on the right.

Dr Fikri is a graduate from the prestigious Bogor Agricultural Institute, Indonesia and, as part of his work experience, spent six months at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine in 2004. His last job was vaccinating poultry against bird flu. While he felt it was a necessary task (the bird flu epidemic continues here) he says he could not wait to get back to wildlife work.

Lamandau Vet Clinic

Dr Fikri’s clinic in Lamandau.

Vet Accomodation - Lamandau


With funding from the Gemini Foundation we have established a small clinic and accomodation for him at Camp Gemini (again, generously funded by the Gemini Foundation), which is the most central of our five release camps, and we are in the process of acquiring all the necessary anaesthetics and other veterinary medicines. In the meantime, Fikri is being busy getting to know the orangutans. He has put Zidane on a special weight-gain diet. Zidane’s starting weight is 28kg and we’ll let you know as he improves.

I do have a request for you though. Please could you help us raise $250 – $300 that we need to buy two robust digital cameras? Tigor and Fikri require them for identifying orangutans and taking case photos. They promise to post their pictures on Wildlife Direct!

Here’s a sample of mine from my day out with them yesterday. I have no doubt Tigor and Fikri’s pictures would be better!

Thank you.

Ex-captive orangutan, Gorzitze

Gorzitze, an orangutan in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Ex-captive orangutan, Queen and her infant

Released orangutan, Queen and her infant in Lamandau.

Zidane – Orangutan Back to the Forest

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that Zidane was re-release at Camp Buluh, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, on 19 January. His recovery is down to the excellent care (which included two blood transfusions) he received from the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine facility.

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Zidane – male orangutan re-released into Lamandau

Though Zidane appears happy to be back in the forest, he is being monitored very closely as he is still perilously thin. We obviously want to do all in our power to ensure he spends the rest of his life in the forest and so our new vet, Dr Fikri, has been tasked to develop a special dietary regime for him to ensure he gains weight. We’ll keep you updated on his progress.

Camp Buluh – Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh is one of six orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Since September 2006, 13 ex-captive orangutans have been reintroduced at Camp Buluh and three wild orangutans have been translocated from vulnerable situations outside the reserve.

Omang -Adolecent Male Bornean Orangutan

Omang, one of the ex-captive adolescent male orangutans, seen regularly around Camp Buluh.

After the incident with Zidane (an update to follow soon) an orangutan holding cage has been built at Camp Buluh. This is necessary to allow the care and treatment of orangutans in Lamandau.

Camp Buluh - Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh and the orangutan holding cage.

The future for the orangutans in Lamandau looks encouraging. The Forestry Department’s involvement has increased and the reserve’s protection has been strengthened. The new guard post, called “Bird Lake Post” that was constructed to prevent access to into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve via the Buluh River became operational at the end of December. In 2008, only 3 cases of illegal logging were discovered, all outside of the reserve border. This is down from 2007 when 12 cases were identified in and around the reserve.

Map Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Map showing Camp Buluh and the guard posts in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

We are extremely grateful to the Australian Orangutan Project for their continued support in Lamandau.