Partnerships for Protection

Most people’s idea of orangutan conservation would evoke a picture of a life in the wild, tracking these charismatic apes through the forest, rescuing and releasing them into a sunlit canopy. While this is one element, the reality of our work is a much bigger picture.

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Orangutan conservation must address the complex issues affecting the wider landscape and habitat, and this involves an in-depth understanding of land management and negotiation with government, communities, and private sector stakeholders. It sometimes feels far from the animals in the forest, but it’s fundamental to their future survival.

This week, Orangutan Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) held a workshop on Management of Wildlife in Protected Forest and Production Forest Areas and a Forum on Orangutans and Oil-Palm Plantations.  There were more than 30 participants from parties including the Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

The big issue for the Bornean Orangutan species is that 80% of the population are extremely vulnerable, as they live in forest habitats with no active protection (i.e. not inside a national park or wildlife reserve).

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

These forests, which have been shrinking dramatically over the last few decades, and the animals that live there, are at risk as most of them are in active ‘concessions’ – areas where access to the land has been granted for some form of industrial use. There are many different legal designations, including natural timber concessions, industrial timber plantations and areas of forest still remaining inside oil-palm concessions, as well as forests on community lands. There are also areas of ‘Hutan Lindung’, Protection Forest, a special designation where the forest provides a wider ecosystem service to protect soils and water catchment. Proper management of these forests is crucial to mitigate conflicts between humans and wildlife and to reduce the number of isolated orangutans that end up needing to be rescued.

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At the end of the two days, all of the participants agreed to sign a joint commitment to implementing Best Management Practices focused on the protection of orangutans and wildlife in Production Forests and Protection Forests, as well as in oil-palm plantations. This is a vital step forward in securing the survival of the Bornean orangutan; and for this we are very grateful for the continued support from all our members and donors and in particular, to the Arcus Foundation.  The next step is to ensure these commitments made on paper translate to commitments on the ground.

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Researching fauna and flora in orangutan habitat, Indonesian Borneo

The tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra provide far more than just a home for orangutans, they are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Our tropical forest research station, Pondok Ambung, is situated on the banks of the Sekonyer River in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan , Indonesian Borneo.

Camera trap snaps a wild adult male orangutan.

Camera trap snaps a wild adult male orangutan.

Orangutan Foundation researchers monitor and track the health of this ecosystem and the species found here. Our drive to promote tropical forest ecology and conservation to Indonesian students, winning their hearts and support, is crucial to the future of the orangutan and Indonesia’s forests.

This blog post provides a snapshot of some of the species studied and the activities undertaken at Pondok Ambung this year. As you will see, many take place after dark.

Students from school SMAN 1 Pangkalan Bun on a forest night walk looking for signs of wildlife.

Students from school SMAN 1 Pangkalan Bun on a forest night walk looking for signs of wildlife.

Bornean Tarsier ( Tarsius bancanus boreanus ). A nocturnal primate found at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. March 2019. Researchers also detect their presence by the scent of their urine.

Bornean Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus boreanus). A nocturnal primate found at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. March 2019. Researchers also detect their presence by the scent of their urine.

Orangutan Foundation researchers fitting camera traps, which require constant maintenance in the humid conditions and with the odd interference from wildlife too!

Orangutan Foundation researchers fitting camera traps, which require constant maintenance in the humid conditions and with the odd interference from wildlife too!

Introducing high school students to camera traps.

Introducing high school students to camera traps.

Pig-tailed macaque ( Macaca nemestrina ) known locally as monyet beruk

Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) known locally as monyet beruk

False gharial crocodile ( Tomistoma  schlegelii) can reach more than 5m in length.

False gharial crocodile (Tomistoma schlegelii) can reach more than 5m in length.

Two excited crocodile researchers! Orangutan Foundation support their studies with a research grant.

Two excited crocodile researchers! Orangutan Foundation support their studies with a research grant.

Individual crocodiles are tagged and monitored.

Individual crocodiles are tagged and monitored.

Local high school students using traditional and new ways to identify species.

Local high school students using traditional and new ways to identify species.

Phenology studies. In March, observations along a transect found 25 species of tree flowering and fruiting, many orangutan food trees such as papung and ubar.

Phenology studies. In March, observations along a transect found 25 species of tree flowering and fruiting, many orangutan food trees such as papung and ubar.

Squirrel - feeds on fruit and nuts and can help to spread seeds when accidentally dropping them whilst gathering and carrying.

Squirrel - feeds on fruit and nuts and can help to spread seeds when accidentally dropping them whilst gathering and carrying.

Rescued orangutan soon ready for release back to the wild

When Panglima was first rescued he wouldn’t use the tyre swing or browse in his enclosure - the team looking after him felt sure he would but it would take time for him to adapt to his new surroundings. They were right!

Panglima, a rescued wild Bornean orangutan is very wary of humans.

Panglima, a rescued wild Bornean orangutan is very wary of humans.

These images show Panglima using the swing and he gathers up browse (the branches and leaves he is given) and makes a nest.

Panglima using his tyre swing and browse

Panglima using his tyre swing and browse

He eats plenty of fresh fruit and is active and healthy. He is still wary of humans and moves away when someone approaches the enclosure, but this is behaviour we want him to retain.

Panglima is a wild orangutan and though he is quite young he will be released back into the wild in June. He’ll be followed by our post-release monitoring staff. If he needs it he will have access to supplementary fruit.  Watch this space for an update on his return to the wild.

Though still young Panglima is very wild and he will be better off living in the forest.

Though still young Panglima is very wild and he will be better off living in the forest.

Update on rescued 5-year-old wild orangutan

Yesterday our vet, Dr Dimas, and our reintroduction manager, Mr Azhari, visited Panglima, the five-year-old wild orangutan, who we rescued last week. Panglima is temporarily being kept in isolation at Camp Siswoyo, in Lamandau Wildlife Resserve.

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The staff at Camp Siswoyo provide leaves and branches every day as an enrichment. He doesn’t use the tyre swing but we’re sure he will as he adapts to his new surroundings. Panglima rests on the enclosure floor but as soon as anyone approaches he climbs to the top of the enclosure. He is wild and it is good that he is wary of humans, which is something we want to maintain. He is eating well and this is also a positive sign.

Young orangutan rescued

Yesterday, we rescued a young orangutan, aged approximately 5-years-old. Sadly, the mother was absent, we don’t know what happened to her but most likely she has died, mother orangutans would not readily abandon their offspring.

Tranquillised orangutan, named Panglima

Tranquillised orangutan, named Panglima

The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) team was made up of the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) and Orangutan Foundation. The Wildlife Department had received reports about an orangutan seen in a community orchard. The rescue team drove 45 minutes from the town of Pangkalan Bun to the reported location in the Pangkalan Lima area, South Arut District.

Orangutan nest high up in the tree

Orangutan nest high up in the tree

When the team arrived they saw two nests in one tree, but there was no sign of an orangutan. After a while the team decided to return to Pangkalan Bun. In the afternoon, the team received another report about the orangutan and so they returned. This time they saw a young orangutan very high up in the trees. The team decided to follow the orangutan until it nested in hope they could get a clear shot with the dart gun. Unfortunately they couldn’t and because it was getting dark and unsafe they decided to return very early the next morning, when hopefully the orangutan would still be in his nest.

Preparing the dart gun to tranquillise the young orangutan

Preparing the dart gun to tranquillise the young orangutan

Climbing up the tree to rescue the sedated wild orangutan.

Climbing up the tree to rescue the sedated wild orangutan.

The next morning, in the torrential rain, the rescue team arrived at the nest location at 4.30am. The orangutan was found above a nest, not far from where they had left him. The dart gun was prepared so that the orangutan could be tranquillised. They managed to get a clear shot and the orangutan fell into its nest. One of the rescue team climbed a 10-meter tall tree and managed to carry the orangutan down.

The Orangutan Foundation vet immediately conducted an examination and the orangutan was male, weighing approximately 15kg and was estimated at around 5-years-old. Our vet, Dr. Dimas Yufrizar, took blood samples for laboratory tests and gave injections of multivitamins and antibiotics.

The orangutan has been named Panglima (relating to the rescue location) - giving orangutans names helps the field staff with post-release monitoring and communications.

Tranquillised orangutan being examined by Orangutan Foundation vet

Tranquillised orangutan being examined by Orangutan Foundation vet

Panglima was transported to the Pangkalan Bun BKSDA SKW II office where he is being kept temporarily in a holding cage. Hendra Gunawan, Orangutan Foundation Program Manager said BKSDA have requested that the orangutan be translocated to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, a protected area. Before release, Hendra said Panglima will be isolated until his blood tests return and then habituated for three months. His condition will be monitored by the Orangutan Foundation vet and field staff.

The rescue team are confident that Panglima’s release into the reserve will be successful and that he will go on to live a wild and safe life in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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Top 10 images of orangutans for International Day of Happiness

For #InternationalDayofHappiness we have selected our top 10 images of orangutans that are sure to put a smile on your face. Which is your favourite one,? Flick through the gallery below and let us know.

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Conservation of wild orangutans living outside protected areas

A very successful two day workshop was organised by our partners Yayorin (Indonesian NGO) and Orangutan Foundation to address the conservation issues facing 78% of wild orangutans, who live outside of protected areas. The focus was training in SMART technology to monitor and survey orangutan populations and prevent crimes against orangutans, wildlife and forests.

Certificate awarded for participating in SMART training

Certificate awarded for participating in SMART training

The workshop was well attended and all participating received practical training.

The workshop was well attended and all participating received practical training.

Workshop attendees included Yayorin, Orangutan Foundation, SKW II Balai KSDA Kalimantan Tengah, Tanjung Puting National Park Office, Sukamara-Lamandau Regional Forest Service Office (KPHP) , Seruyan Regional Forestry Service Office (KPHP), Nangamatu Village - Belantikan Raya and Pangkalan Bun Antakusuma University.

Workshop attendees included Yayorin, Orangutan Foundation, SKW II Balai KSDA Kalimantan Tengah, Tanjung Puting National Park Office, Sukamara-Lamandau Regional Forest Service Office (KPHP) , Seruyan Regional Forestry Service Office (KPHP), Nangamatu Village - Belantikan Raya and Pangkalan Bun Antakusuma University.

Thank you to Arcus Great Apes and Gibbon Program for funding this important initiative.

Orangutan Foundation vet's surprise river encounter

Orangutan Foundation’s vet, Dr Dimas Yuzrifar and our Reintroduction Manager, Pak Azhari, visit the post-release orangutan monitoring camps, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve , Indonesian Borneo, on a weekly basis to check up on the orangutans, who live there. Last week, they had an unexpected encounter…

Play time! Okto and Shifa at Camp Buluh January 2019

Play time! Okto and Shifa at Camp Buluh January 2019

Their first stop was Camp Buluh, where orphaned orangutans Okto and Shifa were out playing in the trees. Camp Buluh staff said that they were both healthy and active and because they had been given their multi-vitamin and anti-worming injections the week before, they were left to carry on playing.

Okto having his regular boost of essential minerals and vitamins.

Okto having his regular boost of essential minerals and vitamins.

Second stop, Camp JL - young orphaned orangutans 5 year old Nyunyu (left) and 3.5 year old Mona (right) playing in the trees.

Second stop, Camp JL - young orphaned orangutans 5 year old Nyunyu (left) and 3.5 year old Mona (right) playing in the trees.

The next stop was Camp JL to check on Adib and see how his arm was healing and to see Mona, Nyunyu, Timtom and Boy.

Camp JL- 3.5 year-old female orangutan Timtom, January 2019.

Camp JL- 3.5 year-old female orangutan Timtom, January 2019.

The only access to the release camps is by river and so Dr Dimas and Pak Azhari headed off to their final camp of the day, Camp Gemini . Half way through their journey they came across a longboat with an unexpected passenger!

Female orangutan, Sheila in Camp Gemini’s longboat.

Female orangutan, Sheila in Camp Gemini’s longboat.

Adult female orangutan Sheila and her infant Sony, had untied and taken the longboat, belonging to Camp Gemini, and were using it to cross the river. Sheila was in no hurry to leave the boat but eventually they climbed out onto the river bank and up into a tree. Azhari and Dimas managed to tow the longboat back to Camp Gemini, where the relieved team of Camp Gemini staff were waiting. They’re devising another way to prevent these highly intelligent great apes from taking a boat again!

Indonesian students' message loud and clear on Primate Day

The streets of Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo were filled with concerned students on Sunday 27th January. Young people, from 11 schools, gathered to raise awareness about Indonesia’s threatened primates. This year’s message was ‘Stop hunting primates’. Orangutan Foundation were proud to support and participate on the day, which included a march and talk. We gave out stickers, calendars and seedlings for planting.

11 different schools from Pangkalan Bun joined in

11 different schools from Pangkalan Bun joined in

It was car-free so young and old came by bike…

It was car-free so young and old came by bike…

The day was also “car-free” and so many people came by bike or walked into town to join the event.

Seedling were distributed to encourage care for nature

Seedling were distributed to encourage care for nature

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Stickers were given out

Stickers were given out

and calendars - with a message to stop wildlife being injured or killed.

and calendars - with a message to stop wildlife being injured or killed.

the message was loud and clear - Indonesia’s primate species need protection!

the message was loud and clear - Indonesia’s primate species need protection!

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Talks at the end about preventing conflicts between people and wildlife.

Talks at the end about preventing conflicts between people and wildlife.

It was fabulous to see so many young people involved and caring so passionately about their environment and the wildlife that need protecting and conserving. Please donate today to support our work - a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Caught on camera, but who did it? Orangutan, bear, deer or pig?

Camera traps are a window into the fascinating and private lives of wildlife. Maintaining and keeping the cameras working in the hot humid and damp conditions of a rainforest is an ongoing challenge. Battling the elements is something our researchers are prepared for but they were shocked to find that one of the camera traps had been severely damaged, torn apart and discarded broken, 2 meters away from its original position. Who had done this?

Damaged camera trap

Damaged camera trap

What the culprit hadn’t realised was that the data before the incident was undamaged and so our researchers could look back and see who had been out and about! Their suspects were orangutan, sunbear, deer and wild pigs.

Orangutan

Orangutan

Sun bear

Sun bear

Was it a deer?

Was it a deer?

Wild pig

Wild pig

On closer examination there were bite marks on the camera and it had been pulled off the tree. A sun bear could pull it off but there weren’t any claw marks and these would be evident. We suspect it must have been an orangutan. They are a highly intelligent and curious species and this is why it probably wanted to inspect the unusual device it found in its forest home. This is alone is a reason we need to continue to find out about them and work to conserve them.

News from the orangutan monitoring release camps, Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Orangutan Foundation vet, Dr Dimas, has kept a close eye on the healing of Abid’s broken arm.  Two-year-old orangutan Adib fractured his arm on 16th December after he fell from a tree.

Two-year-old orangutan Adib’s arm is healing well and he now has a strong grasp.

Two-year-old orangutan Adib’s arm is healing well and he now has a strong grasp.

We are delighted to report that Adib can now grasp the wood in his enclosure and he’s started to play and swing around inside. He shows no sign of pain when his hand is held, and he has a strong grip on the camp staff when they pick him up.  Due to his young age his bones will heal quickly and we are sure he’ll make a full recovery and be back in the trees at Camp JL in a week or two.

Okto enjoying the high-water levels at Camp Buluh!

Okto enjoying the high-water levels at Camp Buluh!

There is no forgetting it is the rainy season in Borneo! Okto and Shifa are certainly taking full advantage of the high-water levels at Camp Buluh.

Orangutan Shifa joining in too.

Orangutan Shifa joining in too.

Shifa is progressing very well and the Camp staff are finding it increasingly difficult to return her in the evenings from the forest back to her enclosure. This is a very positive sign and we are hopeful that we will soon release Shifa from soft-release to an independent life into the wild. Watch this space…

Bangkal December 2018.JPG

With plenty of fruit in the forest, not many of the post-release orangutans come for supplementary fruit. However, Bangkal, the dominant male orangutan at post-release monitoring Camp Gemini has been seen in the forest. Read more about Bangkal’s extraordinary survival story by clicking here. 

Donate to support our work in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.

Improving livelihoods of communities living in and close to orangutan habitat

We are working with villages on the border of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Indonesian Borneo) to improve livelihoods and local forest sustainability. In this area, fire is used to cleared land and to hunt wild pig and deer. Forests have been cleared to mine for minerals or to grow oil palm. We see the damage this does to forests, the vanishing habitat of orangutans and other critically endangered species.

Measuring out and survey of agroforestry demonstration plot (oil-palm plantation in the background).

Measuring out and survey of agroforestry demonstration plot (oil-palm plantation in the background).

As demand for land increases it is imperative to adopt sustainable livelihoods that don’t require forests to be cleared. Agroforestry has been practised traditionally in Indonesia for many centuries and it can improve farmer’s livelihoods and improve land, which is already degraded. It is a farming system that combines planting trees with agricultural crops to increase profits, both economically and environmentally.

Discussions with land owners and Sukamara KPHP about planting sengon plants in community-owned gardens

Discussions with land owners and Sukamara KPHP about planting sengon plants in community-owned gardens

The villages we work with have voluntarily offered one hectare (roughly the size of a football pitch) of their land to be used as a demonstration plot and Orangutan Foundation are assisting with the preparation and planting of seedlings and will help to monitor their progress.

Farmers nurturing sengon seedlings for planting out.

Farmers nurturing sengon seedlings for planting out.

Two of the species being grown are rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) used for harvesting latex and sengon or albazia (Falcataria moluccana) which is used for local timber products (firewood, matchsticks, construction materials). They are fast growing species and so can be harvested in a relatively short time and they are adaptable to varying climate conditions.

Transporting compost to plant out seedlings

Transporting compost to plant out seedlings

Planting out of sengon seedlings

Planting out of sengon seedlings

Planting rubber in the demonstraion plot

Planting rubber in the demonstraion plot

Young orangutan Adib falls and breaks his arm.

Young orphaned orangutan Adib fell and broke his arm

Young orphaned orangutan Adib fell and broke his arm

Xray of Adib's broken arm.jpg

Poor little Adib has broken his arm. 

As usual, he was playing in the trees at Camp JL but, whilst swinging from one tree to another, he missed and fell to the ground.

Camp staff suspected he had broken his arm as he wouldn’t use it. 

Our vet decided to x-ray Adib’s arm, which revealed a small fracture on his right ulna.

We are not worried about this impacting Adib’s future in the wild. At his young age, bones regenerate rapidly.

Adib’s arm has been fixed to ensure it heals correctly and he has been given anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and multivitamins and calcium supplements to aid the healing process. 

For the next few weeks Adib will have to stay in a smaller enclosure, which will help him to rest his arm.

Meanwhile, he’s being given some tender loving care and special treats such as banana porridge!

We are sure it will not be long before Adib is back in the trees playing once again with the other orangutans in our soft-release programme, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.

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Orangutans with a second chance of being wild

This blog post brings you news on some of the orangutans who we are caring for or who have been released back into the wild.

Orphaned orangutan Mona November 2018

Orphaned orangutan Mona November 2018

This is little Mona, she's been in our care since March 2017 and she's making excellent progress. She always seems to be photographed with her something in her mouth! One day she'll be fully released back into the wild. We are trying to ensure this "wild", the 158,000-acre Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo, stays protected. 

Okto with Shifa, who.jpg

This sweet photo of Okto and Shifa, shows Shifa when she had been recently rescued, two years ago. She initially had problems with hair loss, possibly as a result of stress but this has now regrown into a beautiful coat of hair! 

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This Ketty, who was released back into the wild in 2017 and above you can just about see infant orangutan Ariel, Ketty's "adopted sibling"! It is incredibly rewarding when we hear about or see again an orangutan who has been given a second chance to be free in the wild.

Ketty was born in the wild to Korin, a reintroduced orangutan to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Korin sadly disappeared in 2013 and our staff found Ketty alone, only a few years old. In 2017, after 4 years of being cared for by us Ketty was released back into the wild. She was soon adopted by adult female orangutan Acuy and her infant Ariel and we often see all 3 together, Ketty playing with Ariel, while Acuy watches on. 

Your donation doubled to keep forests standing & orangutans in the wild

This Giving Tuesday, 27th November, from midday, your donation to Orangutan Foundation will be doubled to keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild. Click here https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/forests4orangutans to have your donation doubled.

The survival of the critically endangered Bornean orangutan depends on having strictly protected forest habitat. With your generous support we are successfully providing this.

Orangutan Foundation guard post Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Orangutan Foundation guard post Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

In 2018 alone, our network of guard posts and forest patrols monitoring Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Willdife Reserve have prevented the loss of thousands of acres of orangutan habitat. 

Our Habitat Protection teams have detected and stopped illegal activities including logging and mining. 

February 2018: illegal logging within protected area buffer zone

February 2018: illegal logging within protected area buffer zone

May 2018: Illegal mining detected and stopped.

May 2018: Illegal mining detected and stopped.

Our staff remain on high alert to tackle and extinguish fires, illegally lit to clear land or to hunt.  It is an ongoing struggle but, with your continued support, one we are committed to winning.

Throughout 2018, fires threatened the wildlife reserve and national park. Orangutan Foundation guard post are equipped with water jet shooter packs, hosing and pumps. and work closely with government organisations to prevent and extinguish fires.

Throughout 2018, fires threatened the wildlife reserve and national park. Orangutan Foundation guard post are equipped with water jet shooter packs, hosing and pumps. and work closely with government organisations to prevent and extinguish fires.

In the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve there is a permit system for sustainable use of non-timber forest products. Our staff check permits and boats to ensure this system works for orangutans, forests and people.

In the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve there is a permit system for sustainable use of non-timber forest products. Our staff check permits and boats to ensure this system works for orangutans, forests and people.

By donating through the Big Give Christmas Challenge your donation will have twice the impact, helping us to keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/forests4orangutans

Hola and her infant Happy, born January 2018.

Hola and her infant Happy, born January 2018.

Learning to be free

Orphaned orangutans Adib (left) and Mona (right) with Orangutan Foundation field assistants.

Orphaned orangutans Adib (left) and Mona (right) with Orangutan Foundation field assistants.

All the young orangutans in our care had previously been kept as pets. This was a local issue and not a commercial part of the international pet trade. People out hunting birds and deer, or perhaps coming across crop-raiding orangutans in the forest, would often shoot the mother and then bring a ‘cute’ baby orangutan back as a pet. We would never hear the whole story, or find out what happened to the mothers.

Many families were reluctant to give them up, but we worked with the local authorities to encourage ‘handovers’ of these pets, so that they could be rehabilitated for release back into the wild. The young orangutans that we care for all have individual characters, and some learn faster than others. Under the care of our vet and field staff, they are all learning the skills they need to return to a life in the wild.

Meet the orangutans living at Camp JL, Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.

Mona (female, 3 years) and Boy (male, 5 years) spend their time trying to make nests and often use them to rest in when they are tired. Nyunyu (female, 5 years) was brought to us around the same time as Mona. She was found tied up in a garden. Despite being kept as a pet for about two years, Nyunyu displays wild behaviour.

Nyunyu was kept as a pet for 2 years but she still has a wild spirit and is the most adventurous of the orangutans at Camp JL.

Nyunyu was kept as a pet for 2 years but she still has a wild spirit and is the most adventurous of the orangutans at Camp JL.

Boy and Nyunyu play together and being so active, it’s difficult to get them back to their enclosure. Other orangutans return to the enclosure when it’s raining, but Nyunyu just wants to stay out and play!

Timtom (female 3.5 years) was just nine months old when she was handed over in January 2016. Adib (male 2.5 years) was found in October 2017 when he was about 1.5 years old. He is the youngest orangutan in our care. Mona plays with Timtom and Adib, encouraging them to climb high into the trees.

Timtom was only 9 months old when she was rescued, now 3.5 years, she likes to play with Adib and Mona.

Timtom was only 9 months old when she was rescued, now 3.5 years, she likes to play with Adib and Mona.

Boy, likes to make nests with Mona and then they share rest in it together!

Boy, likes to make nests with Mona and then they share rest in it together!

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Adopt orphaned orangutan Mona with the Orangutan Foundation for a year.

Adoption pack includes:

  • An adoption certificate with your name on it

  • A soft-toy orangutan

  • An orangutan fact-sheet

  • An Orangutan Foundation sticker

  • Updates on your adopted orangutan with the Orangutan Foundation’s newsletter.

Hope for orangutans and their forest home

The Indonesian government has announced a presidential instruction, which ordered ministers and regional administrations to ban issuing permits for new plantations for the next three years. We welcome this much needed action. Orangutans can survive, if given a second chance.

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Three years ago, in September 2015, we rescued an adult orangutan and her 6-year-old from an oil-palm plantation, which they had entered to escape raging forest fires. Our rescue team managed to capture both orangutans. They named the mother Vania and her offspring Venty. They were released into the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

In 2017, Vania was spotted with a newborn, who we named Volvo. Venty, now aged 8-years-old, was still around too.

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This month, field staff at Camp Buluh, in the wildlife reserve, saw Venty (image below) by herself in a tree. They then saw Vania with her very healthy looking one-year-old Volvo.

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These orangutans live in a protected area, which is guarded and patrolled by Orangutan Foundation. However, 80% of wild orangutans live outside protected areas. This 3-year ban on plantation expansion is the life-line this critically endangered species need.

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Thank you.

Celebrating new life whilst battling to save orangutan habitat

This week, our Monday motivation was this incredible footage of orangutan Max with her infant Monti, sent by our staff who are as excited about this new addition as we are. However, the next day, we heard from our Patrol Manager, Jakir, that fires were once again raging close to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. One moment we are celebrating new life, the next we are battling to save the habitat.

Thankfully the wildlife reserve is 158,000 acres in size and the fires are well away from the orangutan release camps.  Our 8 manned guard posts, around the reserve, means our patrol staff can respond quickly to keep the reserve safe and prevent the fires from spreading.

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Habitat protection is our priority.  Please donate to our appeal to help us keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Rescued and released orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Our vet, Dimas and programme manager, Iman, have been on their weekly visits to the orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. They check on the orphaned young orangutans and ensure the good health of the released orangutans.  Their journey took longer than usual because the river levels are very low, due to lack of rain. Instead of travelling by speedboat it was completed in a shallow longboat (or klotok, as they’re called in Indonesia). Our youngest orangutans are cared for at Camp JL and include Timtom, Nyunyu, Adib, Mona (photo below) and Boy. Dimas gave them their multivitamin injection to keep them healthy but they are all well and active.

In the afternoon they continued by longboat to Gemini Camp. This is where blind orangutan Aan lives. Aan was shot and can never be returned to the wild. Her enclosure recently had new ropes (see below).

They walked from camp through the forest to the feeding site, where supplementary fruit is provided. Dominant male, Bangkal came to feeding along with female and infant orangutans; Ilik and Izzy; Hola and Happy; Ebony and Ekon (photos below); and Passion and Paris.  Max was also seen with her newborn infant, now named Monti and they seemed well.

A few days later they went to Camp Buluh, to check on orphan orangutans Okto and Syifa. Okto had injured one of his fingers a few weeks ago but after receiving treatment the inflammation has reduced and is healing well.

Both Okto and Syifa very active and enjoy playing together. Okto was given a final anti-inflammatory injection and both orangutans received their multivitamins.

Conditions are very dry at present and so our guard post staff are vigilant and on alert for fires. All the guard posts are equipment with fire-fighting gear and our staff are trained enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to extinguish fires.

Please help us to keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild. You can support our work by donating or adopting Okto or Mona.

Orangutan Foundation celebrating International Orangutan Day in Central Kalimantan

International Orangutan Day (19th August) aims to increase global awareness about orangutans and their tropical forest habitat. This weekend, Orangutan Foundation, in Central Kalimantan, orangutan capital of the world, have a festival of activities arranged for hundreds of people. Members of the youth groups, Kalteng Indonesian Conservation Cadre Communication Forum (FK3I) and the Student Nature Lovers, throughout Kowaringin Barat Regency will join in. We’ll be celebrating orangutans and conservation with overnight camping and art activities. Five local kindergartens are taking part in a colouring contest. We’ve also organised a car-free day in the town of Pangkalan Bun to highlight this global day celebrating orangutans. Ensuring awareness is achieved here, means that a real difference can be made.

The overall aim is to increase community awareness about the environment and the presence of wild orangutans in the surrounding forests. Leaflets will be distributed informing people how to avoid human-orangutan conflicts.

This action is needed more now, than ever before.

Watch this space for news and images of how the festivities went.