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This year our we are raising funds to inspire Borneo’s future conservationists. In this clip Arie, Research Manager of Pondok Ambung, our tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, explains why it is important.
We use camera traps to monitor the wildlife in the forests surrounding Pondok Ambung. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film!
To protect Indonesia’s biodiversity, future conservationists need to be encouraged and supported.
Our research station is a base from where Indonesian students and international scientists can conduct research. Take a virtual tour below:
Please help us to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.
Research and the Rainforest
To mark #RainforestLive2017, we explore the reasons why rainforest research is so critical to our operations in Indonesian Borneo. We share recent research on individual species, and an overview on other more general research which is ongoing.
Research provides the basis for making key decisions on the conservation of rainforests. Since 2005 the Orangutan Foundation has managed a tropical forest research station, situated on the Sekonyer river inside Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. Known as Pondok Ambung, it is used by international researchers, Indonesian students and university groups for wildlife and forest research.
Recently the field staff stationed at Pondok Ambung have been carrying out research on tarsiers, a species of primate, and false gharials (T. Schelegelii), a species of crocodile. These two species are found within Tanjung Puting National Park and both are threatened with the risk of extinction in the wild. Little is known about either species. It is important to learn more about their behaviour to learn how best to protect them.
You can learn more about our tarsier research here.
Field staff have been monitoring false gharial activity on the Sekonyer River, in Tanjung Puting National Park. Four have been caught and tagged in areas close by to Pondok Ambung, so that staff can monitor their behaviour long-term.
We also received exciting reports of the presence a very large false gharial in the area judging by the size of its footprint (twice the length of a pen!).
However, staff did not come across the creature during the survey.
Staff also conducted interviews with miners outside the park, who also reported sightings of 7 large false gharials in the surrounding area. More research will be conducted on why these crocodiles are living in areas of human disturbance such as this, but it is likely a result of a higher abundance of food.
Alongside recent research on individual species of wildlife, we also have a number of camera traps placed around Pondok Ambung in order to monitor the biodiversity of the surrounding forest. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film:
All this data provides important insights into the biodiversity which exists within the area we protect. It is vital we learn as much as we can in order to help protect and raise awareness of the important role each species plays in the rainforest ecosystem.
This is why the Orangutan Foundation takes part in events like Rainforest: Live, joining a global movement to spread the word and encourage action to protect the incredible biodiversity that exists within tropical forest habitat.
Follow us today on social media, using the hashtag #RainforestLive!
The Orangutan Foundation manages a tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo.
Pondok Ambung Research Station is used as a base from which our field staff, students and international researchers can learn more about the flora and fauna of Borneo’s forests.These studies are vital when implementing strategies to best conserve rainforest habitat in this area.
We’ve just received an exciting report from our research manager on tarsiers.
There are 10 known species of tarsier, all of which are found in Southeast Asia.
Tarsiers are the only carnivorous primate, primarily feeding on insects, but have been recorded to feed on small birds, bats, frogs, crabs and even snakes!
Tarsiers are small primates, averaging around just 13cm in length.
They are nocturnal, using their large eyes and ears to hunt for prey at night.
Their spines are specially adapted to allow them to turn their heads nearly 180° in each direction, perfect for locating prey.
Tarsiers move by leaping; Bornean tarsiers have been recorded to jump distances over 5m!
They are sexually dimorphic: males are larger than females.
Tarsiers have been known to live for up to 16 years.
They are generally found no higher than 2m above the forest floor.
They tend to live in small groups of around 3 individuals.
Tarsiers mark their territory with scent – using their urine!
A Tarsier is a primate which inhabits a range of different forest types. Their taxonomic classification is as follows:
The species our staff studied is known as the Bornean Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus boreanus). Bornean tarsiers are widespread throughout the island of Borneo. Listed by the IUCN as “Vulnerable”, Bornean tarsiers are threatened by the risk of extinction in the wild, as a result of habitat loss.
A population exists within the forests of Tanjung Puting National Park. Our field staff have conducted surveys to track this lesser-known species of primate. Locations where tarsier activity was identified were tracked using GPS. Our staff directly encountered two tarsiers, with 10 other indirect encounters from identifying their scent - left with urine.
All traces of tarsiers were found either near the river or in swamp forest, as this is where tarsiers obtain most of their food. Supporting other research, the two tarsiers spotted were found only in small trees, no higher than 2m from the ground.
Field staff reported heavy rain during tarsier observations, which made it difficult to spot and follow them in the dense vegetation.
It is vital we conserve these types of habitat for tarsiers by preventing human activity in this area of protected forest which leads to habitat loss. Limiting the amount of tourism in this area would also be beneficial so the area can be better managed.
Want to learn more about our research programme? Watch this short clip:
We have just received a wonderful message from our Research Station Manager, Fembry Arianto. The Orangutan Foundation manages Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, which lies within one of Southeast Asia’s largest protected areas of tropical peat swamp and heath forest, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo.
"The Forest…the place where I can rest, think, learn, observe and create my future…thank you to all my colleagues who always give great support and work together so well.
Today marks 3 years and 21 days of working for the Orangutan Foundation, I’ve given and received so much from this organisation…thank you for everything, the passion runs deep!"
There is a rich diversity of species around the station including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, kingfishers, tarsiers, false gharial crocodiles, black rayed softshell turtles, clouded leopards, bintorungs and sun bears.
Pondok Ambung is available for use by individuals wishing to conduct research within Tanjung Puting National Park.
For more information please get in touch with our UK office firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos show the grounds and variety of wildlife which can be found around Pondok Ambung Research Station, taken by Orangutan Foundation staff.
We at the Foundation love harnessing new technology to give us a better understanding of the current state of the rainforest habitat we work to protect. Our latest project involves integrating drone technology into our habitat assessments, as well as into our orangutan rescues. Drones are remotely controlled cameras which can be flown over rainforest areas and used to take aerial photos or video of the surrounding landscape. We have now been using drones over the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve for a couple of months, and with impressive results! For example, these images (below) were taken in order to assess the scale of the damage in the reserve caused by the forest fires late last year.
By viewing aerial footage of the damage, we can best place our efforts to protect remaining forest with the introduction of strategically positioned guard posts and forest restoration projects.
In using these drones during our orangutan rescues, we are also better equipped to assess the surrounding area and determine how the orangutan became displaced. The striking image below gave us a clear and devastating indication of how orangutan habitat had been so greatly fragmented due to the expansion of oil-palm plantations in the area of Sampit (Central Kalimantan).
We are gaining a great deal of insight from the use of new technology such as this, and we couldn’t be doing so without the backing of our generous supporters. In being able to share these discoveries and insights with you, we feel you are able to better understand our work and the challenges we continue to face.
We love to explore the internet in new ways to gain support and raise awareness of the work we do. Social media is another amazing tool to promote knowledge and effectively ‘spread the word’ about the beauty and wonder of orangutans and their rainforest home, as well as highlighting why we desperately need to protect it. We connect with supporters on Twitter and post announcements on Facebook, whilst using this blog to help individuals to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of what we do in the field.
In light of this acknowledgement, we are excited to announce the launch of the Orangutan Foundation’s Instagram account in honour of Rainforest: Live! Follow our Instagram (orangutan_foundation) to see new images and clips from our Indonesian staff as they experience the true wonders of the Indonesian rainforest!
It’s easy to disengage with the reality of a world so distant from our own. As a supporter of a conservation organisation, you can enjoy occasional updates from the field and take pleasure in new photographs of the species you love most. But what do these things tell you about the world these species actually live in? What does a supporter of the Orangutan Foundation truly know about life in the Indonesian rainforest?
We at the Foundation feel that it is important to show our supporters what their money goes towards – what environment it helps to sustain – what biodiversity it keeps alive. Rainforest: Live is the perfect opportunity for us to do this. With 24 hours of live updates, photos and videos from the field, you will be transported to the forests of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia through just a few clicks of a mouse.
We want to encourage the public to feel as though they are part of a global community, to engage with our planet and appreciate the natural wonders it offers – and we’re not the only ones who recognise the importance of this project! This year’s Rainforest: Live has 17 NGOs participating from all over the world!
TODAY you can look out for the hashtag #rainforestlive, or follow the compilation of live feeds from each of these organisations here: https://storify.com/outrop/rainforest-live. If you’re as excited as we are to see what wildlife makes an appearance today, then don’t forget to join the Orangutan Foundation, alongside these other NGOs, in celebrating RAINFOREST: LIVE!
The Foundation frequently receives e-mails from budding conservationists and passionate supporters displaying their frustration over not being able to visit Indonesia or join our summer volunteer programmes. This is one of the reasons we were so excited to take part in Rainforest: Live. If you are one of many who are unable to join us out in the field to experience the many wonders of Indonesian Borneo first-hand, we now invite you into this world through the lens of a camera.
Thanks to the astoundingly connected world we live in, we’re able to take you inside Indonesia’s rainforests, to live amongst the trees and the tropics, and to catch a glimpse of some of its most elusive inhabitants. Live the life of a Foundation patrol: roam the forest in search of an orangutan sighting; get up close and personal with some of Indonesia’s most beautiful and fascinating plant life ; watch our live camera traps from within the exceptionally rich and biodiverse Belantikan Hulu region.
You can do all of this from the comfort of your own home – thanks to Rainforest: Live, you will receive updates on all of your favourite animals, without the hot and humid tropical air, the smell of exotic droppings, or the tickling sensation of some uninvited insect working its way up your arm. (That said - those experiences are all part of the fun!) By simply joining us on Facebook and Twitter for the day, you’ll get the chance to experience the forests of Borneo just as the endangered orangutan does.
[Below are photos taken in Spring 2014 by our camera traps set up in the Belantikan Hulu region; Top Left: A clouded leopard by nightfall; Top Right: A female orangutan climbing trees with her offspring; Bottom Left: A sun bear with her young; Bottom Right: A solitary red langur monkey]
Join the Orangutan Foundation on June 19th for a 24-hour sneak peek into life in the rainforest!
The growing relationship between technology and conservation is one that seems to play an increasingly important role. The ease with which we can have instant contact with our staff in the field enables us to have up-to-the-minute knowledge of our work on the ground like never before. The ability to connect with one’s supporters directly, wherever they live around the world, is also an incredible luxury. It allows conservation organisations to see first-hand how much support they have and to thank their dedicated ambassadors every step of the way. Moreover, the unbridled nature of social media helps us all to extend awareness for important issues and campaigns far beyond our usual reach.
Here in the UK office, receiving news from our field sites in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and Tanjung Puting National Park (both in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia), is often the best part of our day. To see photographs of rescued orangutans receiving the veterinary care they need provides unparalleled motivation to raise funds for such programmes. Being able to watch a video of an orangutan released back into the wild serves as great inspiration for us to continue working with the Indonesian government to protect large areas of critical habitat. When we see our Indonesian staff going to great lengths to take extraordinary photographs for the pure pleasure of it, it lets us know that we’re helping to engage the local communities with the wildlife around them.
With the use of GPS and satellite mapping, the Foundation can constantly monitor areas affected by increases in deforestation, as well as map out protected borders. This also means that when our staff rescues an orangutan, we can see immediately where they were found, as well as what region is most suitable for their release.
Thanks to advances in technology, we needn't be detached from the work we do halfway across the world; and thanks to social media, the public can always be as engaged with our conservation work as we are.
That’s why the Orangutan Foundation is thoroughly excited to be able to share these moments with you, the public, LIVE on June 19th during an annual global project called Rainforest: Live! Throughout the day the Foundation, alongside several other prominent conservation NGOs, will be posting live reports, photos, and videos directly from our Indonesian field sites all over Facebook and Twitter. This will also be a unique opportunity for you to interact and engage with the Foundation directly, asking questions, sharing posts and showing how much you care about the world’s rainforests.
Last year, OuTrop (Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project) alone saw the hash tag #rainforestlive 120,000 times. Let’s try to top that this year, spreading our love of rainforests and the life that inhabits them as far across the globe as possible!
Groups working together to protect and research Borneo means there can be an exchange of knowledge and techniques with others , to improve conservation - a vital part of conservation programmes and habitat protection.
This week, Dr Susan Cheyne, an OuTrop Director, lead a workshop on camera trap surveying. OuTrop are a scientific research NGO based in Palangka Raya.
Susan, along with the OuTrop/WildCRU camera trapping team were in Pangkalan Bun at the Yayorin office (in the same town as the Foundation's office) to demonstrate within a training workshop. We are delighted to be collaborating with OuTrop and our partner organisation Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) who will be placing camera traps in the Belantikan Forest in north Central Kalimantan. This group of three including the Foundation want to survey different forests with camera traps to see what biodiversity is out there!
The workshop was led by Dr Susan Cheyne and Wiwit Juwita Sastramidjaja. Present were representatives from Yayorin, Orangutan Foundation UK, local BKSDA (Indonesian Department of Nature Conservation) and Forestry. The workshop discussed the overall project and reasons for surveying different forests to determine the population distribution and density of different species as well as the practicalities of setting up camera traps in the field. Banteng (the endangered wild ox) is a particular focus of the survey, which lives in the Belantikan forest. Clouded leopards are going to be another focus of the surveying - all species seen will be documented. We are excited to see what we can find - collecting data like this provides the research which is an important tool to guide conservation management. The more the science community knows, the more can be done to protect areas and the species within them. The results with be shared with the local government to help protect Belantikan and gain new knowledge about all the wildlife in this remote ecosystem.
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP