Forest Fires

How guard posts play a crucial role in orangutan conservation

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At the Orangutan Foundation, two main areas of orangutan forest habitat where we work are Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borneo. Together they cover over half a million acres of forest- almost twice the size of Hong Kong. It’s therefore essential that the Foundation’s guard post teams are skilled and well trained to monitor the forest and waterways within this vast area.

During regular patrols, the team record wildlife sightings like these recent images from Tanjung Puting National Park.

Habitat loss is the largest threat to orangutan populations today; for example, it is predicted that by 2080, between 70-80% of prime orangutan habitat will be lost in Borneo alone if current trends continue. The role of guard posts as a deterrent therefore is vital to ensure intruders do not encroach or enter these parks illegally, damaging or degrading the environment which is essential for orangutans and other wildlife.

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Fire fighting is another important role in the field that make these outpost sites so vital. Each one is prepared with fire fighting equipment, and the Foundation works closely with training and supporting the team to be vigilant in spotting forest fires and then safely extinguishing them with as little damage to the habitat as possible. These fires are a potential threat year on year, in 2015 for example an area the size of Wales was lost to forest fires alone in Indonesia, so to have our team patrolling these sites is of paramount importance to orangutan protection and the surrounding area.

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We are incredibly grateful to have such a skilled and hardworking team here at the Orangutan Foundation, but they still require support. Find out how you can help from as little as £2.

Celebrating new life whilst battling to save orangutan habitat

This week, our Monday motivation was this incredible footage of orangutan Max with her infant Monti, sent by our staff who are as excited about this new addition as we are. However, the next day, we heard from our Patrol Manager, Jakir, that fires were once again raging close to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. One moment we are celebrating new life, the next we are battling to save the habitat.

Thankfully the wildlife reserve is 158,000 acres in size and the fires are well away from the orangutan release camps.  Our 8 manned guard posts, around the reserve, means our patrol staff can respond quickly to keep the reserve safe and prevent the fires from spreading.

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Habitat protection is our priority.  Please donate to our appeal to help us keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Protecting orangutan habitat

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.

With sincere thanks,

Ashley Leiman OBE Founder & Director/Trustee

Orangutans need your vote!

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.

Vote for us today! 

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.

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

Stop habitat loss, stop orangutans being killed

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.

If you can, please consider becoming a Guardian of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, from £16.50 a month (the equivalent of 55p a day) you can make a significant difference. Thank you.

We thank the West Kotawaringin Police, KPHP Kotawaringin Barat, and BKSDA Kalteng for their joint patrols. 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Orangutan Foundation needs your support, more than ever.

If you are a member or supporter you will already know that our priority is protecting orangutan habitat. If we keep forests standing we can ensure orangutans stay in the wild (see video below of wild male). In the past few months our committed Indonesian staff, working on the front-line of conservation, have successfully:

  • Detected and prevented illegal activities within two protected areas, home to thousands of Bornean orangutans and many other critically endangered or threatened species.

  • Prevented the spread of fires to the Lamandau Wildllife Reserve, home to an estimated 500 Bornean orangutans.

  • Nurtured tens of thousands of tree saplings and planted in degraded forest areas of Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

  • Trained our staff and community to prepare for and tackle fires

  • Engaged with the Indonesian government and companies to implement best forest management in unprotected orangutan habitat.

We do all this so that wild orangutans, like the one below, stay wild.

We need your help to continue doing this. If you haven’t already, please consider setting up a regular donation click here to support our vital work. Please also help by sharing this blog post.

Thank you,

From Orangutan Foundation - A future for orangutans, forests and people.

Orangutan Foundation on alert for forest fires

Orangutan Foundation have been tackling fires only a few kilometres from the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to some 500 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and many other threatened species. Our committed team of Indonesian staff are working with the Indonesian Wildlife Department and the local community to extinguish the fires.

The threat of forest fires is returning as the dry season in Central Kalimantan continues and 2017 looks set to be one of the hottest years on record.

We are prepared and are on alert to ensure these fires do not spread. All of our guard posts store fire fighting equipment and we have supported fire fighting training.

We have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by fires. During October 2015, fires in Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve burnt through thousands of acres of forests. The clip below, with Indonesian text, highlights the problem.

 

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Forest and land fires can be prevented if all parties support and commit to not burning the forest and land for any purpose.

Support our vital work to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.

DONATE NOW

 

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.

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.

Orangutan found 500m from a main road

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Though the flames that overwhelmed Kalimantan for months are now out, it seems the damage may have already been done. Since September, the Orangutan Foundation rescue team has rescued an orangutan from burnt and desolate forest on a weekly basis. Now, the fires may have come to an end but this rise in rescue activity has not.

Orangutans are elusive creatures, and provided they live in optimum habitat, are relatively difficult to spot (much to the grievance of orangutan researchers!).  Yet this morning our teams rescued a young juvenile orangutan who could be seen at a distance, clambering the topmost point of an isolated tree just 500m from a main road. The proximity of this rescue to a public road is evidence of the devastation that wild orangutans will continue to face thanks to three months’ worth of wildfire.

IMG_1061As you can see in the images below, the habitat where this young orangutan was found has been very badly affected by the fires. Thankfully, the orangutan himself appeared to be in good health and will be released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve right away!

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Indonesia's fires rage on.

Sometimes images are more powerful than words. [video width="320" height="240" mp4="http://www.orangutan.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_0838.mp4"][/video]

These fires have resulted in a surge of orangutan rescues. To follow all of our orangutan rescue and release activity, please visit us on YouTube and Facebook.

Orangutan habitat continues to be under threat. You can make a difference by donating towards the Orangutan Foundation's fire-fighting team, or by sharing this video with your friends and family to help us raise awareness for these difficult times.

Fire and smoke surrounds orangutan habitat

October 2015 Last Monday the Foundation rescue teams received a report from landowners in Mendawai that several orangutans might be trapped in an area nearby. This area in question was a narrow strip of forest, completely surrounded by fire and smoke.

rescue fire

Our teams, alongside members of the BKSDA, swiftly headed to the scene and, though the haze was thick, they were able to make out a large male orangutan in the clearing. In spite of the vet darting him with an anaesthetic, the male was merely slowed down because of his size, and was still able to scale a tall tree.

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The height of the tree was too dangerous for our team members to climb, and before long the orangutan was once again on the move. Hours of following ensued, but eventually the thick haze from the fires overwhelmed the area and the atmosphere became too dark to continue. Though the rescue attempt failed, our rescue teams endeavoured to try to again the following day.

But on the following day, further reports were made to the Orangutan Foundation that, according to our staff, orangutans were “falling to the ground” because the forest was almost completely burned down. Trees were dried to a crisp and the air engulfed by heavy smoke. Despite these terrible conditions this rescue attempt was more successful, and our teams were able to rescue an adult female and her infant. The pair have now been named Vania and Venty, aged approximately 26 years old and 5 years old respectively.

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Though this mother and her infant will be released into the safety of our protected Reserve, this turn of events only demonstrates the immense devastation facing Kalimantan’s forest habitat. Because of the extreme haze cloaking the entire region, it is likely that many more orangutans are stranded in these fire-damaged areas of land. Unless reported to us, there is no way of knowing where these orangutans are that are so desperately in need of rescuing.

The conditions caused by Indonesia’s fires have posed serious problems for the local people, as well as for their eco-tourism. Now we know that the dramatic weather conditions are affecting the wildlife within the forests as well, with more and more of their habitat continuing to be lost every day.

Note: Since writing this post, another orangutan has been rescued by our teams. That’s one failed rescue and two successful rescues in three days. More details to follow.

I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke

(Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia) i love PKB

Due to the globally dramatic effects of El Niño, Indonesia is having a longer dry season than usual. Some areas are beginning to run dangerously low in water supply. Indonesia faces the very serious threat of rice crop failure. Fire is now a daily threat. With forest fires and open land fires becoming difficult to extinguish in peat land areas like orangutan habitat, they are easily spread to neighbouring areas. This is a problem so frequently faced by the majority of Central Kalimantan, but sadly it has now become a worry for the Foundation’s protected region, the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. If orangutans aren’t safe in protected forest, where can they be?

fire damage aug 2015

To prevent the spread of forest fires, we need the cooperation of local people. For this reason, the Orangutan Foundation, in cooperation with the BKSDA (Agency of Natural Resources Conservation) and Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), have campaigned to raise awareness throughout the local town of Pangkalan Bun this month. Noting that August 9th was the town’s ‘Car Free Day’, Foundation staff toured the town with signage reading ‘Stop Forest Fires’ while orangutan mascots handed out brochures to the local people. Car Free Day is a weekly event in Pangkalan Bun, supporting the reduction of pollution and smoke in the local communities. With Indonesian communities making environmentally conscious steps like these, we are confident that we can harness their support to keep orangutan habitats safe.

car free day car free day 2

Capitalising on the extra foot traffic, and thanks to the hard work of Foundation staff, this campaign attracted a lot of attention, with people of the younger generation proudly taking photographs with our orangutan mascots and campaign posters which read ‘I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke’.

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A huge thank you to everyone involved!

Fire Outbreak in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Untitled July has been met with an alarming number of fires in Central Kalimantan. Break outs have occurred worryingly close to our guard posts at Vigilant Howe, Danau Burung and Sungai Pasir. As you can see from the map below, these posts mark the outskirts of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which means that these fires have encroached upon protected land. Kebakaran SM Lamandau Juli 2015_1 The damage found indicates that these fires were set intentionally by hunters hoping to attract deer to fresh grasslands. Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA, has succeeded in putting out the bulk of the outbreak, but for now fire surges on in Sungai Pasir. Limited equipment and staff numbers in the area mean that our teams have to work that much harder to fight the spread of fire caused by high winds. We are confident in our ability to manage outbreaks such as these; however the proximity of these fires to our orangutan release camps requires constant monitoring.

Fire 17 juli 2015

[Limited equipment meant that our staff have had to extinguish the fires by hand.]

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Please DONATE and quote 'FIRE' to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!

"STOP - FIRE"

  As we enter the dry season in Kalimantan, Indonesia, we're taking every precaution.

_MG_1691_2 Our field staff are going the extra mile to raise awareness and stop the breakout of fires in areas surrounding protected forest. Every year fire is a constant worry. Naturally occurring fires are prevalent throughout Indonesia, and the tradition of ‘slash and burn’ farming can also be used as a method to prepare for oil-palm plantations. In open stretches of land where the air doesn't hold as much moisture, these fires are a constant challenge to control. A fire that cannot be easily extinguished can wipe out forests that are home to thousands of species, including the endangered orangutan.

OU in forest fire damage high res

That is why the Foundation has always made fire prevention a priority. In addition to fire training for all guard post staff, our employees in the field have called for local people to stop clearing the land with fire through the implementation of signposts. These steps are especially important because dry and barren landscapes, such as those pictured below, surround the areas of forest in which we work. These patches of open land are especially susceptible to catching fire, and their vulnerability to wind only encourages fire to spread.

_MG_1601_2 In our efforts to raise awareness, we at the Foundation have built warning sign-posts all along the boundaries of particularly high-risk areas (highlighted in yellow). Through these actions, we hope to keep protected areas of forest, and all of their inhabitants, safe from harm. Sigboard Karhut

Please DONATE and quote ‘FIRE’ to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!

Now it's New Year, we look back with confidence, knowing that we have made a difference...

The Foundation works in three areas of critical orangutan habitat. We extend the scope of our achievements by patrolling an area almost as large as the land area of Singapore. Our strategically located guard posts are therefore vital. We have been able to rescue more and more orangutans whose lives were in imminent danger. 75% of all orangutans live outside protected areas, so with our partners, we launched a campaign to collaborate with 18 oil palm companies for the protection of orangutans within the forests of their companies concessions and surrounding areas.A new born infant rides on their mother’s back.

  • In 2014, the Foundation translocated 17 orangutans into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
  • Torup and Kotim were rescued from community land and both are now in the ‘Soft Release’ programme, learning skills for an independent life in the wild.
  • 2014 saw the birth of two infants, and two more orangutans are due to give birth in mid 2015.
  • An exciting new initiative was the installation of camera traps in Pondok Ambung, Tanjung Puting National Park and Belantikan Arut. Without these camera traps, we would of never have had sightings of clouded leopards, one of the most elusive species of the tropical forest.

Camera trap captures a clouded leopard.

  • The Volunteer Programme once again proved its worth, by renovating a Guard Post on a vulnerable river in the south of Tanjung Puting National Park.
  • An important research project is the Population and distribution of the endangered banteng (wild ox), found in the Belantikan region. This is critical to the banteng’s future status.

Our teams bravely fight fires, the blaze reoccurring every dry season.

  •  Thanks to the diligence of the Foundation staff, forest fires (an annual problem) were quickly identified and isolated, which prevented further areas of the forest from being burnt.

Thank you to all - your support really does make a difference and the orangutan foundation could not have achieved any the above without your help. A very happy New Year.

A welcome end to the dry season...

Foundation staff have welcomed the end to the prolonged dry season, more than three months. During this time, it was very difficult to reach Camps and Guard Posts with food and logistics. In spite of the low rivers and logs blocking access, staff were still able to get supplies to the camps and guard posts, even if it sometimes took them 6 - 7 hours, rather than the normal 2 - 3. Even under these difficult conditions, the staff carried out their work with dedication and good humor. The dry season is also the reason behind the fires that occur annually - this year they were especially severe. For the future, the Foundation staff need to be prepared by creating more bore holes and providing extra fire fighting equipment. It is only through these measures that we are able to control the fires and to prevent any further destruction to the forest and threats to the wildlife.

Thank you to all our dedicated staff in the field.

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getting up river - dry season

moving logs - dry season

 

Spare a few minutes to help save habitat of critically endangered great ape

Please sign this petition to the Indonesian President to halt the destuction of the Tripa Swamps, home to a few hundred critically endangered orangutans.

Press release from “Coalition to save the Tripa peat swamps”

Increase in fires burning in Tripa highlight Indonesian Government failing to cease deforestation; orangutan population doomed unless illegal activities halted immediately.

Tripa aerial flyover June 27 2012, 2pm

Another massive wave of fires currently sweeping across the Tripa peat swamp forests has highlighted the accelerating destruction and ongoing disregard of Indonesian National Law by palm oil companies inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem, despite a high level National Investigation launched months ago, which is yet to report on findings.

A recent spike in the number of fires was recorded by satellites monitoring fire hotspot activity in Sumatra, and confirmed by field staff yesterday who filmed and photographed numerous fires burning in the palm oil concessions operating right across in Tripa.

The five companies at present actively operating in Tripa have responded to the increased media scrutiny and current investigation by increasing security on their plantations. Some are even being guarded by military and police personnel stationed along access routes while illegally lit fires burn inside.

“The ongoing destructive activities of these companies during the investigation indicates their complete disregard for Indonesian law and the authority of the ongoing investigation, and the government is allowing this to happen.” Stated Kamaruddin, lawyer for the Tripa community.

“A direct Presidential Instruction is urgently required to bring an immediate halt to the rampant and illegal destruction of Tripa, not a speech telling the world deforestation is a thing of the past.” Kamaruddin added.

“There is no doubt that each of these companies is breaking several laws. Whilst we realize, and very much appreciate and support the investigation going on (by the Department of Environment), it’s proving to be too little too late. These companies simply have to be ordered to stop immediately, and that order to be strictly enforced, otherwise the Peat Forests and inhabitants of Tripa will be lost forever”, he added.

One of the five companies operating in Tripa, PT. Kallista Alam, was challenged in court and its concession area recently reinstated as off limits to deforestation and degradation in the 2nd revision of Moratorium Map on May 25th, 2012. This particular concession has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle as it clearly contravenes National Spatial Law No 26/2007 and Government Regulation 26/2008, since it was granted inside the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area for environmental protection, in which no concessions can be granted that damage the environmental protection function of the ecosystem, and in which all activities that do damage the ecosystem must be halted, and damaged areas restored.

Fires continued to rage late yesterday in the northern stretches of the PT Kallista Alam concession. Likewise, numerous obviously deliberately set fires were also observed in the concessions of PT. Surya Panen Subur 2, PT. Cemerlang Abadi, PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur , PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari and an area known as the PT Patriot Guna Sakti Abadi concession, even though the latter was never formally granted.

“The situation is indeed extremely dire” reports Dr Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. “Every time I have visited Tripa in the last 12 months I have found several orangutans, hanging on for their very survival, right at the forest edge. Its very easy to find them and we have already evacuated a few lucky ones to safer areas. But when you see the scale and speed of the current wave of destruction and the condition of the remaining forests, there can be no doubt whatsoever that many have already died in Tripa due to the fires themselves, or due to starvation as a result of the loss of their habitat and food resources”, he explained.

The Tripa peat swamp forests have received considerable international attention, much of it focusing on the fact that the burning of Tripa’s peat swamp forests made a mockery of a 1 billion USD agreement between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as the REDD deal, since the peat alone in Tripa sequesters huge amount of carbon that is being released into the atmosphere even now .

Tripa was also high on the agenda at the first meeting between the newly inaugurated Governor of Aceh and the European Union, just a few days ago. Furthermore, on June 13th at a global policy address on the future of Indonesia's forests, ahead of Rio+20 summit, at CIFOR, President SBY himself proclaimed that “deforestation is a thing of the past” and "Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster.  That's why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry."

Yet the ongoing destruction witnessed by the coalition team in recent days is a clear indication that these are simply empty words, and that Indonesia is giving no reasons for its international commitments to be taken as anything more than mere rhetoric.

Dr Singleton also pointed out, “There is still a decent orangutan population in Tripa, however hard and fast it is being extinguished, and there are also large tracts of land that have been cleared of forests but never used. If these companies were immediately instructed to stop all their destructive operations while the legal investigation process continues, and then removed, ideally with prosecutions and appropriate punishment, Tripa, its orangutan population, and many of the contributions it once made to local community livelihoods could still be restored.”

“But without an immediate halt it will all be lost, to the ultimate benefit of only a handful of already incredibly rich people based elsewhere. This whole thing makes absolutely no sense at all, not environmentally nor even economically. It is simply greed, on a massive scale. A simply staggering scale in fact.” Stressed Dr. Ian Singleton. 

Notes for Editors:

Further Hi-res photos available on www.endoftheicons.wordpress.com

Please find map below with satellite monitored fires from the period 17/06/12 - 26/06/12 new data will become available over the coming days

For Further Press inquiries, Please Contact:

 

Kamaruddin (Bahasa Indonesian Only)

Tripa Community Lawyer

08116700118

 

Dr Ian Singleton

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Mobile: +62811650491

 

Also, for further media statement, please contact:

 

Saud Usman Nasution

Spokesperson for Indonesian National Police

+62 811 979 2222

 

PT. Kallista Alam

  • Komp. Taman Setiabudi Indah II, blok V (ruko) No. 11-14, Medan 20133 Phone: 061 – 8216541

Fax: 061 – 8216532

  • Jl.Cycas II Blok UU, No.55 Taman Setia Budi Indah, Medan, North Sumatera

Phone: 061-800200, 812380

Fax: 021-812380

 

PT. Surya Panen Subur 2

  • Jl.Pulo Ayang raya,Blok OR Kav.1 Kawasan industri Pulogadung Jakarta13930

Phone: (021)4616555

Fax: (021)4616550

 

PT. Cemerlang Abadi

  • Central Plaza, 3rd Floor, Jl.Jend.Sudirman Kav.47 Jakarta 12930

Phone: 021-5255414,5255413

Fax: 021-520748

 

PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari

  • Rasuna Office Park ZO 10-11 Rasuna Epicentrum, Jakarta

Phone: 021-83703232, 031-5925239

Fax: 021-83704488, 031-5925387

 

PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur

  • LENDMARK Centre,Tower A, 8th floor,Jl. Jend sudirman No.1 Jakarta 12910

Phone: (021)5712790, 5712853

Fax: (021)5712716

Forest Fires Flare Up Again - Your Help Needed!

Fires in Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09) Fires in Sabangau -CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission 

We have just received the following communications from Professor Jack Rieley, a world expert on tropical peatlands, about the fire situation in Sabangau, which has worsened over the last few days. To help support the efforts of CIMTROP (Centre for International Cooperation in the Management of Tropical Peatland) the organisation on the ground tackling the fires, please use our general donation button and leave a comment stating your donation is for CIMTROP/Sabangau

Thank you for your support,

Orangutan Foundation

An SMS message from Dr Suwido Limin, director of CIMTROP, sent earlier today (24th Sept) from inside the major fire area in the upper Sabangau

  "Big fire started from our research transect, spread across middle of Taruna canal and trans Kalimantan highway up to dams 3&4. Fire speed is around 1 km per hour supported by strong wind all day. Now I am working at night with my team. The tree regeneration plot expected all burned but cannot see yet." 

 Putting out forest fires, Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09)

Above and below -with limited resources CIMTROP tackle the fires. CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permissionBurnt peat forest (CIMTROP Sept 09)

This was followed by another SMS from Dr Suwido Limin.

"Now midnight. We are operating 4 pumps. I am manning one machine with Agung. I will work until morning but very tired."  

Tired but dedicated -fire fighting teams tackle fires all day and night (CIMTROP Sept 2009) 

Training - CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission

Email from Dr Suwido Limin sent to Jack Rieley (22nd Sept).

 ‘I have just come from Kalampangan. On this afternoon, we started to implement a new method. The fires become worst again!  In Taruna and Kalampangan fires started on the afternoon of 20th of September. Our team are still trying as much as possible to secure and save this area, but the fires spread very fast and the wind is moving rapidly so that we are being overwhelmed. Our team is working very hard, all day and night and one person was injured. We tried to secure two towers and several research equipments. Some areas of our reforestation project have been burned (eventuality).  I’m personally indeed truly sad with the worst situation. All of the TSA (fire-fighting team) power is limited and we are hardly able to extinguish the fires at this location. Neither can we enter and check inside the area (using the tower) because the road along the canal was burned and created many holes of embers.'   

 Fire-fighting team (TSA) Sabangau, Borneo (CIMTROP Sept 09)

TSA Training CIMTROP© Images should not be used without permission

Email from Dr Jyrki Jauhiainen (22nd Sept), a research scientist at the University of Helsink, who was in the Sabangau area until a few days ago. 

Arrived back to Finland yesterday afternoon. Things may be really bad in our peat research sites now. Haze was bad until last Wednesday, but we succeeded to get our sampling done & gas monitoring sites established. Wednesday evening there was heavy rain and that cleared air and suppressed many of the surface fires. Things seemed to be under control again despite some wind breeze on Friday & Saturday morning. We left from Palangka Raya (PKY) on Saturday as the sky was still clear (probably that was the last Garuda flight for some time).  SMS messages from PKY have been sad: gas monitoring plot & equipment in Block-B Berengbenkel lost, Kalampangan open area plot lost, Japanese open area minitower likely lost, Suwido worried about fate of tall Japanese towers and base camp, Taruna village evacuated, Siemenpuu area likely lost, many firemen in hospital due to respiratory problems… Many of the above mentioned areas cannot be accessed due to thick smoke and now health of people is more important. Suwido must be quite depressed and tired.’ 

Please consider donating to help CIMTROP tackle these fires.