Indonesia

Partnerships for Protection

Most people’s idea of orangutan conservation would evoke a picture of a life in the wild, tracking these charismatic apes through the forest, rescuing and releasing them into a sunlit canopy. While this is one element, the reality of our work is a much bigger picture.

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Orangutan conservation must address the complex issues affecting the wider landscape and habitat, and this involves an in-depth understanding of land management and negotiation with government, communities, and private sector stakeholders. It sometimes feels far from the animals in the forest, but it’s fundamental to their future survival.

This week, Orangutan Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) held a workshop on Management of Wildlife in Protected Forest and Production Forest Areas and a Forum on Orangutans and Oil-Palm Plantations.  There were more than 30 participants from parties including the Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

The big issue for the Bornean Orangutan species is that 80% of the population are extremely vulnerable, as they live in forest habitats with no active protection (i.e. not inside a national park or wildlife reserve).

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

These forests, which have been shrinking dramatically over the last few decades, and the animals that live there, are at risk as most of them are in active ‘concessions’ – areas where access to the land has been granted for some form of industrial use. There are many different legal designations, including natural timber concessions, industrial timber plantations and areas of forest still remaining inside oil-palm concessions, as well as forests on community lands. There are also areas of ‘Hutan Lindung’, Protection Forest, a special designation where the forest provides a wider ecosystem service to protect soils and water catchment. Proper management of these forests is crucial to mitigate conflicts between humans and wildlife and to reduce the number of isolated orangutans that end up needing to be rescued.

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At the end of the two days, all of the participants agreed to sign a joint commitment to implementing Best Management Practices focused on the protection of orangutans and wildlife in Production Forests and Protection Forests, as well as in oil-palm plantations. This is a vital step forward in securing the survival of the Bornean orangutan; and for this we are very grateful for the continued support from all our members and donors and in particular, to the Arcus Foundation.  The next step is to ensure these commitments made on paper translate to commitments on the ground.

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Orangutan Foundation vet's surprise river encounter

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Caught on camera, but who did it? Orangutan, bear, deer or pig?

Camera traps are a window into the fascinating and private lives of wildlife. Maintaining and keeping the cameras working in the hot humid and damp conditions of a rainforest is an ongoing challenge. Battling the elements is something our researchers are prepared for but they were shocked to find that one of the camera traps had been severely damaged, torn apart and discarded broken, 2 meters away from its original position. Who had done this?

Damaged camera trap

Damaged camera trap

What the culprit hadn’t realised was that the data before the incident was undamaged and so our researchers could look back and see who had been out and about! Their suspects were orangutan, sunbear, deer and wild pigs.

Orangutan

Orangutan

Sun bear

Sun bear

Was it a deer?

Was it a deer?

Wild pig

Wild pig

On closer examination there were bite marks on the camera and it had been pulled off the tree. A sun bear could pull it off but there weren’t any claw marks and these would be evident. We suspect it must have been an orangutan. They are a highly intelligent and curious species and this is why it probably wanted to inspect the unusual device it found in its forest home. This is alone is a reason we need to continue to find out about them and work to conserve them.

Improving livelihoods of communities living in and close to orangutan habitat

We are working with villages on the border of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Indonesian Borneo) to improve livelihoods and local forest sustainability. In this area, fire is used to cleared land and to hunt wild pig and deer. Forests have been cleared to mine for minerals or to grow oil palm. We see the damage this does to forests, the vanishing habitat of orangutans and other critically endangered species.

Measuring out and survey of agroforestry demonstration plot (oil-palm plantation in the background).

Measuring out and survey of agroforestry demonstration plot (oil-palm plantation in the background).

As demand for land increases it is imperative to adopt sustainable livelihoods that don’t require forests to be cleared. Agroforestry has been practised traditionally in Indonesia for many centuries and it can improve farmer’s livelihoods and improve land, which is already degraded. It is a farming system that combines planting trees with agricultural crops to increase profits, both economically and environmentally.

Discussions with land owners and Sukamara KPHP about planting sengon plants in community-owned gardens

Discussions with land owners and Sukamara KPHP about planting sengon plants in community-owned gardens

The villages we work with have voluntarily offered one hectare (roughly the size of a football pitch) of their land to be used as a demonstration plot and Orangutan Foundation are assisting with the preparation and planting of seedlings and will help to monitor their progress.

Farmers nurturing sengon seedlings for planting out.

Farmers nurturing sengon seedlings for planting out.

Two of the species being grown are rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) used for harvesting latex and sengon or albazia (Falcataria moluccana) which is used for local timber products (firewood, matchsticks, construction materials). They are fast growing species and so can be harvested in a relatively short time and they are adaptable to varying climate conditions.

Transporting compost to plant out seedlings

Transporting compost to plant out seedlings

Planting out of sengon seedlings

Planting out of sengon seedlings

Planting rubber in the demonstraion plot

Planting rubber in the demonstraion plot

Orangutans with a second chance of being wild

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

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. 

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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! 

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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. 

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.

Rescued and released orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

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.

Please help us to keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild. You can support our work by donating or adopting Okto or Mona.

Images of Max's newborn orangutan, born in the wild

We have just received these delightful images of Max and her newborn infant.  Max and her mother Mantra, were released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2003, aged 16-years old, this is Max's pregnancy.

Max looks to be doing well but her infant seems quite weak. Staff will provide supplementary fruit and will follow Max for a week to monitor her and her infant during these critical early days.

Wild orangutan rescued and moved to safety

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

 

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

Volunteer in Borneo with Orangutan Foundation in 2018

We are looking for a few more adventurous individuals to join our volunteer team in Borneo. This year's project is the renovation of a forest guard post in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.  Volunteers will be working and living on the site, which is a beautiful remote location in the middle of the forest. You will wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of the forest.

Last November, The Guardian ran an article featuring a first-hand account from one of our volunteer. It is well worth a read if you are interested in volunteering.  https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/nov/01/borneo-voluntourism-holiday-orangutan-foundation 

Orangutan Foundation does not allow any of its volunteers to have direct contact with orangutans and this is for the benefit of the apes. Most people understand this and can see the bigger picture of what they are doing.  Watch Orangutan Foundation’s Cathy Smith talking at Compass Ethical Travel Conference about ethical volunteering.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=213&v=3KM4ZBLvo38

If you want to spend a unique 3 weeks doing something worthwhile for orangutan conservation and see orangutans in the wild, then why not make this the year to join us? To find out more please click here or contact us.

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

Baby orangutan born

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.

Help us to ensure these orangutans remain in the wild and that their forest home stays protected. Click here to donate today!

Orangutan Foundation - a future for orangutans, forests & people

Wild cats at Pondok Ambung station, Indonesian Borneo

Below are some images taken from camera traps at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park. In 2017, Orangutan Foundation, awarded three research scholarships to Indonesian students. One of them is Reza Bayu Firmansyah. Reza is conducting research on the density and distribution of wild cat species to complete his Master's Degree at UGM - Gajah Mada University.

Around the Pondok Ambung Research Station area our staff and Reza think there are 3 individual clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) all from one family. A male, female and juvenile this based on their size and where they where and when they were photographed.

Clouded leopards are a threatened species and it is vital that we learn more about them. Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is located in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo and is run by the Orangutan Foundation in co-operation with Tanjung Puting National Park Authority.

Please donate to support our work.

Thank you.

 

 

 

Orphaned infant orangutans "at home" in the forest.

“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.

An Orangutan Foundation snapshot - 2017

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.

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

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.

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Challenging but successful orangutan rescue from beach resort

“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.

Orangutan Foundation pick up truck

 

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.

Please donate now to support our work.

 

 

"All my days in the field are special, but on occasion something really exciting happens - a fight between two male orangutans and we were able to film it." - Ashley Leiman OBE

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.

Yoko. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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.

Thank you.

Ashley Leiman OBE, Director

An interview with Jakir - Patrol Manager, Orangutan Foundation

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

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.

Changeable hawk eagle released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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.

Jakir - Patrol Manager, with Ashley Leiman OBE - Director, Orangutan Foundation

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.

 

Meet Aan the orangutan

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, but unfortunately, not all have a second chance in the wild. Aan

Aan, 2013. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan is a blind orangutan. She first came to us in 2012, having been found stranded on an oil-palm plantation, after being shot over 100 times with an air gun. The injuries sustained left Aan blind. You can read more about her rescue here.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In 2016, we arranged for an ophthalmic surgeon to visit Aan to see if there was any chance of restoring her sight, with the hope that one day she could return to the wild. Aan underwent surgery but it soon became clear that the damage sustained was too severe and Aan would be permanantly blind.

Aan, blind orangutan. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan lives in a purpose-built enclosure at Camp Gemini, where our vet clinic is located, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Our staff give her the best quality of life that is possible, but sadly Aan can never return to the forest, where she belongs.

Aan in her permanent enclosure, with enrichment. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan’s story serves as a heartbreaking reminder that the threat to orangutans caused by habitat loss is a very real one. Please support our care of Aan during Orangutan Awareness Week by donating here.