Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

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.

Images of Max's newborn orangutan, born in the wild

We have just received these delightful images of Max and her newborn infant.  Max and her mother Mantra, were released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2003, aged 16-years old, this is Max's pregnancy.

Max looks to be doing well but her infant seems quite weak. Staff will provide supplementary fruit and will follow Max for a week to monitor her and her infant during these critical early days.

Wild orangutan rescued and moved to safety

When our staff arrived at the oil-palm plantation they found the orangutan in an area of forest, on the riverbank of the plantation. We had been called in to help by BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun (government agency for wildlife) who had received reports from an oil-palm plantation of an orangutan in their plantation. It was decided to capture the orangutan and move her to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, to avoid potential conflict.

The orangutan, who they identified as female, had made and was resting in a nest. This made it easier to dart her as she wasn’t moving.

What our staff hadn’t anticipated was that she might just remain where she was and fall asleep, making it very difficult to then rescue her. This is just what happened!

One of our rescue team staff, Mr Nasibah, also an expert tree climber, shinnied up the tree to the nest. With huge effort he managed to lower the unconscious orangutan out of her nest.  Our staff on the ground, used netting to catch her, as she fell to the ground.

She was quickly transported to an open area where our vet Dr Dimas, examined her. Apart from a small scratch to her chest, she was in full health, weighing 45 kilos and was thought to be around 18 years-old. The scratch was cleaned and injected with long-acting antibiotics to prevent infection.

Two days later the orangutan was released in the Lamandau Widlife Reserve, on the opposite side of the river from Camp JL. We protect this forest reserve with guard posts and regular forest patrols to prevent and deter illegal activities.

 

As soon as the transport cage door was opened she actively climbed into the nearby trees and disappeared into the forest.This, we hope, is her last encounter with humans.

The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest and is home to a population of more than 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are stay safe. Please donate to our urgent appeal – DONATE TODAY

 

Protecting orangutan habitat

We only send out appeals when there is a real need for help – and right now, we urgently need funds to strengthen the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.  In January and February, our forest patrol staff detected and tackled fires, deliberately lit to clear land, next to the reserve. They prevented the fires from spreading and saved thousands of acres of peat swamp forest from going up in smoke. In March, we met with the provincial government to push for those responsible for starting the fires, to be held to account.

The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest. The Foundation's staff put themselves at risk as they battled to protect the forests, home to a population of 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated by the Orangutan Foundation and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are safe. 

It costs a quarter of a million pounds a year to protect the reserve and the wildlife. A significant commitment for a small charity, but a relatively small amount considering the invaluable riches and services the forests contain and provide.

The Orangutan Foundation runs and staffs eight guard posts in and around Lamandau to deter and prevent access to the forests. Our staff, all committed local Indonesian conservationists, patrol on foot or by boat. We use conservation drones and GIS to map and document illegal activities.

The map below shows the guard posts (red triangle on blue).

In 2017, we stopped illegal mining inside the reserve and since the beginning of 2018, our forest patrols have detected and stopped two cases of illegal logging.

Yet, despite years of investment in successful community awareness, there remain a small few who want to exploit the forest for their own interests.  As pressure for land increases our fight to protect standing forest, to stop it being logged or converted to oil palm, will only become more difficult. Protecting Lamandau is an ongoing commitment: we cannot temporarily close a guard post due to insufficient funds, in the hope that we might start up again next year. If we stop protecting the reserve, we know that we will lose it: the forest and its precious wildlife could be gone in an instant.

Bangkal is one of the orangutans at risk. Originally released into the neighbouring Tanjung Puting National Park, Bangkal was severely injured in 2000 when illegal loggers attacked him with boiling-hot oil. Following a long period of recovery, he was released into Lamandau, at Camp Gemini, one of our five release camps in the reserve. Bangkal, now strong, healthy and independent, has since become the dominant male.Aan, an adult female, was shot and permanently blinded in an oil-palm plantation. Foundation staff moved Aan to the Lamandau Reserve, where she now lives with round-the-clock monitoring by our staff and vet.

We also care for ten orphaned infant orangutans at our release camps - plus many dozens of reintroduced and translocated adults that are thriving in the wild under our protection. We owe it to these orangutans to keep their forest home safe.

Please DONATE SECURELY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE, by calling 020 7724 2912, or by sending a cheque payable to ‘Orangutan Foundation’ to Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP. If you are unable to donate immediately but want to make funding pledge, whether through fundraising or a delayed donation, please contact us to discuss options – we will work with you however we can.

Sponsor the protection of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

  • £15 protects 10 acres of forest for one year
  • £37.50 protects 25 acres of forest for one year
  • £75 protects 50 acres of forest for one year
  • £150 protects 100 acres of forest for one year

We must act today to secure the future for orangutans, forests and people.

With sincere thanks,

Ashley Leiman OBE Founder & Director/Trustee

Orangutans need your vote!

Vote for Orangutan Foundation - click here  Following a rigorous selection procedure, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has created a shortlist of projects to fund. We’re delighted to be one of them. It now goes to the public to decide who should receive funding! This is why we are asking for your help.

Voting runs from today, 9 March (00.01 GMT) to Friday 23 March (12.00 GMT) 2018.

If we win we will receive funding for our Project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo.The overall goal is to prevent the loss of protected peat swamp forest, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan, from fire. We know how devastating fires can be. Only last month, our staff had to battle fires around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. They managed to extinguish them preventing thousands of acres from going up in smoke.

The project will focus on Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, two protected areas in Central Kalimantan, which lost 103,000 hectares to fire, in 2015. EOCA funding will be used to create and distribute an awareness campaign ‘Stop kebakaran hutan dan lahan‘ (Stop forest and land fires). It will focus on the negative socio-economic impacts of fires including tourism losses and health costs.

Funding will provide annual specialist fighting fire training during the dry season to Orangutan Foundation and local authority staff. It will buy equipment for use by the Orangutan Foundation forest patrol staff in the National Park and for the villagers that are close to the Reserve, who attend the firefighting training.

Vote for us today! 

Tujuan proyek:  Tujuan keseluruhan proyek ini adalah untuk mencegah kehilangan  kawasan lindung hutan rawa gambut yang merupakan habitat orangutan terancam punah akibat kebakaran. Proyek ini fokus  di dua kawasan lindung di Kalimantan Tengah yang  pada tahun 2015 hilang 103.000 hektar  akibat kebakaran. Tujuan proyek ini  akan mengurangi pembakaran hutandan lahan oleh warga masyarakat dengan melakukan kampanye penyuluhan, pelatihan, dan menyediakan peralatan pemadaman kebarakan untuk instansi terkait, masyarakat lokal, dan staf Orangutan Foundation.

Dana dari EOCA akan digunakan untuk melakukan kampanye penyuluhan ‘Stop Pembakaran Hutan dan Lahan’. Kampanye tersebut akan menyoroti dampak negatif kebakaran terhadap sosial-ekonomi termasuk kerugian wisata, serta biaya kesehatan. Proyek ini akan mengadakan  pelatihan khusus pemadaman api pada musim kemarau dan pembelian peralatan yang dibutuhkan staf lapangan untuk memadamkan api di dua kawasan hutan tersebut, yang merupakan habitat orangutan.

Forest fire spreads to orangutan habitat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

Vet treats orangutans but fires are causing concern

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

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

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

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

Please click here to donate to our work.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

 

 

 

Baby orangutan born

We are delighted to announce the arrival of another baby orangutan born into the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Our staff believe the orangutan was born on 26th January. Mother, Holahonolulu (Hola for short) was seen with her new infant at Camp Gemini's feeding site. We think the father is likely to be Bangkal, the dominant male, as they were seen mating on several occasions.

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

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

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

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

Orangutan Foundation - a future for orangutans, forests & people

Vet's first orangutan rescue

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

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

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

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

Wonder what the next week will have in store?

Thank you for supporting our work.

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

 

Orphaned infant orangutans "at home" in the forest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Orangutan Foundation snapshot - 2017

Here is a snapshot of the Orangutan Foundation’s year in the field, thanks to our dedicated Indonesian staff. Most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support. We truly could not do, what we do, without you. January: Miners evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and mining equipment confiscated.

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

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

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

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

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

DONATE to support our work

Challenging but successful orangutan rescue from beach resort

“As the pictures came through on WhatsApp and I saw an image of a beach I wondered what our rescue team had been up to!” - Ashley Leiman (Orangutan Foundation director.) A lone adult orangutan had been reported close to a beach resort where villagers were threatening to capture and harm it.

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

Orangutan Foundation pick up truck

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please donate now to support our work.

 

 

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

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

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

Yoko. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Thank you.

Ashley Leiman OBE, Director

An interview with Jakir - Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

To finish off Orangutan Awareness Week, our final blog post is about Jakir, who oversees the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious inhabitants. He has been in this role for 10 years. Jakir is also a talented photographer and many of his images have been included in our new photobook, The Orangutan's World. Our committed Indonesian staff are the bedrock of all we do. Please donate to support our vital work, keeping forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Jakir, Patrol Manager Orangutan Foundation

Jakir - Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet 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.

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.

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Why Orangutan Foundation needs your support, more than ever.

If you are a member or supporter you will already know that our priority is protecting orangutan habitat. If we keep forests standing we can ensure orangutans stay in the wild (see video below of wild male). In the past few months our committed Indonesian staff, working on the front-line of conservation, have successfully:

  • Detected and prevented illegal activities within two protected areas, home to thousands of Bornean orangutans and many other critically endangered or threatened species.

  • Prevented the spread of fires to the Lamandau Wildllife Reserve, home to an estimated 500 Bornean orangutans.

  • Nurtured tens of thousands of tree saplings and planted in degraded forest areas of Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

  • Trained our staff and community to prepare for and tackle fires

  • Engaged with the Indonesian government and companies to implement best forest management in unprotected orangutan habitat.

We do all this so that wild orangutans, like the one below, stay wild.

We need your help to continue doing this. If you haven’t already, please consider setting up a regular donation click here to support our vital work. Please also help by sharing this blog post.

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From Orangutan Foundation - A future for orangutans, forests and people.

Adult male orangutan shows up at guard post

Some male orangutans start to look very different from females as they reach maturity, from the age of 15 onward. They develop cheek pads and bulk out, some weighing upwards of 120kg, double the average female. In the wild, one cheek-padded male will dominate an area of forest, with other cheek-padded males moving on to an area without another adult male in the vicinity. ©Bain. Adult male orangutans can grow cheek pads, or flanges.

Staff stationed at one of our guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo, have reported the arrival of an adult male in the immediate vicinity of the post. Adult male orangutans generally do not pose an immediate threat as they possess a natural wariness of humans, however, this male clearly showed no fear and so was thought to be one that had been rehabilitated into the area.

©Orangutan Foundation. An adult male has been spotted around one of our guard posts.

Guard post staff got in touch with staff stationed at the nearby Camp Siswoyo, who identified the male as Ofi, a male often seen in the forest surrounding the camp. Camp staff tried to encourage him to go back into the forest, as he was posing a problem to guard post staff who were unable to move about freely whilst he was close by.

©Orangutan Foundation. Staff are unable to move about freely whilst he is around.

The last time camp staff reported seeing Ofi was back in July this year. Ofi shares the surrounding forest with dominant male Bangkal. Ofi is afraid of Bangkal and will make a swift exit anytime they meet, which is normal behaviour for a submissive male. You can read more about Bangkal here.

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

Since the guard post is only 5km away from camp, it is not far for an orangutan to travel, and staff believe he has moved away from camp as he cannot compete with Bangkal. Male orangutans are not territorial and have overlapping ranges, however, they do compete for resources, such as food, and fertile females.

©Orangutan Foundation. Ofi is likely afraid of Bangkal.

Staff will monitor Ofi and if the situation does not improve, he will be tranquillised and moved into a suitable area of forest away from both camp and the guard post.

©Orangutan Foundation. Staff will continue to monitor Ofi.

It costs £200,000 a year to protect the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to Ofi, Bangkal, and hundreds of other orangutans. Please click here to support our work by giving a donation. Thank you.