The orphaned orangutans in our soft-release programme in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, are taken out to play in the forest every day. Play-time is crucial for the young orangutans as it allows them to watch and learn from each other. Together, they find food and build nests. Play helps to build up their strength and climbing skills. This video, taken recently, show’s Mona “at home” in the forest. Just watch how she uses her hand-like feet and every-which-way hips to move with such ease and confidence.
The next video clip shows Nyunyu eating bark with Mona (above right) watching and joining in.
When Panglima was first rescued he wouldn’t use the tyre swing or browse in his enclosure - the team looking after him felt sure he would but it would take time for him to adapt to his new surroundings. They were right!
Panglima, a rescued wild Bornean orangutan is very wary of humans.
These images show Panglima using the swing and he gathers up browse (the branches and leaves he is given) and makes a nest.
Panglima using his tyre swing and browse
He eats plenty of fresh fruit and is active and healthy. He is still wary of humans and moves away when someone approaches the enclosure, but this is behaviour we want him to retain.
Panglima is a wild orangutan and though he is quite young he will be released back into the wild in June. He’ll be followed by our post-release monitoring staff. If he needs it he will have access to supplementary fruit. Watch this space for an update on his return to the wild.
Though still young Panglima is very wild and he will be better off living in the forest.
Yesterday our vet, Dr Dimas, and our reintroduction manager, Mr Azhari, visited Panglima, the five-year-old wild orangutan, who we rescued last week. Panglima is temporarily being kept in isolation at Camp Siswoyo, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
The staff at Camp Siswoyo provide leaves and branches every day as an enrichment. He doesn’t use the tyre swing but we’re sure he will as he adapts to his new surroundings. Panglima rests on the enclosure floor but as soon as anyone approaches he climbs to the top of the enclosure. He is wild and it is good that he is wary of humans, which is something we want to maintain. He is eating well and this is also a positive sign.
Yesterday, we rescued a young orangutan, aged approximately 5-years-old. Sadly, the mother was absent, we don’t know what happened to her but most likely she has died, mother orangutans would not readily abandon their offspring.
Tranquillised orangutan, named Panglima
The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) team was made up of the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) and Orangutan Foundation. The Wildlife Department had received reports about an orangutan seen in a community orchard. The rescue team drove 45 minutes from the town of Pangkalan Bun to the reported location in the Pangkalan Lima area, South Arut District.
Orangutan nest high up in the tree
When the team arrived they saw two nests in one tree, but there was no sign of an orangutan. After a while the team decided to return to Pangkalan Bun. In the afternoon, the team received another report about the orangutan and so they returned. This time they saw a young orangutan very high up in the trees. The team decided to follow the orangutan until it nested in hope they could get a clear shot with the dart gun. Unfortunately they couldn’t and because it was getting dark and unsafe they decided to return very early the next morning, when hopefully the orangutan would still be in his nest.
Preparing the dart gun to tranquillise the young orangutan
Climbing up the tree to rescue the sedated wild orangutan.
The next morning, in the torrential rain, the rescue team arrived at the nest location at 4.30am. The orangutan was found above a nest, not far from where they had left him. The dart gun was prepared so that the orangutan could be tranquillised. They managed to get a clear shot and the orangutan fell into its nest. One of the rescue team climbed a 10-meter tall tree and managed to carry the orangutan down.
The Orangutan Foundation vet immediately conducted an examination and the orangutan was male, weighing approximately 15kg and was estimated at around 5-years-old. Our vet, Dr. Dimas Yufrizar, took blood samples for laboratory tests and gave injections of multivitamins and antibiotics.
The orangutan has been named Panglima (relating to the rescue location) - giving orangutans names helps the field staff with post-release monitoring and communications.
Tranquillised orangutan being examined by Orangutan Foundation vet
Panglima was transported to the Pangkalan Bun BKSDA SKW II office where he is being kept temporarily in a holding cage. Hendra Gunawan, Orangutan Foundation Program Manager said BKSDA have requested that the orangutan be translocated to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, a protected area. Before release, Hendra said Panglima will be isolated until his blood tests return and then habituated for three months. His condition will be monitored by the Orangutan Foundation vet and field staff.
The rescue team are confident that Panglima’s release into the reserve will be successful and that he will go on to live a wild and safe life in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
We have received this footage from our field staff, of the rescue and release of an adult male orangutan, victim of habitat loss, found stranded in a narrow strip of forest between a village and oil-palm plantation.
Fantastic teamwork by everyone involved meant that this rescue was carried out safely, and the male orangutan was able to be released in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve just two days later, in an area of protected forest habitat.
Help us to protect this forest reserve and ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. Click here for more information.
On Monday, 28th August 2017, Orangutan Foundation together with the local wildlife authority, managed to rescue an orangutan, found stranded in a forested area between a village and an oil-palm plantation in Central Kalimantan. The orangutan, an adult male of around 17 years of age, only weighed 80kg - about two thirds its expected weight..
The alarm was raised by one of the villagers, who, seeing the orangutan so close by, was worried the orangutan would destroy his oil-palm plantation, and even enter his own home.
The challenging terrain made it difficult to reach the orangutan. The team had to use a boat to approach the area and then walk about 1km through swamp forest. On arrival, the orangutan was anesthetized to take it to a point of safety.
This rescue highlights the problem of habitat loss resulting in more wildlife coming into human contact, leading to human-wildlife conflict.
The orangutan will be examined by the Orangutan Foundation’s vet, and then translocated into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, a protected area on 30th August.
To date, 15 orangutans have been rescued in 2017, some being immediately translocated and others, too young for release, will go into the Foundation’s Soft-Release Programme. Please donate to support our rescue and release programme.
This video shows the challenges faced by our staff when rescuing orangutans:
On the 3rd July, our staff received reports from the Wildlife Department (BKSDA) of yet another orangutan that had been found in community land. At that stage they had no idea of the difficulty of the terrain and where or what condition they would find the orangutan in. After preparing the anesthesia, our staff set off to the rescue location.
It soon became clear this was going to be difficult. They had to cut through dense undergrowth to reach the orangutan, which was high up in a tree. Our anaesthetist had to climb up a tree to get a clear sight of the ape before firing the dart gun. The staff, ready at the bottom of the tree with a net, caught the orangutan as it fell. Our vet was waiting to assess the orangutan, who was a female of around 20 years. Sadly though, he discovered previous injuries to her back and chest, which would require treatment.
The orangutan was named Karin and on returning from the rescue location she was examined and given treatment for her wounds.
After recovering from her ordeal, Karin was taken to Camp Gemini, an orangutan release site, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). Once Karin’s wound has healed she will be free to live back in the wild again.
On 19th June 2017, BKSDA informed our field staff that they had just confiscated an orangutan from people who had been keeping it as a pet in a nearby village. This orangutan was entrusted into the care of the Orangutan Foundation.
The male orangutan was named Bumi (which means Earth in English) and was estimated to be about 3 and a half years old.
Our vet checked Bumi’s health and overall condition, which proved quite difficult as he wouldn’t stay still! He was anesthetized as it was vital that he was looked over thoroughly for any injuries or illness.
During the assessment, bullets were discovered in Bumi’s body. We are uncertain of the origin of the bullets, but it is likely a result of people attempting to shoot the mother to obtain the infant.
This, tragically, is how most orangutans enter our Soft-Release Programme.
In total, 7 bullets were removed from Bumi’s body. Bumi was given health supplements, and once he’d recovered from the operation, he was ready to join our Soft-Release Programme.
Bumi was taken to Camp Rasak in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Here he will be cared for alongside Endut, an orangutan of a similar age also rescued from being kept as a pet last March.
Staff report that since settling in Bumi appears to have a good appetite and has already displayed nest-making skills.
Watch this clip to see Bumi showing off his skills:
Please DONATE today to support the progress of Bumi and the other orangutans currently in our Soft-Release Programme.
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP