Oil Palm Plantations

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'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. 

 

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

Q&A with the Programme Manager of the Orangutan Foundation

People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) have been supporting the Orangutan Foundation's work in Indonesian Borneo for a number of years. We would like to share this Q & A with PTES and our Indonesian Programme Manager, Ade Soeharso, as part of the launch of their new appeal to save orangutan habitat. 

Orangutan expert and Programme Manager at the Orangutan Foundation, Dr Ade Soeharso, answers some questions about the lives of orangutans, the dangers they are facing and ways anyone can save them now.

Dr Ade Soeharso

When did you start working at the Orangutan Foundation?

I’ve been a partner of the Orangutan Foundation since 2006. I was still working for the government then. Between 2008-2014 I worked part-time as a technical advisor of the Orangutan Foundation, and since 2015 I’ve worked full-time for the Orangutan Foundation.

What is the ideal habitat for an orangutan?

The ideal orangutan habitat is a mixture of swamp forest, lowland dry forest, and mountain forest. Ideally the habitat would be undisturbed and have an abundance of trees for food and nesting.

What is a protected forest?

In Indonesia, a protected forest is a one where the underlying area is protected from being logged or converted to other uses by land clearing.

What is palm oil? Why is the production of it so destructive?

Palm oil is a vegetable fat produced from oil-palm fruit. Almost all food products and many other common items use palm oil as a raw material. Therefore, palm oil is produced in large quantities because there is a huge market. Unfortunately, production of palm oil requires very large areas and which is achieved by cutting down large numbers of trees, which we call forest conversion and land clearing.

What have you found the hardest thing about working on the project so far?

The conservation of forests and the animals that depend on them is still often seen as less important than economic and development issues. It is challenging to mobilize the support of the parties in forest conservation efforts.

What is causing conflict between wildlife and the human population?

Due to deforestation, the amount of wildlife habitat left is ever decreasing. This means that the potential conflict between humans and orangutans will only increase. Orangutans and many other animals such as crocodiles, bears, and monkeys are forced out of the degraded forest and end up in community settlements and plantations in search of food. Seen as pests, they are often shot. We make sure that where possible, wild animals are translocated back into safe habitat. This is only possible if there is safe habitat left to move them back to.

What do you enjoy most about working with orangutans?

I enjoy it so much when I could see orangutans who have been rescued and then released growing and thriving in well-preserved habitat, successfully raising families of their own.

Pak Ade out with his team

What time do you have to get up in the morning? Are orangutans early risers?

I get up early at 5:30 am. In the forest, orangutans rise between 5:00-5.30 am and leave their nests to set off in search of food.

How do you manage not to get lost in the forest when you’re following apes?

Basically, when following apes we’re never alone. There are always at least two people. As well as helping record data and times, they are locals who are more familiar with the forests so that we don’t get lost.

How many orangutans have you and your colleagues saved recently?

In 2017, so far we have saved 14 orangutans. Some of them have been released already as they are mature and well enough. The others are in the soft release programme. They are taken out into the forest each day to practice feeding and climbing until they have mastered the basic skills and are ready to be released.

Are you optimistic about the future for orangutans?

I am optimistic that orangutans can still be saved as long as we focus on saving their forests that are an integral part of their lives.

Field staff transporting rescued orangutan

What must happen to ensure their survival?

We have to encourage the creation of sustainable oil-palm plantations and stop forest conversion in orangutan habitat and prevent the occurrence of forest fires. We also have to ensure that law enforcement act so that no more orangutans are traded as pets.

What can our supporters do to help?

As well as donating to this project, if you are buying a product that is made using palm oil, look out for ‘sustainable palm oil’ on the label. Currently, the global area already being used for oil palm production is sufficient to meet our needs without any further loss of forest. It is possible for us to use oil-palm produced from sustainable palm oil plantations and it is something we can all to do.

Please help us to help orangutans today so that they are still here tomorrow.

Orangutan Foundation Welcomes New Arrival

In September 2015, Central Kalimantan was hit by major forest fires. Many orangutans needed rescuing from areas of burning forest and community land.

One such orangutan was Vania, a 29 year old female orangutan, named after a student who was doing research on orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve at the time. Vania and her 6 year old offspring (named Venty) were rescued from an oil palm plantation and released by Camp Buluh in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Both are now in good health and are still frequently seen in the area. As shared yesterday, field staff have informed us that Vania gave birth on 25th May to an infant they have named Volvo.

 

Vania has been seen around camp since the birth to show off her new arrival.

Welcome Volvo to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve!

Would you like to play an active part in the protection of Volvo's tropical forest home?

Become a guardian of Lamandau and help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. Click here for more information.

Cautious optimism for blind orangutan Aan

Claudia Hartley, the ophthalmic surgeon, and her team in Borneo have been in touch to say they are cautiously optimistic that the procedure, to remove the cataract from Aan's eye, has worked. The optic nerve looked fine, which is a great sign. Aan took a long time to come round from the anaesthetic and her eyes were still closed as it started to get dark. Orangutan Foundation field staff will keep a close eye on Aan overnight and Claudia and her team will return in the morning to assess Aan’s vision.

We are still keeping our fingers crossed that her vision will be good enough for her to be released back into the wild.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to help Aan.  We will keep you updated when we hear more from the field.

Here's a short video of Aan, before the operation.

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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.

2016 - the highest number of orangutans rescued

As 2016 comes to an end, we have received news of yet another orangutan rescued from an oil-palm plantation - read our vet's blogpost below. Please support our vital work protecting orangutans and their globally important habitat - donate here Yesterday we attended a meeting with BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). Whilst we were there Pak Agung, the head officer, received a call from an oil-palm plantation, in the Sampit area, to rescue an orangutan. The Orangutan Foundation's rescue team immediately jumped into action to respond to the rescue call.

After a 4 hour journey we arrived at the location and were immediately met by the authorities from the plantation office, who directed us to the orangutan. We found the orangutan in a tree. We used a tranquilliser gun and once anaesthetised, the orangutan was identified as female, around 16 years old and her weight is around 30 Kg.

Wild female Bornean orangutan rescued from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

The condition of her body looks thin, maybe because she lacks food. After examining, I give de-worming drug and vitamins to help restore her health. As the orangutan came round after the anaesthetic, her behaviour became very aggressive and she was quite stressed.

Bornean orangutan being transported from oil-palm plantation. © Orangutan Foundation

She will be translocated to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in the next few days, where she will be released back into the wild as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Steven - Orangutan Foundation Vet

(VIDEO) Rawit's Release

Two days ago the reintroduction team of the Orangutan Foundation successfully released another orangutan back into the forest of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where she belongs.

Found tied up in a villager's backyard just 2 weeks ago, this 5 year old female orangutan known as Rawit is now happily living back in the forest. A previously reintroduced female has taken her under her wing. Read about Rawit's story here.

We thank wildlife photographer and Orangutan Foundation supporter Ian Wood for documenting her release. For more information on Ian's work visit his website http://www.agoodplace.co.uk

'Last Tree Standing'

At 5pm on the 4th of February, we received a moving and poignant photograph from the OF-UK rescue teams in Indonesia.

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This orangutan was immediately visible, seen clinging to the top of a tall thin and burnt tree - the only tree in sight in an area overtaken by oil-palm.

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A heart-breaking image like this perfectly sums up the extent of the devastation caused by habitat destruction in Indonesian Borneo. Rainforest habitat is rapidly dwindling, leaving orangutans to search for shelter on community land or in sparse and fragmented areas of forest. Fortunately this 15-year-old female was one of the lucky few: found, rescued and soon to be released.

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The female orangutan, now named Narti, was examined by the OF-UK vet, Dr Wawan, and thought to have eaten palm-shoots as there was no other food around. The shoots from oil-palm plants are not healthy food for orangutans, and are a struggle to digest. Luckily after medication and given time being fed the right foods, Narti will be safely released back into orangutan habitat within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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 Help us to provide stranded orangutans with a new and safe home: http://www.orangutan.org.uk/how-to-help

Share the hashtag #LastTreeStanding to help us build awareness for habitat destruction in Indonesia!

Friday the 13th brings good luck for our rescue teams!

Friday 13th is a day infamously associated with bad luck, but fortunately in our case, the day brought us good fortune! After two earlier rescue attempts, the Foundation staff were finally able to safely and successfully release another orangutan left stranded by habitat destruction into a protected release camp. oil palm plantation with arrow

Orangutan Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA rescue team, responded to a report that an orangutan was destroying the oil-palm trees on a farmer’s plantation near Pangkalan Bun.

staff raja rescue

 

Foundation staff quickly established that this plantation was within an area of now fragmented secondary peat swamp forest, the remnants of what would have been an orangutan’s preferred habitat. Such sites are proof that suitable orangutan habitats continue to shrink.

 

siswoyo rescue palm oil

raja nest

raja anaesthetised

 

Yet although Foundation staff were able to assess the site, it wasn't until the third time our rescue teams were contacted on Friday 13th that they were able to track down the orangutan.

 

 

 

Once they had found him, our rescue team then had to work particularly hard to manoeuvre the moist peat and scrubland habitat, as well as to anaesthetise the orangutan. With a large, strong and cheek- padded male, this was no easy feat!

 

 

A full physical health examination showed that the wild orangutan was healthy and aged +- 25 years, making him a perfect candidate for immediate release into one of the Foundation's release camp sites, all within 48 hours of capture.

raja vet

raja cage

Once the anaesthetic had worn off, our team, alongside staff from Camp Siswoyo, opened the adult male’s cage doors and watched as he quickly assessed his new environment before disappearing into the tall tree-tops. The Foundation is excited to welcome a mature and healthy male into a protected reserve, and has decided to name him Raja! Good luck Raja!

raja release

raja trees

Palm oil - what does it mean on the ground? Best next stepping stones...

Recently the Ashley Leiman (Director and Trustee, Orangutan Foundation) presented a well received talk, entitled "Palm Oil Development and Biodiversity Conservation". Here is the message in brief, addressing the ever popular and confusing topic of Palm Oil within modern day orangutan and habitat conservation...

Some facts and figures...

  • Indonesia is now the world’s largest producer of palm oil, and together with Malaysia, they produce over 80% of the world’s palm oil.
  • This has brought major economic benefits to both countries. For example, according to CIFOR, in 2008, production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) in Indonesia generated revenues of $ 12.4 billion dollars from foreign exchange exports and $ 1 billion dollars from export taxes;
  • whilst employment generated directly by the palm oil industry in Indonesia in 2013 was estimated to be 3.2 million people.

Despite these major economic benefits, NGO’s have questioned the environmental and health costs involved. Of the 8 million hectares that are currently under oil palm in Indonesia, CIFOR estimated that at least half has been developed directly by deforestation.

The Indonesian Government hopes to expand the area under oil palm by an additional 4 million hectares so that the current production of CPO can be doubled to 40 million tons annually by 2020. This raises the questions: where will the additional 4 million hectares come from ?

Addressing the biodiversity of primary forests... Compared to oil palm plantations, how much biodiversity exists in primary forests? What options are available as a source of land to develop new areas for oil palm?

Koh & Wilcove (2008) showed that the number of species of birds and butterflies that were recorded in four locations... This shows that if primary forest is converted to oil palm, there is a 77% loss in forest birds, and an 83% loss in forest butterflies. It also shows that the 30-year old selectively-logged forest had largely recovered, to the extent that it contained 84% of the forest birds found in the primary forest.

So, secondary forests DO have the potential to recover all of the original biodiversity of their former primary condition... A review of studies covering a wider range of species by Fitzherbert and Danielsen have supported these results. They found an average of just 15 - 23% of forest species in oil palm.

From the biodiversity perspective, we can conclude that if new oil palm developments were to involve clear-felling existing primary or secondary forests to convert the land ready for planting with oil palm, this would result in devastation for the existing biodiversity, with an 80-85% loss of forest species.

What options are available? Where could there be a source of land to develop new oil palm plantations that do not destroy existing forest?

There is mounting evidence to show that there is already sufficient degraded ‘low-carbon’ lands that are suitable for oil palm, instead of converting existing forests. The World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently launched an initiative to map degraded lands in Indonesia. So far, WRI has identified more than 14 million hectares of such degraded lands in Kalimantan that may be suitable for oil palm production. Not all of this would eventually become productive, however, as some local communities may have alternative proposals.

In theory an area of State Forest Land that is released by the Ministry of Forestry for conversion to oil palm should not normally contain any forest, but the situation in practice is clearly different.

Many plantation companies report that they do have significant areas of forests within the boundaries of their concession. Taken together, these small islands of high biodiversity value provide an important compliment to the State’s total conservation land.

Speaking to people living and working in these areas...

There is a growing conflict developing between orangutans and humans in and around oil palm. This is especially so in Kalimantan. Orangutans that have had their forest home destroyed are often found in remnant forest patches nearby, from where they enter cultivated areas and are labelled as pests. There have been some well-documented cases recently of workers from plantations companies or local communities killing orangutans.

Rescue orangutans from plantations and surrounding forest patches, although fantastic to remove individuals from degraded areas, also raises some problems. Primarily, for example, that given the massive scale of conversion of natural forests in Kalimantan to oil palm or other land-use development, there are not enough suitable forests that can take such an exodus of captured orangutans.

There are solutions...

  1.  We need to change the perception of public and private sector stakeholders that orangutans they encounter outside conservation forests should be captured and sent to rehabilitation centres or relocated elsewhere;
  2. Plantation companies need to be persuaded to set aside high biodiversity forests within their concessions as locally protected conservation areas. This is allowed under current Government regulations, and hence compliant with ISPO criteria for certification.
  3. We need to raise awareness that there are alternative practical solutions, especially on how to deal with crop-raiding cases.  Guidelines on this have been produced by a team from BOS-Indonesia, WWF-Indonesia and UNAS in 2007.

The Orangutan Foundation held a multi-stakeholder workshop. An important resolution was passed in which the participants committed to protect the orangutans within their concession and to exchange best practice experiences on mitigating conflicts with orangutans. To do this, the oil palm companies were urged to ensure they have a conservation plan to properly manage the biodiversity found in the remaining forests within their concession. This plan should be in accordance with the stipulations in the original environmental impact assessment (AMDAL) that should have been conducted before the Permit for Plantation was issued.

Palm oil certification on paper...

Great hope had also been invested in the RSPO as a means of producing palm oil without destruction of rainforests. Regrettably, the palm oil industry has not yet stepped up to the mark to achieve a majority of certified CPO, as currently only 15% of the CPO market comes from certified sources. In addition, there is growing concern that the RSPO’s certification process is not as rigorous as it should be.

This has prompted the establishment of a new group called the Palm Oil Innovation Group; whilst Greenpeace has urged progressive companies to go beyond the standards set by RSPO in their practices. It would be commendable, therefore, if the ISPO criteria included a ban on converting forests and had a stringent certification process.

Overall...

We hope the palm oil industry would consider using existing degraded low-carbon lands in Kalimantan, which have been identified as suitable for oil palm plantation, as this would provide an alternative land source for the industry in line with the Indonesian Government’s CPO target for 2020. Picture6

We believe this can this be achieved without further destruction of these magnificent rainforests and the spectacular biodiversity they contain. Help us via donating or finding out more via asking us anything at info@orangutan.org. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More orangutan rescues, ensuring wild individuals stay wild!

Very recently, this mid July, the Orangutan Foundation team were called to a local palm oil plantation by the owner of the land to relocate an orangutan that had been seen in the area. The farmer wanted the orangutan removed to protect the quality of the crop and near by villages. Additionally, orangutans can be tempted into the nearby community and plantations by palm fruit as well as the more popular pineapples, grown in the village gardens.

Find out more about the importance of translocation on our website...

Less than an hour after receiving reports on the orangutan’s location… “the team arrived at the scene, and immediately followed the orangutan.” Dr Wawan tells us… “Due to the thick forest and tall shrubs, plus the swampy location, this is enough to cause the team a little trouble.”

The individual a few hours before release...

They were pursuing the individual until after sunset, and finally around 7pm the orangutan was darted and taken to the BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun were it was given a check up. The individual was a male around 9-11 years old estimated from the dental work… “From his physical condition looks healthy, still very wild, in a healthy condition and had good blood circulation and health.”  Having come straight from the wild and as it was in such good health, the Foundation’s vet recommended a hard release very soon.

The Orangutan Foundation has been supporting the orangutan reintroduction programme in the protected Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve since 2000. It is one of the few places in Indonesia where translocated and rescued orangutans can be released into a protected area.

The orangutan was successfully released in the area between Camp Gemini and Camp Siswoyo on the 17th – just last Friday! This site was chosen because the water level of the river is still very high, allowing the boat to access good release points. Dr Wawan was also able to put together some footage taken – watch a vital insight into our orangutan translocation work by clicking here ; "A 'hard' release on the 17th of July" (click this link to download short film here!).

Orangutan rescued

Our vet, Dr Wawan, has written this post about the rescue of a female Bornean orangutan, who had been seen in a village rubber plantation and a nearby oil palm plantation. "We had received information from Bapak Haji Arun and villagers that orangutans have often being seen in Arun’s rubber plantation, eating rubber seeds and bark and also in forest near PT GAP oil plam plantation area.

Our rescue team comprised; PT GAP Oil Palm Plantation (Darman, Erik etc); BKSDA SKW II Kalteng (Muda, As Blek) - Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources; and Orangutan Foundation (Wawan, Tigor, Sariamat, Uduk, Udin).

We arrived on location at 27 june 4.30pm. Based on Pak Erik (PT GAP) information, this place was often passed by orangutans. Sometimes they in rubber plantation at left side of road or sometimes in the forest on the right side. Pak Erik did monitoring for almost two months and he said at least five orangutans often seen there, he also took pictures.

Our team then went to the rubber plantation where we found some nests but no orangutans. We took some photos of the orangutan nests and then as dusk fell, at 6pm, we go to PT. GAP mess to rest.

The next day we arrived on location at 6am, three people had already seen an orangutan in the high branch of tree at the forest area right side of road.

After seeing the orangutan I prepare some darts with anesthetic ‘ketamine hcl’ for estimated 30 Kg body weight.

The deep trench between the road and forest blocked our path. Pak Sariamat, Uduk and I tried to find way around to penetrate the thick bush of forest in order that we could approach the orangutan from behind.

As Blek (from BKSDA) and Tigor stayed on the road to keep watching the orangutan.  After a while we came up close to the female orangutan but she see us as well. She begins to intimidate us with her voice and by throwing branches at us.

As Blek and Uduk blew the pipe for several times but all missed because she keep moving all the time, sometime sit on very high tree branches so its impossible for syringe dart reach it, we all think it would be easier with a dart gun. We keep following her for many hours but in the end we feel so tired and give up. After take a rest for a while, we decided to go out from the forest and walk to the main road road.  Udin, Orangutan Foundation staff, suddenly saw the orangutan in a tree beside the road. We were surprised and tried to capture her again but even this time we got same result, the orangutan disappeared.

We then decided to check the rubber plantation area. After a short time we found another female orangutan in a rubber tree. We spread our team to surround the target, but it is not that easy, again the orangutan is very active, keep moving. Uduk blew the pipe several times but kept missing. Then we decide to keep follow this orangutan until dusk when she also tired and making a nest for a rest. At 6pm orangutan make a nest and sleeping. We make a sign on that tree and plan to come there tommorow before sun rise.

At 4am the next day we started off to go to the location, day still dark and we use a small flashlight in order to approach to the nest tree. Once there Pak Uduk make a small fire to avoid mosquitos and keep us warm.The orangutan still sleeping in the nest and at 6am as the day brightened she woke and started to move through the rubber trees.

Once she hang on short branch, Uduk blew the pipe and finally the dart needle penetrated her right foot. She still moving and still strong after around 5 minutes.  As Blek tried a second dart needle which successfully penetrated on her left thigh. Two minutes later, the orangutan fell.

I give her an examination and she seems healthy. Based from the pattern of teeth she is about 12-15 years age and her body weight was 27.4 Kg.

We finally transported her to Pangkalan Bun where she will be released in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

I thankyou for all support to this rescue, Orangutan Foundation team, BKSDA SKW II Kalteng and also PT GAP for all facilitations and support.

Dr Wawan - Orangutan Foundation Vet

 

Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

One hundred invitations were sent out for the workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The conference room was booked for a capacity of 80, we didn’t want the room to look empty in case there were a number of ‘no shows’. I watched as the room began to fill, more chairs had to be brought in, numbers were now up to 90, a good start already. There was a stir of anticipation, as everyone took their seats.

The workshop began with opening remarks by myself, the head of BKSDA (Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources) and the Bupati’s (Mayor) office. I welcomed the participants by acknowledging we were at the workshop because we recognised the issues of human – orangutan conflict which affects both orangutans and humans and hoped by the end of the day we would have addressed these problems and have workable recommendations for the future. I used the story of Aan, an orangutan who was shot and badly injured in an oil palm plantation, as the catalyst for the campaign.

The morning was taken up by presentations from: Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Organization, Forina, National Forum for Corporate Social Responsibility , representatives from Oil Palm plantations and the Ministry of Forestry (PHKA).

In the afternoon the participants broke into two working groups which presented an opportunity for different points of view to be exchanged (of which there were many) and to make recommendations. At this point I don’t believe anyone knew what would come next. As each group presented their finding it became obvious there would be some agreement here. The workshop went far beyond agreement, as the moderator called out the recommendations, there was applause after each one!

Finally it was the moment of the signing. It is one thing to verbally agree, but in Indonesia it is a different matter to put your name to something. At the start of the day no one would have expected to accomplish so much in such a short time. Pak Ade (the moderator) asked, “who will sign?”, slowly one hand was raised and then another, very quickly we realised this was going to be a landmark moment. See the signatories below.

Naturally we had high hopes for the day but this was beyond anyone’s expectations. I closed by thanking all participants (thank you to Rob Stuebing for participating) for their confidence in the Foundation, Yayorin and BKSDA to carry this process forward.

Thank you to The Rufford Foundation for their support and commitment.

Ashley Leiman, Director/Trustee Orangutan Foundation

CONCLUSION

WORKSHOP ON MITIGATION OF CONFLICT BETWEEN HUMAN AND ORANGUTAN IN AND AROUND PALM OIL PLANTATION Pangkalan Bun, June 4, 2013

1. Protect orangutans in the concession area is the company's policy which must be supported by adequate facilities including with an increase in human resources in oil palm plantation (eg the formation of the Task Force) and supported by the Government, in this case Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

2. Agreed to form Communication Forum to follow up Workshop on Human-Orangutan Conflict Mitigation in and around the oil palm plantation which was formed by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, which is facilitated by Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, which consists of plantation companies and related stakeholders;

3. Every company is expected to be able to develop a system on Wildlife Database in the oil palm plantations, which form issued by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

4. Minutes and Conclusions of the Workshop will be sent to each company and will be reported officially by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, the Director General of Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, West Kotawaringin District, and the governor of Central Kalimantan. On behalf of the workshop participants: 1. PT. Gunung Sejahtera Ibu Pertiwi 2. PT. Bumitama Gunajaya Agro 3. PT. Citra Borneo Indah 4. PT. Mustika Sembuluh, Wilmar Plantation 5. PT. Sampoerna Agro 6. PT. SMART Tbk 7. PT. Globalindo Alam Perkasa 8. PT. Indotruba Tengah, Minamas Plantation 9. PT. Union Sampoerna Triputra Persada 10. PT. Surya Sawit Sejati 11. Direktorat Konservasi Keanekaragaman Hayati, Ditjen PHKA, Kementerian Kehutanan 12. Komisi Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia, Ditjen Perkebunan, Kementerian Pertanian 13. Forum Nasional CSR Kesejahteraan Sosial 14. Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Kalimantan Tengah 15. Balai Taman Nasional Tanjung Puting 16. Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Daerah Kotawaringin Barat 17. Forum Orangutan Indonesia (FORINA) 18. WWF Indonesia 19. ZSL 20. BOSF 21. Orangutan Foundation International 22. Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia 23. Orangutan Foundation UK

New cages for rescued orangutans

When orangutans are rescued from oil palm plantations or farmer's land the Indonesian Government's wildlife department, the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA), take the individual apes to their headquarters, where they are officially recorded and their health assessed.  The orangutans and other wildlife species are temporarily held at BKSDA while the authorities decide what should happen to the individual animals. For example, are they able to be released back to wild and, if so, is there a suitable release site? The facilities at the BSKDA office in Pangkalan Bun, the area where we work, are basic and the current holding cages inadequate.

The Orangutan Foundation is assisting BKSDA to build new holding cages for the orangutans, which will help to alleviate suffering and stress.

Here is a recent photo of Aan (the blind orangutan who was rescued from the oil palm plantation) in her cage - she is very active and openly displays her dislike of humans approaching her enclosure.

We are very aware that building new enclosures and holding cages, whilst helping alleviate suffering and improving welfare, isn't solving the problem of orangutans ending up in oil palm plantations.  Yesterday and today the Orangutan Foundation hosted a workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, specifcally focusing on oil palm plantations.  We will bring you an update on how the workshop went this week.

Thank you for your continuing supporting which enables us to work for a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Orangutan Foundation - www.orangutan.org.uk

 

 

 

Video: stitching head wound of rescued orangutan

Below is the video clip of our vet, Dr Wawan, stitching Melan's head wound for the second time.  It is quite gory so not for the faint-hearted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9hvrHDGcQs

This week Dr Wawan sent an update on Melan saying that her wound still looks wide, but there is tissue growth which is starting to cover the bone. Iodine, rivanol (antiseptic) and antibiotic powder will be applied until it is fully recovered. He is hopeful that it will heal.

Thank you for your support.

Orangutan Foundation

Injured orangutan rescued from oil palm plantation

Here is an update from our vet, Dr Wawan, on a young orangutan rescued in April.  Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation's director, returned from a visit to Indonesia last week. Ashley managed to get some video footage, of the orangutan having her head stitched, during her visit to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). We will share this with you shortly but for now, over to Wawan, who has written this post. 'Melan, she is an orangutan that caught by villagers in an oil palm plantation area in Natai Raya village, close to the town of Pangkalan bun, Kalimantan Tengah Province. BKSDA (Conservation and Natural Resources Authority) rescued her from the village in with the Orangutan Foundation's help.

Unfortunately she have a big wound in her head, like she has been sliced by knife or any other sharp object. We could see her skull because the wound is wide open, very pity little Orangutan. She is maybe 3 years old female orangutan.

I decide to clean and stitch the wound. I give her anaesthetic and I try to clean the wound with an Iodine solution and make it clearer from her hairs. After 30 minutes she woke up very suddenly. She is put in her cage at BKSDA office. I see the stitching is good enough and I give suggestion to keep watching on her whether she will scratch and or pull the stitches.

 

For a moment she is looks good by not scratch it hard, maybe just a gently touching, and some time she use leaves to cover her head to avoid flies come over. I think it is good and hope she will get well by a week.

Then 8 days after the stitching I saw unexpected thing!

The wound become wide open again and wider than before I think. She is in the cage with another Orangutan, I see they were happy keep playing and playing. I suspect because of their playing intensity, they shouldn’t put in the cage together. BKSDA decide to move Melan to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Camp JL. The following day I re-stitched her wound once she was at Camp JL.

I gave her another anaesthetic but his time is was harder as the skin was stronger now and its very hard to pull. But I have one good assistant to help and he keep pulling the skin while I was stitching. That second stitching took 30 minute but looks better and also I give such strong glue with the stitching to make the skin stay together.

Get well soon Melan...We will keep you updated with her progress,

Wawan (Bambang Setyawan)

Orangutan Foundation Vet

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Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction - BBC2 9pm 27 March 2013

Please see our press release below about our Trustee's new film, Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction, showing tonight on BBC2 at 9pm.

PRESS RELEASE

Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction

BBC2 9pm Wednesday 27 March 2013

Terry Pratchett hears the orangutans’ long call

Sir Terry Pratchett, fantasy author and Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, returns to the forests of Borneo to see what hope there is for the endangered orangutan whilst facing his own personal challenges.

Sir Terry Pratchett encountered wild orangutans for the first time in 1994 whilst filming Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest.  One ape, Kusasi, who was the dominant male “king of the jungle” at the time, left a lasting impression that would, almost two decades later, entice Terry back to Borneo.   In his latest film, Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction, to be aired on BBC2 9pm on 27 March, Terry explores not only the fate of the endangered orangutan but also his own fate as he battles with a rare form of  Alzheimer’s.

Terry Pratchett is best known for his hugely popular Discworld novels, a fantasy series, which feature the Discworld character The Librarian, who was transformed into an orangutan. This prompted Terry’s curiosity about the great red ape, which he has described as “having a face like a surprised coconut”, and led to his long-term support of the Orangutan Foundation, a UK charity, of which he is a Trustee.

Whilst filming Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction last year, Ashley Leiman OBE, the Orangutan Foundation’s Director, invited Terry and the film crew to accompany the charity’s vet and rescue team to a proposed oil palm plantation, where an adult male orangutan was reported to be crop-raiding.  The devastating threat of oil-palm plantation expansion to the endangered orangutan’s habitat required little explanation.

Ashley, who was also on Terry’s first adventure to Borneo, recounted “Back then, the chainsaw was our enemy. This time, we were confronted with the real threat: oil-palm plantations had replaced swathes of forest – the orangutans’ home. We drove for more than three hours through unrelenting monoculture. There was nothing but oil palm”.

The Orangutan Foundation increasingly has to rescue stranded or injured orangutans. Only last year, a female orangutan, considered a pest, was shot over 100 times. She miraculously survived but was left permanently blind and will never return to the wild.  To address this escalating issue the charity is working on a new project Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo which is bringing together local government, oil palm growers and farmers to find a solution.

The Orangutan Foundation’s Director Ashley Leiman is positive about the future for orangutans “I felt privileged to be part of Terry’s latest film but I recognise that when faced with the stark reality of the situation, stranded orangutans and such forest loss, it can be hard to remain positive. Yet Terry visited some local communities who, with our assistance, are finding alternative ways to generate an income without having to destroy the forest.  There is active local support for conservation in Borneo but as we know it only takes the actions of a few to undo the good work.   I hope Terry recognises that his generous support over the past years has made a difference and that all is not lost.”

For more information or for interviews, please call Ian Redmond, Orangutan Foundation Trustee, on 01453 765228 or email ele@globalnet.co.uk or info@orangutan.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

High resolution photos and additional images are available here: http://bit.ly/XB5iyE

Further details about the Orangutan Foundation its activities are available on the Foundation’s website www.orangutan.org.uk

The Orangutan Foundation works in Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra to protect endangered orangutans by protecting their tropical forest habitat, working with local communities and promoting research and education. It recognises that orangutan habitat is unique in its richness of biodiversity and is crucial for local communities, who are as dependant on the forest as is the orangutan.

The Orangutan Foundation work in areas of critical orangutan habitat in Central Kalimantan, in the Indonesia part of Borneo. Additionally, In collaboration with the Indonesian government’s local Nature Conservation department (PHKA), the Orangutan Foundation runs a release site for rehabilitated and translocated wild orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

Sir Terry Pratchett, Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, is one of the most popular authors writing today. He is best known for his hugely popular Discworld novels, a fantasy series, which feature the Discworld character The Librarian, who was transformed into an orangutan. This prompted Terry Pratchett’s curiosity about orangutans and his long-term support of the Orangutan Foundation. In 1995 Terry visited Indonesian Borneo with Orangutan Foundation to see orangutans in the wild and film Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest for a Channel 4 television documentary and he returned in 2012 to film Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction for BBC2. Terry has won numerous literary awards, has received four honorary doctorates, was appointed OBE for services to literature in 1998 and he was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Ms Ashley Leiman OBE is Director and Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, which she founded in 1990. Ashley has been actively involved in Asian conservation for over 30 years. Her initial involvement was with the Natural History Society and Conservation Society in Hong Kong. In 1985 she was on the organising committee of the New York Rainforest Alliance. In 1986, after spending time in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo,  Ashley set about establishing the Orangutan Foundation in the UK. In 2006 Ashley was appointed OBE for her services to Orangutan Conservation. Ashley is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UNEP’s Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).

Threats to orangutans

The biggest threat to orangutans is habitat loss. Orangutan habitat is being destroyed and degraded by oil palm plantations, illegal logging, acacia plantations, fire, mining and small-scale shifting cultivation.

The destruction of tropical forests affects the global climate and is one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. For orangutans the situation is critical.

The principle cause of habitat loss is the conversion of forests to agriculture, especially  vast monoculture oil palm plantations.

Palm oil is produced from the kernel of the oil palm plant and is the world’s most popular vegetable oil, primarily produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. Often labelled  as just vegetable oil, palm oil  is a hidden ingredient found in up to half of packaged food products across Europe, it is also used in cosmetics and increasingly as a biofuel.  A new EU regulation, requiring all vegetable oils to be labelled individually, will come into force in 2015.

Oil palm plantations expansion is not the only threat. Deforestation for mining (both legal and illegal) has the potential to be just as devastating. Illegal mining has been found within the boundaries of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  The Orangutan Foundation is protecting this area of critical orangutan habitat with guard posts and patrols.

Images – high resolution versions can be downloaded from the Orangutan Foundation Photo Gallery from this link http://bit.ly/XB5iyE

To donate to the Orangutan Foundation please click here or text  APES05 £X to 70070 and put whatever amount you would like to donate where the 'X' is. For example, to donate £20, text APES05 £20.  Thank you!

Wild Bornean orangutan and 4-year-old offspring rescued and moved to safety.

Our Orangutan Veterinary and Rescue Team were called to Pendulangan Village again last week to check the reports that an orangutan had entered into a community settlement. A large adult male orangutan (named Gagah - read past post) was rescued from the same village in November. It turned out that the one orangutan was actually a female aged about 12 years with an infant, also female, aged 4 years.  Four Orangutan Foundation staff were assigned to spend the night in the village to monitor the movement of the orangutans. After two days it was decided to translocate the mother and infant to the nearby wildlife reserve. The two were captured and were immediately taken and released in the area of Buluh River near the feeding platform of Camp Buluh in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

The following day after the mother and infant were translocated to the reserve the team went to Kumpai Batu Village to check on reports from villager that there were three adult orangutans hanging about an oil palm plantation of about 20 hectares. The orangutans are thought to live in the remaining forest about 100 meters wide, which is claimed by the community.  More news on this to follow soon.

Sorry for the lack of photos, we hope to upload some up soon.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

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