Our vet, Dimas and programme manager, Iman, have been on their weekly visits to the orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. They check on the orphaned young orangutans and ensure the good health of the released orangutans. Their journey took longer than usual because the river levels are very low, due to lack of rain. Instead of travelling by speedboat it was completed in a shallow longboat (or klotok, as they’re called in Indonesia).
Our youngest orangutans are cared for at Camp JL and include Timtom, Nyunyu, Adib, Mona (photo below) and Boy. Dimas gave them their multivitamin injection to keep them healthy but they are all well and active.
In the afternoon they continued by longboat to Gemini Camp. This is where blind orangutan Aan lives. Aan was shot and can never be returned to the wild. Her enclosure recently had new ropes (see below).
They walked from camp through the forest to the feeding site, where supplementary fruit is provided. Dominant male, Bangkal came to feeding along with female and infant orangutans; Ilik and Izzy; Hola and Happy; Ebony and Ekon (photos below); and Passion and Paris. Max was also seen with her newborn infant, now named Monti and they seemed well.
A few days later they went to Camp Buluh, to check on orphan orangutans Okto and Syifa. Okto had injured one of his fingers a few weeks ago but after receiving treatment the inflammation has reduced and is healing well.
Both Okto and Syifa very active and enjoy playing together. Okto was given a final anti-inflammatory injection and both orangutans received their multivitamins.
Conditions are very dry at present and so our guard post staff are vigilant and on alert for fires. All the guard posts are equipment with fire-fighting gear and our staff are trained enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to extinguish fires.
We only send out appeals when there is a real need for help – and right now, we urgently need funds to strengthen the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.
In January and February, our forest patrol staff detected and tackled fires, deliberately lit to clear land, next to the reserve. They prevented the fires from spreading and saved thousands of acres of peat swamp forest from going up in smoke. In March, we met with the provincial government to push for those responsible for starting the fires, to be held to account.
The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest. The Foundation's staff put themselves at risk as they battled to protect the forests, home to a population of 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated by the Orangutan Foundation and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are safe.
It costs a quarter of a million pounds a year to protect the reserve and the wildlife. A significant commitment for a small charity, but a relatively small amount considering the invaluable riches and services the forests contain and provide.
The Orangutan Foundation runs and staffs eight guard posts in and around Lamandau to deter and prevent access to the forests. Our staff, all committed local Indonesian conservationists, patrol on foot or by boat. We use conservation drones and GIS to map and document illegal activities.
The map below shows the guard posts (red triangle on blue).
In 2017, we stopped illegal mining inside the reserve and since the beginning of 2018, our forest patrols have detected and stopped two cases of illegal logging.
Yet, despite years of investment in successful community awareness, there remain a small few who want to exploit the forest for their own interests. As pressure for land increases our fight to protect standing forest, to stop it being logged or converted to oil palm, will only become more difficult. Protecting Lamandau is an ongoing commitment: we cannot temporarily close a guard post due to insufficient funds, in the hope that we might start up again next year. If we stop protecting the reserve, we know that we will lose it: the forest and its precious wildlife could be gone in an instant.
Bangkal is one of the orangutans at risk. Originally released into the neighbouring Tanjung Puting National Park, Bangkal was severely injured in 2000 when illegal loggers attacked him with boiling-hot oil. Following a long period of recovery, he was released into Lamandau, at Camp Gemini, one of our five release camps in the reserve. Bangkal, now strong, healthy and independent, has since become the dominant male.Aan, an adult female, was shot and permanently blinded in an oil-palm plantation. Foundation staff moved Aan to the Lamandau Reserve, where she now lives with round-the-clock monitoring by our staff and vet.
We also care for ten orphaned infant orangutans at our release camps - plus many dozens of reintroduced and translocated adults that are thriving in the wild under our protection. We owe it to these orangutans to keep their forest home safe.
Please DONATE SECURELY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE, by calling 020 7724 2912, or by sending a cheque payable to ‘Orangutan Foundation’ to Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP. If you are unable to donate immediately but want to make funding pledge, whether through fundraising or a delayed donation, please contact us to discuss options – we will work with you however we can.
Sponsor the protection of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve
£15 protects 10 acres of forest for one year
£37.50 protects 25 acres of forest for one year
£75 protects 50 acres of forest for one year
£150 protects 100 acres of forest for one year
We must act today to secure the future for orangutans, forests and people.
We need your vote to win funding for our project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo. Click to vote, scroll down to our project and cast your vote for orangutans. It is quick and easy to do and will make a big difference to our work.
Last month our staff risked their lives to extinguish deliberately lit fires. They prevented them spreading into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to more than 500 orangutans. They could respond quickly because we have guard posts and patrol staff protecting the forests around the clock. Without this direct habitat protection, 1000's of acres of forest would have been destroyed. If you can't view the video below please click this link: https://youtu.be/p4lMApuJd2M
Fire is a major threat to orangutans, forests and people. Vote for us to help us prevent forest fires. Our project will run a public awareness campaign, fire fighting training and enable us to buy extra fire fighting equipment. Please vote to today - click here.
Vote for Orangutan Foundation - click here
Following a rigorous selection procedure, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has created a shortlist of projects to fund. We’re delighted to be one of them. It now goes to the public to decide who should receive funding! This is why we are asking for your help.
Voting runs from today, 9 March (00.01 GMT) to Friday 23 March (12.00 GMT) 2018.
If we win we will receive funding for our Project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo.The overall goal is to prevent the loss of protected peat swamp forest, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan, from fire. We know how devastating fires can be. Only last month, our staff had to battle fires around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. They managed to extinguish them preventing thousands of acres from going up in smoke.
The project will focus on Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, two protected areas in Central Kalimantan, which lost 103,000 hectares to fire, in 2015. EOCA funding will be used to create and distribute an awareness campaign ‘Stop kebakaran hutan dan lahan‘ (Stop forest and land fires). It will focus on the negative socio-economic impacts of fires including tourism losses and health costs.
Funding will provide annual specialist fighting fire training during the dry season to Orangutan Foundation and local authority staff. It will buy equipment for use by the Orangutan Foundation forest patrol staff in the National Park and for the villagers that are close to the Reserve, who attend the firefighting training.
Tujuan proyek: Tujuan keseluruhan proyek ini adalah untuk mencegah kehilangan kawasan lindung hutan rawa gambut yang merupakan habitat orangutan terancam punah akibat kebakaran. Proyek ini fokus di dua kawasan lindung di Kalimantan Tengah yang pada tahun 2015 hilang 103.000 hektar akibat kebakaran. Tujuan proyek ini akan mengurangi pembakaran hutandan lahan oleh warga masyarakat dengan melakukan kampanye penyuluhan, pelatihan, dan menyediakan peralatan pemadaman kebarakan untuk instansi terkait, masyarakat lokal, dan staf Orangutan Foundation.
Dana dari EOCA akan digunakan untuk melakukan kampanye penyuluhan ‘Stop Pembakaran Hutan dan Lahan’. Kampanye tersebut akan menyoroti dampak negatif kebakaran terhadap sosial-ekonomi termasuk kerugian wisata, serta biaya kesehatan. Proyek ini akan mengadakan pelatihan khusus pemadaman api pada musim kemarau dan pembelian peralatan yang dibutuhkan staf lapangan untuk memadamkan api di dua kawasan hutan tersebut, yang merupakan habitat orangutan.
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.
In the last month we have heard disturbing reports about the cruel and brutal killing of two critically endangered Bornean orangutans. Sadly, our staff care for the victims, of these sort of actions, every day. We're still caring for Aan, shot 104 times and left permanently blind. Little Bumi, rescued last year, 8 pellets removed, his mother must have been shot and killed.
We ask ourselves, how could someone harm these gentle, intelligent and peaceful beings?
The killing of an orangutan is a visible threat, rightly generating shock and outrage. The invisible threat that forces orangutans into increasing contact with humans, onto oil-palm plantations or village farms, is habitat loss. We use the term invisible because habitat loss does not elicit the same level of response as an orangutan killing.
In the last month our guard post staff have tackled illegally lit fires and prevented them spreading, but still 30 hectares burnt. This week, they detected the second case this year of illegal logging, right on the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. This is meant to be strictly protected forest, it has a population of over 500 orangutans. We need to keep it protected and the orangutans safe.
Why does the image of a fallen tree not also generate the same outrage? When forests are cleared, orangutans and hundreds of other species are harmed or even killed. Some survive, if they can move to another area of forest. This increases competition for resources and forces them into closer contact with humans. It is because we can’t see the immediate impact on orangutans and so our response is different.
We need your help now, more than ever. Our guard post patrol staff require ongoing support to prevent illegal activities and further loss of orangutan habitat. The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is huge, 158,144 acres of tropical forest (one acre is the approximate size of one football pitch). Our staff do a fabulous job patrolling such a large area but need to be supported.
Please help us to keep these vital forests standing and their precious inhabitants in wild. Please donate today.
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.
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.
No sooner had our speedboat arrived at Camp Buluh when the staff came running and excitedly told us to hurry up. I knew before I reached the end of the jetty by the noise of breaking branches that something was going on in the forest ahead.
It didn’t take me long to see one huge male being pursued by another, both cheek padded. The assistants told me that they were Yoko, who was often seen around Camp Buluh, and Darwin, who hadn’t been seen for a number of years.
The orangutans were face-to-face in open combat. They would grapple one another, no doubt inflicting some injuries. This would last for a number of minutes until one would go further into the forest and there would be a lull in the confrontation.
There were times when both came down to the ground, one aggressively pursuing the other, before going back up into the trees. What was interesting was that during the conflict they would occasionally stop to rest, so obviously this activity takes a lot of energy.
Long calls and branch cracking perforated the performance. This encounter went on for over two hours before Darwin, realising Yoko had the upper hand, made his way further into the forest and was not followed. That’s what I love being in the field, it’s never boring, it’s not every day one sees such excitement.
Become a Guardian of Lamandau today and help us protect the home of Yoko, Darwin and over 500 other critically endangered orangutans. Click here to find out more.
Orangutan means person (orang) of the forest (hutan). Quite simply, without trees, there are no wild orangutans.
The Orangutan Foundation are not only protecting this vital habitat, but we are also restoring it. Since 2015, we have planted out more than 39,000 seedlings within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. More than half of the seedlings were planted out this year. To celebrate this achievement, we organised a tree planting ceremony at the end of October to coincide with the visit of Ashley Leiman OBE, the Orangutan Foundation’s Director and founder.
The event took place at Danau Burung guard post in the Reserve, the site of one of our three tree nurseries. Setting off at 6am, it was a long and bumpy journey by pickup truck, along dirt roads. Once Ashley and our team of staff had arrived they set about constructing a temporary shelter for the guests. This would shield them from the midday sun, out from the coolness of the forest, it is noticeably hotter.
Once everyone had arrived, Ashley and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of Central Kalimantan’s Wildlife Department (BKSDA Kalteng) opened the ceremony by planting a tree. Many other guests, including government officials were invited to join in.
It was a long day but extremely worthwhile. Our staff were very proud to show off their excellent work and the ceremony received press coverage throughout the province of Central Kalimantan, which helps enormously to raise awareness about the importance of forests.
To finish off Orangutan Awareness Week, our final blog post is about Jakir, who oversees the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious inhabitants. He has been in this role for 10 years. Jakir is also a talented photographer and many of his images have been included in our new photobook, The Orangutan's World.
Our committed Indonesian staff are the bedrock of all we do. Please donate to support our vital work, keeping forests standing and orangutans in the wild.
Jakir, Patrol Manager Orangutan Foundation
My role as Patrol Manager is to supervise the 12 staff who occupy our eight guard posts, ensuring that they are well maintained and operated, so that the wildlife reserves are protected from illegal activities, such as logging, mining, hunting and fishing.
It’s a very important role and I most of all I love the interaction with the local community in the field. Sometimes ignorance is the reason for illegal activities, and we tell people what we are doing so they also understand why we are protecting the forest.
But the biggest challenge is facing people who deliberately do illegal activities. We have faced threats and bribes, but some people who were previously involved in illegal forestry now give us information on illegal activities they encounter.
It’s very special to see some of the animals that we have saved roaming free in the forest in Lamandau.
When I first met Ashley, the Director of the Orangutan Foundation, I didn’t understand why she talked so much about protecting the forest and sacrificed so much of her own time for this. But a long time afterwards I saw some villages submerged by flooding and I realised why protecting the forest is so important.
My hope is that the forest will always be alive and awake, so that my grandchildren can see and feel the coolness of this forest.
Written by Anna Levin, this interview was featured in our latest member's newsletter, Red Ape, Autumn 2017.
By donating £16.50 a month you can become a Guardian of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and support the protection of over 150,000 acres of tropical forest habitat. Click here to find out more.
To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work.
Paula is an adult female orangutan who clearly has strong “motherly instincts”. Not only has she given birth to her own offspring, but she has also adopted Rawit. She was released into the Reserve in 2003. She delighted us last year when staff sent images of Paula with a newborn, Paul on the 25th December 2016.
The photos show a third orangutan. This is Rawit, a juvenile orangutan, who Paula took under her wing (read more here).
Paula is very occasionally seen at the feeding station. This is exactly what we want, for the most part of the year, the forests provide all she and her offspring need.
Support Paula during Orangutan Awareness Week! Please make a donation here to help us protect her forest home.
April 22nd marks Earth Day 2017. This year the campaign focuses upon the goal of achieving global “Environmental and Climate Literacy” by 2020. The aim is to promote to individuals the importance of protecting the planet.
To celebrate this global environmental movement, Orangutan Foundation field staff organised a series of events to educate students and members of local conservation groups, with their own sub-theme: Forest Fires and Waste Management.
The first of these events was a beach clear-up, close-by to Pangkalan Bun. Schoolchildren, teachers, Yayorin and other environmental bodies travelled to Kubu Beach to work on improving the area.
Information boards were installed and 50 mangrove seedlings (Rhyzopora Sp.) were planted to restore areas of damaged mangrove habitat.
Other events organised to celebrate Earth day included two competitions: creative recycling and poetry, which were held in the town shopping centre, and planting trees in city parks around Pangkalan Bun.
On Earth Day itself, a jam-packed day of traditional dance and live music is taking place, with the finals of the creative recycling and poetry contests, and an exhibition of conservation-themed photography.
We and our field staff are pleased to have contributed towards this important event. Our field staff have been instrumental in the organisation of these activities.
We are mere caretakers of our planet, therefore it is critical we take proper care of it.
Last week, Dr Steven (Orangutan Foundation's vet) went to see two orangutans that BKSDA, the wildlife department, had obtained from a citizen in the town of Sampit, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. How the orangutans came to be pets, we don't know. However, we do know that the orangutan's mothers would certainly have been killed in order for their babies to have been taken from them. Orangutans are protected by law in Indonesia. It is illegal to persecute, own or trade orangutans yet prosecutions are rare.
One of the orangutans is about two years old and she has been named Mona .
The second orangutan is about three years old and has been named Nyunyu. She had been kept as a pet for two years and when found was chained up around the neck.
Nyunyu does not like human contact but Mona is much easier to approach. Dr Steven said they are both in good condition and are suitable for the Orangutan Foundation's soft release programme.
They are now living at Camp Buluh, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Here they will learn the skills to survive in the wild such as foraging for food and building nests to sleep in but it will be a few years before they are ready to be fully released.
We need your help - please donate to support our vital work rescuing and helping these orangutans return to a life in the wild.
Here is a blog post by Azhari Purbatrapsila, the Orangutan Foundation's Reintroduction Manager. But, as you will see, it is not just orangutans that the Orangutan Foundation rescue and release.
On 12 January 2017, I and Jakir (Forest Patrol Manager) translocated one saltwater crocodile and one black-winged kite to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Translocation was done together with SKW II BKSDA Kalteng (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). The crocodile is about 1 meter in length and is in a healthy condition.
Unlike the crocodile, the kite was not in a good condition. It looks like the kite was kept in a small cage so its wings are really weak. Although its wing are full (no missing feathers), some of the feathers are not in good shape. The kite and the crocodile were handed over from the community.
After confirmation of the translocation, we left the Orangutan Foundation office at 10am and went to the BKSDA office to pick up BKSDA staff and the animals. We drove to the speedboat jetty and went directly by boat to Camp Buluh, within the Reserve.
Firstly, we released the crocodile, which swam away from us before it dived into the river and wasn't seen again.
After, we released the kite onto a tree which is usually used by soft-release orangutans who are learning to climb.
After several minutes of staying on the branch, the kite tried to fly. Unfortunately, the kite unable to fly properly and it fell into the swamp water next to the camp building.
We decided to put the kite in an empty orangutan enclosure and let the camp staff take care of it until its healthy and strong enough and can fly. Hopefully the kite's condition will improve quickly so it can be released and be wild again. We will keep you updated.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s another field update, with some wonderful images, from Orangutan Foundation vet Steven Daud, on some of the younger orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.
A couple of days ago, we made our routine health and monitoring visits to Camp Rasak and Camp JL, two orangutan release camps, within the Wildlife Reserve. This journey is by speedboat as the camps can only be accessed by river.
Our first stop was Camp Rasak, where orangutans Jessica, Timtom and Endut live. These orangutans are on a soft-release programme.
We took Jessica, Timtom and Endut out from their enclosure so they can learn to make a nest and play in the trees. Jessica’s ability to make the nest is clearly visible. While Timtom and Endut are seen to be very brave exploring the trees, where they hone their skills of survival.
Nowadays, the weather is unpredictable which has caused Timtom to catch a cold. We are giving Timtom vitamin supplements and medication to help her get healthy again.
After Camp Rasak we got back into the speedboat and went to camp JL to monitor Okto and Ketty. Before orangutans can be fully released back into the wild they must be able to make a nest to sleep in. Ketty has shown that she can make a nest. However, Okto still has difficulty with this skill and sometimes even tries to interrupt Ketty's nest-building.
In terms of health, Okto and Ketty are both in good condition and this is maintained by giving them vitamin supplements. To minimise disease transmission between the orangutans and humans, staff in contact with the orangutans must wear gloves and masks.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
Steven (Orangutan Foundation Vet)
As always, we are immensely grateful to the Orangutan Foundation staff in Indonesia for their hard work and commitment. You can support this work by Adopting Okto (a unique Christmas present of real value) by visiting our online shop. There are plenty of other wonderful Christmas present ideas too. Last day for ordering before Christmas is Friday 16th December. Thank you.