Events

Orangutan Foundation Poster Competition Winners Announced!

Today is World Wildlife Day and so is perfect timing for us to announce the winning posters of our competition 'The Orangutan's World'!

Our annual competitions never fail to disappoint. Whether it is posters, designing T-shirts, cakes or writing stories, every year we receive hundreds of entries from talented young people, demonstrating their knowledge about wildlife and how much they care.

This year we were delighted to have wildlife artist, Gary Hodges and our patron, wildlife TV presenter, Patrick Aryee as our judges. On Thursday, they trudged through the snow to our HQ, where they had the unenviable task of judging hundreds of wonderful posters. Over to judge, Gary Hodges, for his feedback on the competition...

'On the huge table before us were displayed hundreds of artworks from supporters of the Orangutan Foundation. No ordinary supporters though, they were all drawn from the wild imaginations of children and young teenagers. The TV presenter Patrick Aryee and I certainly had our work cut out.

A couple of hours and lots of head scratching later, we had whittled it down to twenty five best ones. Eventually we picked our absolute favourites and they were all so good we decided to give five rather than three top prizes to these worthy winners. A further bunch of great poster people received highly commended prizes too. What a lovely day!'

The overall winner was Alana Quinn. Both judges felt Alana's poster showed great skill and really stood out. Alana's prizes include a signed Gary Hodges print of 'Majesty' Royal Bengal Tiger, Faber Castell art material and the photobook, The Orangutan's World - a photographic celebration of Bornean wildlife.

Here are the fabulous runner up posters:

Gary is also donating a selection of his postcard books to 20 highly commended posters.

A big thank you to all the children who entered and did their bit for orangutans. Thank you to our judges, Gary and Patrick. Thank you to Gary Hodges, Faber Castell and Usbourne Books for the prizes and to Animals and You magazine for helping to publicise the competition.

Do something for wildlife today!

www.orangutan.org.uk 

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.

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.

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

Image© Orangutan Foundation.

 

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 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.

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 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’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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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

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, a handsome male of around 2 years old.

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

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

One of the animals released was a large reticulated python. 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.

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.

Please support our work, donate now.

Thank you.

Community Outreach in Tanjung Puting National Park

On the 22nd May, Orangutan Foundation field staff teamed up with Orangutan Green Teams and conservation cadets FK31 to run awareness activities with Sekonyer Village, within Tanjung Puting National Park. The primary aim of the activities was to educate and support the villagers activities to help protect the critically endangered orangutan and its threatened forest habitat. Community outreach is a cornerstone of the Orangutan Foundation’s work in Indonesian Borneo.

A variety of activities ensued, which included painting the village library and distributing books, as well as games for the children. The aim was to encourage members of the village to support ecotourism in the area as an alternative to habitat destruction.

As OF Research Manager Arie reports “We need more…to keep these activities running…support the people of Sekonyer Village! We stand together…”

It is vital we reach out to local communities around areas of protected tropical forest habitat in order to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Please donate today to support the Orangutan Foundation’s community work in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

We are delighted to be able to convey the news that two of our soft-release orangutans, Jessica and Ketty, have now been released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Staff are confident both will go on to living fulfilling lives in the wild, free from the threat of habitat loss.

In light of this positive news and #RainforestLive, we are introducing a new initiative in support of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Become a guardian and actively protect:

  • 158,144 acres of tropical peat forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo
  • 500 critically endangered orangutans - a number which continues to increase as more are rescued and released
  • thousands of threatened species including gibbons, sun bears and clouded leopards
  • 5 million tonnes of stored carbon.

A regular gift of £16.50 a month or a one-off donation of £200 for the year (the equivalent of 55p a day) will contribute towards the management of the Reserve.

Visit our webpage for more information on how to become a guardian.

Research and the Rainforest

Research and the Rainforest To mark #RainforestLive2017, we explore the reasons why rainforest research is so critical to our operations in Indonesian Borneo. We share recent research on individual species, and an overview on other more general research which is ongoing.

Research provides the basis for making key decisions on the conservation of rainforests. Since 2005 the Orangutan Foundation has managed a tropical forest research station, situated on the Sekonyer river inside Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. Known as Pondok Ambung, it is used by international researchers, Indonesian students and university groups for wildlife and forest research.

 

Recently the field staff stationed at Pondok Ambung have been carrying out research on tarsiers, a species of primate, and false gharials (T. Schelegelii), a species of crocodile. These two species are found within Tanjung Puting National Park and both are threatened with the risk of extinction in the wild. Little is known about either species. It is important to learn more about their behaviour to learn how best to protect them.

You can learn more about our tarsier research here.

Field staff have been monitoring false gharial activity on the Sekonyer River, in Tanjung Puting National Park. Four have been caught and tagged in areas close by to Pondok Ambung, so that staff can monitor their behaviour long-term.

We also received exciting reports of the presence a very large false gharial in the area judging by the size of its footprint (twice the length of a pen!).

However, staff did not come across the creature during the survey.

Staff also conducted interviews with miners outside the park, who also reported sightings of 7 large false gharials in the surrounding area. More research will be conducted on why these crocodiles are living in areas of human disturbance such as this, but it is likely a result of a higher abundance of food.

Alongside recent research on individual species of wildlife, we also have a number of camera traps placed around Pondok Ambung in order to monitor the biodiversity of the surrounding forest. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film:

All this data provides important insights into the biodiversity which exists within the area we protect. It is vital we learn as much as we can in order to help protect and raise awareness of the important role each species plays in the rainforest ecosystem.

This is why the Orangutan Foundation takes part in events like Rainforest: Live, joining a global movement to spread the word and encourage action to protect the incredible biodiversity that exists within tropical forest habitat.

Follow us today on social media, using the hashtag #RainforestLive!

Rainforest: Live 2017

This year we again take part in Rainforest: Live, a global social media event set up by Borneo Nature Foundation, with more than 50 organisations taking part.

Organisations will share a glimpse of rainforest life on social media to inspire people to take action and help protect these critical habitats.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR: Rare and wonderful wildlife sightings direct from rainforests all around the world! Here's a clip we posted last year to give you a taste of what is to come:

 

You can learn more about the event here.

Rainforests once covered as much as 12% of the earth's landmass. They now only cover 5%, largely a result of human activity. Help us to protect the world's remaining rainforests, estimated to be home to as much as half of all species of flora and fauna found on earth, including the magnificent orangutan.

Join us tomorrow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest and please show your support for rainforest conservation by getting involved – follow the hashtag #RainforestLive and share, like, retweet and comment!

Running for Orangutans - A Fundraiser's Story

"Have you ever considered doing something for charity? Wanted to do something worthwhile without knowing quite what? Well I've had this nagging away at me for sometime now, but what to do and for which charity? Well, one such thought I've had for a while is to visit Borneo, at least once in my life and do some work with Orangutans. Ideally I'd like to visit regularly and do as much as I can, by way of contributing to a better life for this species. Apes (like many other endangered species), our closest relatives deserve so much better than we afford them. Ideally they should be left alone to enjoy their environment, but the world will no longer permit that. We continue to mistreat them and abuse their habitat for our own, short sighted greed! Perhaps my want to visit and help is nothing more than a pipe dream. And surely hellishly expensive too! Oh well. Maybe not.

Anyway, last year I made some big changes to my life; quit smoking after 30 years, got a new job, started eating healthily and decided to get fit . I also met a new special someone. We chatted about anything and everything, as you do. Dreams and ambitions got discussed and Borneo and the Orangutans were mentioned. Anyway, a few days later we meet up and she presents me with a gift. I unwrap it and am enchanted to have been given a t-shirt from the Orangutan Foundation. Enough already, I hear you saying. I check out their website a day or two later and it seems they have premises in London!!! Just around the bloody corner from where I used to work. Who felt silly now?

To cut a long story short I read the website front to back and top to bottom (can you do this with a website? If you can, then I did). I read with interest about the great work and learned about the volunteer programme. Wow! Borneo suddenly seemed very achievable. It would have to wait until next year, possibly the following, but it no longer seemed like a pipe dream after all. Could I do anything in the interim...?

A further conversation raised the topic of running a half marathon. Well I could do that I suppose. I COULD DO THAT!!! Why not? Run a half marathon (a full one still seems too far) and raise some money for the Orangutan Foundation. Yes, I want to be out there and do some work directly. But why on earth should I not do anything from this end in the meantime? So a few days after I stuff myself silly at Christmas I email Sophie at the OF London office and tell her I'm entering the Silverstone Half Marathon in March and would like to raise funds for them. March. That's aeons away. Of course I'll be ready. I can go from no exercise to 13.1 miles in 12 weeks. Oh dear....

Off to the shops and I get my running kit. Wow! I could have just sent a cheque for the value of that little lot. Much easier. And training begins. Week by week everything goes well. By week 7 I'm up to 10k. I can do this!  Then week 8 - disaster! I've been too cocky and overdone it. Shin splints. Nooooo!!! I am unable to run for 3 weeks. I can barely walk. Fast forward and a week to go before the event and I am able do a couple of 4k runs to keep everything moving.

And I arrive at the day. Silverstone. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? A dear friend, Allan calls and tells me I'm an inspiration and he's proud of me. Now sir, that's perfect timing and I'll be eternally grateful for that phone call. There are many in heavyweight fancy dress - are they serious? You better believe they are. Boys and girls in their 70s and 80s are lining up beside me. There's a guy in a dinosaur outfit, barefoot! Well. It's now or never.

So off we go. Mile after mile.... after mile.... after mile. This is going to take forever. I look up. I can see one of the mile markers. How far have I got, 4, 5, 6 miles already? TWO! You're having a laugh mate! TAXI!!! And you guessed it, the guy in the dinosaur outfit had gone passed me (after about 300 yards by memory), I'd also just got overtaken by a guy in his ostrich/jockey garb - a la Bernie Clifton.

Well I got there in the end and managed a decent time. I had great support all the way. Around the track from my mate Dani and my lovely lady too. From other friends who called and text and spurred me on and also from fellow runners and those who came out on the day to cheer on their own loved ones. And there were so many others who supported with their donations. I am so grateful to everyone and can't wait (but I shall) to do the next one.

So first part of project Borneo ticked off my list. How many more stages to this journey there'll be I really don't know, but there will be more and I know I have only just started. The important thing is I have started. One day in the not too distant future I'll be working away in Borneo and I'll think of my day at Silverstone and the t-shirt that Alison gave me as a gift and I shall smile and probably have a little laugh to myself. Doing your bit is as much easier than you think!"

Fundraiser Arif Huseyin ran the Silverstone Half-Marathon, March 12th 2017. He not only made fantastic time but also managed to raise a terrific amount – over £1,000.

These funds will be spent on a new klotok (boat) to enable Orangutan Foundation field staff stationed at two of our guard posts to carry out their daily activities. The two guard posts are based in the south of Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo - Sungai Buluh Besar and Sungai Buluh Kecil. These guard posts act as bases from which the local area can be monitored and protected from any illegal activities.

Have you been inspired to take part in a fundraising activity for the Orangutan Foundation? Click here to find out all the different ways you could get involved and support orangutan conservation.

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

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

The Belantikan Forest.

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

Narti was found completely stranded.

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

A Brahminy Kite rescued by the Foundation.

        

A sunbear pictured shortly after release.

 

A slow loris rescued by Foundation staff.

 

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

A nursery worker tending to seedlings.

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

Okto, our adoption star!

 

Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with Orangutan Foundation Patron Patrick Aryee.

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

2016 Volunteers.

The newly completed guard post 25.

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

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

 

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

 

Visitors taking in the exhibits in the Information Centre

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

Aan, found blinded by air rifle pellets.

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

A big thank you from Borneo

Orangutan Foundation staff have sent a thank you message from Borneo to all those who helped to raise awareness and funds during Orangutan Awareness Week. thank-you-oaw-2

In particular, thank you to All Things Wild, who ran a Primate Week and hosted a talk by Cathy Smith from Orangutan Foundation. After the talk Cathy said "it was wonderful to meet people who had been out to visit or volunteer for the Orangutan Foundation in Borneo but it was also great to talk to many new and interested people, who turned out on a cold and wet November evening!".

Rickshaw Travel helping to raise awareness and funds for orangutan Foundation.

Thanks also to Rickshaw Travel for raising awareness all week and organising their own ginger bake off in aid of the Orangutan Foundation. Thanks to Sunnyside Primary School for going orange and to our dedicated member Steph Brown for her chocolate fundraiser.

The deadline has now passed for the Great Orangutan Bake Off #GOBO competition but thanks to those who entered. We will reveal the star bakers once our judges, Patrick Aryee and Ian Cumming have made their decisions!

Finally, save the dates!  29 November to 2 December. Your donations will be doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge and will help us to protect orangutan habitat.

Thank you!

Orangutan Foundation

Buttress Roots and Motorbike Bugs

by Sophie Hanson (Intern with the Orangutan Foundation) I have had the good fortune to have visited several rainforests across the world, but none more memorable than those of Borneo. I was struck by the incredible buttress roots of iconic ‘jungle’ trees, hanging vines and aerial roots! These trees have no boundaries - even in metropolitan cities such as Jakarta you may find them bursting through the concrete in all their glory, leading me to wonder what secrets they may hold up in the canopy. Once among such giants it is suddenly easy to imagine great troops of monkeys swinging their way through to fruiting trees, and whenever I find myself in their midst I can’t help but strain my neck in anticipation of such an event.

Tree Strang Fi StephenB photos 09-04g1Unfortunately, soon after arriving, I realised my curly strawberry-blonde mop of a hairdo appears to many insects as a magnificent flower possessing the most succulent of nectar! I really learned to hold an iron nerve as beetles rumbling like motorbikes skimmed my hairline. By day, the chorus of insects is enough to make any entomophobe flee in terror, with the sounds only occasionally interrupted by the haunting call of birds floating through the trees. As night falls, this chorus changes hands with the great swathes of frogs that inhabit all levels of the rainforest. I remember vividly the sudden bouts of both fear and amazement I experienced whilst walking through this incredible habitat as dusk settled. I was impressed by the military discipline of lines of giant ants passing forest trails, and captivated by giant millipedes scuttling along the forest floor.

During my stay I visited a sanctuary for orangutans, as well as a sanctuary for proboscis monkeys, and found I could have happily watched both species for hours.  Orangutan infants made me giggle with their slow, deliberate movements; their wispy hair giving them the appearance of determined little old men. The dominant male proboscis monkey sitting close-by was less appealing as he honked his swollen nose at females - his massive belly and vibrant appendage on display - while they invited him to mate with hilarious facial expressions. Whilst among the mangroves I saw my first mudskipper fish jumping and gasping in the shallows, and was surprised by their size - nature documentaries had always made them appear much larger!

In short, I was astounded by the richness and variety of biodiversity these rainforests had to offer. Visiting rainforests around the world always leaves me in awe, and I will forever fight to protect them.

What role can technology play in conservation?

We at the Foundation love harnessing new technology to give us a better understanding of the current state of the rainforest habitat we work to protect. Our latest project involves integrating drone technology into our habitat assessments, as well as into our orangutan rescues. Drones are remotely controlled cameras which can be flown over rainforest areas and used to take aerial photos or video of the surrounding landscape. We have now been using drones over the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve for a couple of months, and with impressive results! For example, these images (below) were taken in order to assess the scale of the damage in the reserve caused by the forest fires late last year. camp buluh from drone2

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By viewing aerial footage of the damage, we can best place our efforts to protect remaining forest with the introduction of strategically positioned guard posts and forest restoration projects.

In using these drones during our orangutan rescues, we are also better equipped to assess the surrounding area and determine how the orangutan became displaced. The striking image below gave us a clear and devastating indication of how orangutan habitat had been so greatly fragmented due to the expansion of oil-palm plantations in the area of Sampit (Central Kalimantan).

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We are gaining a great deal of insight from the use of new technology such as this, and we couldn’t be doing so without the backing of our generous supporters. In being able to share these discoveries and insights with you, we feel you are able to better understand our work and the challenges we continue to face.

We love to explore the internet in new ways to gain support and raise awareness of the work we do. Social media is another amazing tool to promote knowledge and effectively ‘spread the word’ about the beauty and wonder of orangutans and their rainforest home, as well as highlighting why we desperately need to protect it. We connect with supporters on Twitter and post announcements on Facebook, whilst using this blog to help individuals to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of what we do in the field.

In light of this acknowledgement, we are excited to announce the launch of the Orangutan Foundation’s Instagram account in honour of Rainforest: Live! Follow our Instagram (orangutan_foundation) to see new images and clips from our Indonesian staff as they experience the true wonders of the Indonesian rainforest!

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'The Orangutan's World' by Eloise Blakey

The Orangutan’s World: A poem by Eloise Blakey Logging, clearing, chopping,

No trees for me.

Fire, burning, smoking,

No place for me.

Palm oil plantations,

No food for me.

Poaching, hunting, killing,

No peace for me.

Sleeping, climbing, swinging,

No home for me.

Habitat disappearing,

No tree, no me.

By Eloise Blakey

e Alex play DSC_3857

The Orangutan’s World: A story by Eloise Blakey

Hi, my name is Uri, and I am a five-year-old female orangutan. I live in the rainforests of Sumatra with my mother. It is an amazing place to live with its exotic flowers and lush green trees. There are lots of fabulous fruit for us to eat, my favourite being the spiky durian which is delicious, but smells so bad! When the fruit is out of season my mum and I have to eat leaves, insects and even the bark from the trees. When we are thirsty we collect rainwater from leaves, and when the weather is too dry we chew leaf sponges. If we need to, we drink from rivers and streams, but we do not like to go in the water.

I spend most of my day with mum looking for food, but sometimes I play with my friends swinging through the trees and playing hide and seek. The boys like play fighting and even bite each other. I try to keep away from them! If I wander too far, my mum calls me because the forest can be a dangerous place. When we are tired we build ourselves a nest in the trees and have a little sleep. I don’t see my father; he went off as soon as I was born, like all the males do, leaving my mum to look after me on her own. I would love to have a brother or sister but mum says it is hard enough keeping me safe.

We are in danger all the time from snakes, crocodiles and other predators, but our biggest threat comes from humans. They come along and chop down the trees we live in. We have to swing like made through the branches to get away from them. One of my friends was caught by them and the last we heard was she was being kept for a pet. That is so unfair, we have our rights and we should be left to live in peace. Another danger is the forest fires which the humans start as a quick way to clear the forest. As soon as we smell smoke mum and I rush away to a safer place. It is not always easy because the fire spreads so quickly. Sometimes my friends get caught up in it and either die from the smoke, or get killed by the humans. They don’t seem to like us, and if we dare go down to their plantations they shoot us.

It is not all bad though, there are some good humans and if they see us in trouble they rescue us and take us to places where we can get better. I hope I don’t have to go to one as I would miss my mum! Please think about us and tell your friends that we are endangered. You are responsible for our future - after all we are almost human!

By Eloise Blakey

'The Orangutans' World' by Morgan Davidson

IMG_8270 The Orangutans' World by Morgan Davidson (Age 8) 

 

“Person of the forest”, dependent on trees,

Carrying their babies ‘til two or three.

Incredible animals, they have such style

From Sumatra and Borneo, their only two Isles.

 

Camouflaged orange, like autumn leaves,

They make new nests daily for sleeping in trees.

With flexible feet that work like hands,

And big toes holding their objects and branch.

 

Using tools to get food, honey, fruit and seeds,

Or termites from mounds, eggs and some leaves.

Making umbrellas from lovely large fronds,

Long arms great for swinging to travel along.

 

Cracking nuts open with powerful jaws,

That carry things gently when swinging some more.

But humans are causing them terrible loss,

Cutting down trees and stealing their young.

 

By cutting down their trees they’re left with no homes,

With no food to survive and nowhere to go.

We’re killing them now by using lots of palm oil,

We need to be careful we don’t kill them all.

 

They don’t make good pets, leave their babies alone,

Stop draining their forests, stop burning their homes!

Surely what we are doing is wrong,

So now we must save them for future children.

 

By Morgan Davidson 

(Age 8)

Morgan was our 1st Place Winner in the 6-9 Year Old Category for our 2016 Children's Writing Competition with National Geographic Kids.

 

I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke

(Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia) i love PKB

Due to the globally dramatic effects of El Niño, Indonesia is having a longer dry season than usual. Some areas are beginning to run dangerously low in water supply. Indonesia faces the very serious threat of rice crop failure. Fire is now a daily threat. With forest fires and open land fires becoming difficult to extinguish in peat land areas like orangutan habitat, they are easily spread to neighbouring areas. This is a problem so frequently faced by the majority of Central Kalimantan, but sadly it has now become a worry for the Foundation’s protected region, the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. If orangutans aren’t safe in protected forest, where can they be?

fire damage aug 2015

To prevent the spread of forest fires, we need the cooperation of local people. For this reason, the Orangutan Foundation, in cooperation with the BKSDA (Agency of Natural Resources Conservation) and Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), have campaigned to raise awareness throughout the local town of Pangkalan Bun this month. Noting that August 9th was the town’s ‘Car Free Day’, Foundation staff toured the town with signage reading ‘Stop Forest Fires’ while orangutan mascots handed out brochures to the local people. Car Free Day is a weekly event in Pangkalan Bun, supporting the reduction of pollution and smoke in the local communities. With Indonesian communities making environmentally conscious steps like these, we are confident that we can harness their support to keep orangutan habitats safe.

car free day car free day 2

Capitalising on the extra foot traffic, and thanks to the hard work of Foundation staff, this campaign attracted a lot of attention, with people of the younger generation proudly taking photographs with our orangutan mascots and campaign posters which read ‘I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke’.

car free day 3

A huge thank you to everyone involved!

RAINFOREST: LIVE! Why It's Important

Rainforest Live 2015 logo
It’s easy to disengage with the reality of a world so distant from our own. As a supporter of a conservation organisation, you can enjoy occasional updates from the field and take pleasure in new photographs of the species you love most. But what do these things tell you about the world these species actually live in? What does a supporter of the Orangutan Foundation truly know about life in the Indonesian rainforest?
 
We at the Foundation feel that it is important to show our supporters what their money goes towards – what environment it helps to sustain – what biodiversity it keeps alive. Rainforest: Live is the perfect opportunity for us to do this. With 24 hours of live updates, photos and videos from the field, you will be transported to the forests of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia through just a few clicks of a mouse.
 
We want to encourage the public to feel as though they are part of a global community, to engage with our planet and appreciate the natural wonders it offers – and we’re not the only ones who recognise the importance of this project! This year’s Rainforest: Live has 17 NGOs participating from all over the world!
 
Gunung Palung Orangutan Project
The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop)
Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme (HUTAN)
CREES Foundation
Selamatkan Yaki
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP)
Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
SwaraOwa
Flora & Fauna International
Harapan
Orangutan Outreach
Orangutan Land Trust
Burung Indonesia
Tropical Ecological Assessment & Monitoring (TEAM) Network
Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS)
Tamandua
 
TODAY you can look out for the hashtag #rainforestlive, or follow the compilation of live feeds from each of these organisations here: https://storify.com/outrop/rainforest-live. If you’re as excited as we are to see what wildlife makes an appearance today, then don’t forget to join the Orangutan Foundation, alongside these other NGOs, in celebrating RAINFOREST: LIVE!
 
Twitter: @OrangutanFndn     Facebook:  /orangutanfndn
rainforestliveforestpic2
JUNE 19TH #rainforestlive