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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
Habitat protection is our priority. Please donate to our appeal to help us keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP