The Orangutan Foundation's 5 Programmes in Indonesian Borneo

Watch this short video to learn about our 5 ongoing programmes in Indonesian Borneo:

Please help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. To support our work with a donation, please click here.

Thank you.

Update; the orangutans of July - and one bear!

In the month of July, our staff have been working hard on fixing boats, and maintaining the camps and caring for seven young orangutans - and one sun bear!

Two orangutans have been successfully trans-located via 'hard release', whilst seven others (Melan, Yuli & Ivan, Lisna, Jupe, Rocky and Muda - more news on them soon!) remain in the latter stages of 'soft release'. By the end of August, all these individuals will be released and soon back into the wilds of life by them selves.

Hard release and soft release are terms given to the different types of orangutan release. Hard releases are shorter, easier and are more ideal for individuals of a good age and in good health. A well grown, healthy orangutan needs removal from private land or farm, the Orangutan Foundation vet gives any medical check ups needed and the Foundation staff release the individual straight back into the wild usually with a day before going back into the forest.

Gemini 2

Soft releases occur when the individual needs some time for adjustment within a protected and secure area. The individual may be very young without a mother, may have been injured, require medical attention or a course of medicine over some days. In these cases, individuals can stay in the most appropriate cage available at one of our six release sites. Through a process of observation, time outside the cage and regaining health where needed, these individuals are then released into the wild.

The Foundation Indonesian office gets contacted about all sorts of animals! In the past we have helped a clouded leopard and sun-bear individuals before, and in the July our team rescued a young bear from near Sampit, east of Lamandau. It needed a few days to be watched over and some help in the first few days to adjust, but very soon our staff will be releasing it into the forest, following it at first - just like how we ensure the orangutans are doing well!

Gemini sunbear3a

GPhoto 24 (Resize)


The two orangutans relocated in July were able to go straight back in the wild - such important work towards sustaining the wild populations of orangutans that are still surviving in the wild. 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 in the wild. We can release in several  locations in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve for a hard release, and we have six orangutan release camps in the reserve for soft releases.


As soon as we hear about Melan's, Rocky's, Ivan's and Muda's final trip out into the wild we'll let you know - it won't be long till these four are out and about. You can read Melan's story here, a brave female featured in our last newsletter. To receive our email updates, please do sign up here!


Orangutan Adoption Diary - Rosa and Brian free at last!

I am very happy to tell you that based on a joint decision between Dr Fiqri (our vet), Pak Tigor  (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) and Pak Eko Novi, the head of section II of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, infant orangutan Brian and adult female orangutan, Rosa were finally released from their cage out into the forest in Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, on the 4th December. Orangutan Brian with his new mother, Rosa

Female Bornean orangutan Rosa and her adopted son, Brian @Orangutan Foundation.

At the direction of Pak Tigor, the staff of Camp Siswoyo started to open the cage.  Brian and Rosa looked impatient as they waited for the cage door to be opened - Brian was very interested in what was happening outside of the cage. 

Orangutan Brian awaiting release in Lamandau reserve


Rosa and Brian await, impatiently, for the cage door to be opened @Orangutan Foundation.

Rudi, the staff vice coordinator of Camp Siswoyo, opened the door and Rosa and Brian were carried on the back by Winto, staff member of Camp Siswoyo. Brian was frozen onto the back of Rosa, though he didn't seem scared just wondering about the situation. Brian some times smiled and watched the people around him.

Infant orangutan Brian watching from inside the cage

Door being opened by Rudi and Winto is carrying Rosa and Brian @Orangutan Foundation.

Brian and Rosa were taken to a watch tower, approximate 1.5 km from Camp siswoyo.  Orangutan Brian and Rosa - leaving the cage behind 

Utang, staff from Camp Gemini, took over the carrying from Winto - orangutans can be heavy! @Orangutan FoundationOrangutans with coconuts

Rosa being encourage to move along @Orangutan Foundation.

Utang then put Rosa down to walk but she didn’t want to. Tigor and the Camp staff eventually tried wooing Rosa and Brian with coconuts on the hand-cart, Rosa moved on the hand-cart to take the coconuts, and Tigor pushed the cart. After they arrived at the watchtower Rosa moved towards the coconuts and pineapples. Brian watched and then he followed to eat the coconuts.

Orangutans Brian and Rosa -on their way to the final release

Rosa and Brian enjoying their feast of coconuts @Orangutan Foundation.

Another female orangutan, Queen and her baby Query, appeared and watched from a nearby tree but then started to climb down the tower.  Brian saw Queen and Query and went towards the tower and climbed on to the base.

Orangutan Queen and her infant watching Rosa and Brian

Orangutan Queen and her baby Query @Orangutan Foundation

  Orangutan Brian climbing

Brian climbs onto the tower to look at Queen and Query @Orangutan Foundation.

Rosa looked worried and followed Brian and removed him from the tower, away from Queen. Tigor and other Camp Gemini staff watched Queen and tried to chase her away from Rosa and Brian.  Orangutan Rosa keeping an eye on Brian 

Rosa retreiving Brian from the tower @Orangutan Foundation

After Queen moved off Rosa started to walk holding Brian. Rosa walked for 15 minute and then stopped at a tree with a broken branch. She climbed the tree and Brian climbed too, he seemed very happy to find the broken branch. He swayed his body and climbed the tree - he was very smart and seem to enjoy himself. 

Reintroduction Camp staff watching Rosa and Brian

Camp Gemini staff watching Rosa and Brian @Orangutan Foundation.

Finally we had to wrench ourselves away from Rosa and Brian and leave them inside the forest. 2 Siswoyo Camp staff, Rudi and Winto, followed them for 4 days and made sure everything was well for Brian and Rosa.  

Brian climbing

Brian and Rosa clmbing up into the trees @Orangutan Foundation.

Orangutan Brian climbing 

Brian having fun exploring the forest @Orangutan Foundation 

We wish you all the best Brian and Rosa - congratulations on being together, back in the wild and free!

Thank you to everyone who has supported our 'Protect Me and My Tree Appeal' - please help us to keep these orangutans in the wild.

Thank you,

Hudi Dewe -Programme Co-ordinator

Many thanks to:· BKSDA Kalimantan Tengah (the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan)· Mr. Eko Novi Setiawan the head of section II of the  Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan (Kepala BKSDA SKW II Kalimantan Tengah),· Ibu Ashley Leiman OBE the Director of Orangutan Foundation UK,· Brian W. Matthews the Wildlife Photographer · Tigor Nainggolan the Lamandau orangutan Reintroduction Manager of Orangutan Foundation UK· Fiqri the Lamandau orangutan reintroduction Vet of Orangutan Foundation-UK· Uduk the Lamandau orangutan reintroduction Camp Coordinator of Orangutan Foundation-UK· Yatno for the Kijang pickup· Uli for the speed boat

Orangutan Adoption Diary - Brian and Rosa

The help required for the adoption process for Brian is now focussed on behaviour. The camp staff tried heckling Brian and with this method we saw how much closer the relationship between Brian and Rosa grew.   Brian and Rosa - orangutan adoption

Brian moved to the other side or ran to Rosa. It also showed Rosa's positive response.

 Brian and Rosa -orangutan adoption

The camp staff observed Brian running to Rosa and holding her. Rosa gave the same response and reached and held Brian with affection. Another time, the camp staff changed their method and heckled Rosa by holding her hands.  Brian tried to reach the camp staff's hand to bite it. 

The result of the treatment shows good progress behaviours for Brian and Rosa in the adoption process, they are already close to each other and also watch out for each other. We hope they will be finally set free this week. 

Thank you,

Dr Fiqri (Orangutan Foundation Vet) 

Orangutan translocated to forest reserve

Finally, last week Memes (the young female orangutan rescued from the oil palm plantation a few weeks ago) was successfully translocated to Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Dr Fiqri, the vet of the Orangutan Foundation's Reintroduction Programme gave the all clear - Memes was healthy and free from worms. Pak Eko Novi, from the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources of Central Kalimantan, gave permission for the translocation.

Orangutan, Memes, being moved from OCCQ 

Female orangutan, Memes, leaving the OCCQ and heading to the forests. 

Memes was transported from the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility (OCCQ) by the Orangutan Foundation International's (photo above) translocation team. The Orangutan Foundation Reintroduction Programme staff, accompanied by Pak Eko Novi, then took over the final stages of the translocation process.

Orangutan, Memes, heading to the Lamandau reserve

Pak Eko Novi accompanying Memes in the speed boat up to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  

After a journey of 2 hours Memes arrived at Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau reserve. 

Orangutan arriving at Camp Gemini, Lamandau reserve 

The whole translocation process was filmed by Trans 7 (the Indonesian television company) and was observed by staff from Tanjung Puting National Park. 

 TV crew filming translocation process

Trans 7 filming the translocation to raise awareness in Indonesia.

Dr Fiqri did a final check on Memes to make sure everything was well and safe for her. Memes seemed impatient to get back to her life in the forest (see photo below)!

Dr Fiqri observing Memes

Female Bornean orangutan, Memes, ready to get back in the trees! 

Immediately after the cage was opened by Pak Eko Novi, Memes climbed up the nearest tree and didn't look back, as she moved on into the other trees.

Orangutan climbing tree in Lamandau 

Memes headed straight for the nearest tree. 

Orangutan, Memes, in the forest.

Dr Fiqri watched and smiled as Memes disappeared into the forest. He's confident she will be very fast to adapt to her new home in the Lamandau reserve.

Smiling for the release of Orangutan Memes

Two Camp Gemini staff followed Memes into the forest until she made a nest and went to sleep. The staff spent the night in the forest, sleeping in hammocks. Memes woke up early the next morning and moved off very quickly through the trees, eventually losing her two followers.

Memes is now living free in the Lamandau reserve but our work doesn't end here, we must continue to protect these forests and the precious wildlife within.

Please support our work,

Hudi Dewe  (Orangutan Foundation Porgramme Co-ordinator) 

Hope for another Bornean Orangutan.

The translocation of the young female orangutan (we rescued her last week from an oil palm plantation) to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve is planned for this week. The young orangutan was named "Memes" by Tigor, Orangutan Reintroduction Manager.  Dr Fiqri, our vet, has said Memes is healthy and clear from worms and can leave the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine facility for the Lamandau reserve. Hopefully we'll have more news from Hudi on his return from the stakeholder meetings in the Belantikan Hulu region. 

Thanks for your recent comments Theresa, Amy and Wanda (very sorry to hear about your dog Wanda but glad we could bring you some good news).

Thanks for all your support,

Cathy - Orangutan Foundation

 Please support our 'Protect Me and My Tree Appeal'

orangutan in tree

Orangutan population declining faster than previously thought…

A very quick post. I'm off to Tanjung Puting National Park and will be back on Thursday. At some point I'll hopefully be tracked down by Brigitta who has her goody bag for the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine. At the end of last week the scientific paper, “Distribution and conservation status of the orangutan (Pongo spp.) on Borneo and Sumatra: How many remain?” was published in Oryx – The International Journal of Conservation. Dr. Serge Wich, Togu Simorangkir from Yayorin (our Indonesian partner organisation) and other orangutan conservation experts, published new findings that reveal endangered wild orangutan (Pongo spp.) populations are declining more sharply in Sumatra and Borneo than previously estimated.

It isn't all doom and gloom so have a read of the full press release from the Great Ape Trust website.

Many thanks.

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