Oil Palm Plantations

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

 

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.

Cautious optimism for blind orangutan Aan

Claudia Hartley, the ophthalmic surgeon, and her team in Borneo have been in touch to say they are cautiously optimistic that the procedure, to remove the cataract from Aan's eye, has worked. The optic nerve looked fine, which is a great sign. Aan took a long time to come round from the anaesthetic and her eyes were still closed as it started to get dark. Orangutan Foundation field staff will keep a close eye on Aan overnight and Claudia and her team will return in the morning to assess Aan’s vision.

We are still keeping our fingers crossed that her vision will be good enough for her to be released back into the wild.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to help Aan.  We will keep you updated when we hear more from the field.

Here's a short video of Aan, before the operation.

[video width="960" height="544" mp4="http://www.orangutan.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/VID-20170202-WA0000-1.mp4"][/video]

 

 

Second chance for blind orangutan

A blind Bornean orangutan, who was rescued from an oil-palm plantation, may have her sight restored and live in the wild again. The Orangutan Foundation have been caring for the orangutan, named Aan, since 2012 when she was found with 104 air rifle pellets in her, 37 lodged in her head. A three-hour operation removed 32 of the pellets but she was left blind which meant she couldn’t be returned to the wild. Blind Bornean orangutan, named Aan, is currently blind in both eyes.

An ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness.  On examination, the ophthalmologist discovered there is a very high chance of restoring sight to one of Aan’s eyes.

Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan's eye

 

 

Ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, examines Aan's eye.

Claudia Hartley will return to Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, with colleagues and specialist equipment in February 2017. They will operate to remove a cataract and, if successful, Aan will be returned to the wild, despite still being blind in one eye.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan's skull, showing pellets.

Aan is currently living in a purpose-built enclosure in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is where she will also hopefully begin her transition to living wild again.

Blind Bornean orangutan, Aan, in her enclosure, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

 

The Orangutan Foundation actively protect the forests and precious wildlife within with guard posts and river patrols. This year, an extension to the Reserve was agreed by the Indonesian Government, adding an area the size of Guernsey to the protected forests. At a time when orangutans are critically endangered, due to habitat loss, this is a conservation success story.

Support the Orangutan Foundation and have your donation doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge from midday Tuesday 29 November to midday Friday 2 December https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/futurefororangutans

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

Protection begins with education

This Tuesday a wild orangutan was found dead in an oil-palm plantation. The Foundation vet, Dr Wawan, performed the necropsy, from which it was clear that the orangutan had been lying dead on the ground for three days before plantation staff found her. The review also showed that she had died from two severe puncture wounds. As a result, this case is now under investigation by our partners at the BKSDA. Even with all the work we do to towards education and human-orangutan conflict mitigation, there continue to be cases like these. The plantation where the orangutan was found is located within the Lamandau district where the Foundation does the bulk of its orangutan reintroduction work. In such close proximity to an area that we strive to protect and make safe for the orangutans we release, it is always alarming to find such animosity.

penemuan orangutan IMG_7354Our work to raise awareness and to educate local communities about endangered orangutans is more important than ever.

Help us to protect wild orangutans from fates such as these.

 

Palm oil - what does it mean on the ground? Best next stepping stones...

Recently the Ashley Leiman (Director and Trustee, Orangutan Foundation) presented a well received talk, entitled "Palm Oil Development and Biodiversity Conservation". Here is the message in brief, addressing the ever popular and confusing topic of Palm Oil within modern day orangutan and habitat conservation...

Some facts and figures...

  • Indonesia is now the world’s largest producer of palm oil, and together with Malaysia, they produce over 80% of the world’s palm oil.
  • This has brought major economic benefits to both countries. For example, according to CIFOR, in 2008, production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) in Indonesia generated revenues of $ 12.4 billion dollars from foreign exchange exports and $ 1 billion dollars from export taxes;
  • whilst employment generated directly by the palm oil industry in Indonesia in 2013 was estimated to be 3.2 million people.

Despite these major economic benefits, NGO’s have questioned the environmental and health costs involved. Of the 8 million hectares that are currently under oil palm in Indonesia, CIFOR estimated that at least half has been developed directly by deforestation.

The Indonesian Government hopes to expand the area under oil palm by an additional 4 million hectares so that the current production of CPO can be doubled to 40 million tons annually by 2020. This raises the questions: where will the additional 4 million hectares come from ?

Addressing the biodiversity of primary forests... Compared to oil palm plantations, how much biodiversity exists in primary forests? What options are available as a source of land to develop new areas for oil palm?

Koh & Wilcove (2008) showed that the number of species of birds and butterflies that were recorded in four locations... This shows that if primary forest is converted to oil palm, there is a 77% loss in forest birds, and an 83% loss in forest butterflies. It also shows that the 30-year old selectively-logged forest had largely recovered, to the extent that it contained 84% of the forest birds found in the primary forest.

So, secondary forests DO have the potential to recover all of the original biodiversity of their former primary condition... A review of studies covering a wider range of species by Fitzherbert and Danielsen have supported these results. They found an average of just 15 - 23% of forest species in oil palm.

From the biodiversity perspective, we can conclude that if new oil palm developments were to involve clear-felling existing primary or secondary forests to convert the land ready for planting with oil palm, this would result in devastation for the existing biodiversity, with an 80-85% loss of forest species.

What options are available? Where could there be a source of land to develop new oil palm plantations that do not destroy existing forest?

There is mounting evidence to show that there is already sufficient degraded ‘low-carbon’ lands that are suitable for oil palm, instead of converting existing forests. The World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently launched an initiative to map degraded lands in Indonesia. So far, WRI has identified more than 14 million hectares of such degraded lands in Kalimantan that may be suitable for oil palm production. Not all of this would eventually become productive, however, as some local communities may have alternative proposals.

In theory an area of State Forest Land that is released by the Ministry of Forestry for conversion to oil palm should not normally contain any forest, but the situation in practice is clearly different.

Many plantation companies report that they do have significant areas of forests within the boundaries of their concession. Taken together, these small islands of high biodiversity value provide an important compliment to the State’s total conservation land.

Speaking to people living and working in these areas...

There is a growing conflict developing between orangutans and humans in and around oil palm. This is especially so in Kalimantan. Orangutans that have had their forest home destroyed are often found in remnant forest patches nearby, from where they enter cultivated areas and are labelled as pests. There have been some well-documented cases recently of workers from plantations companies or local communities killing orangutans.

Rescue orangutans from plantations and surrounding forest patches, although fantastic to remove individuals from degraded areas, also raises some problems. Primarily, for example, that given the massive scale of conversion of natural forests in Kalimantan to oil palm or other land-use development, there are not enough suitable forests that can take such an exodus of captured orangutans.

There are solutions...

  1.  We need to change the perception of public and private sector stakeholders that orangutans they encounter outside conservation forests should be captured and sent to rehabilitation centres or relocated elsewhere;
  2. Plantation companies need to be persuaded to set aside high biodiversity forests within their concessions as locally protected conservation areas. This is allowed under current Government regulations, and hence compliant with ISPO criteria for certification.
  3. We need to raise awareness that there are alternative practical solutions, especially on how to deal with crop-raiding cases.  Guidelines on this have been produced by a team from BOS-Indonesia, WWF-Indonesia and UNAS in 2007.

The Orangutan Foundation held a multi-stakeholder workshop. An important resolution was passed in which the participants committed to protect the orangutans within their concession and to exchange best practice experiences on mitigating conflicts with orangutans. To do this, the oil palm companies were urged to ensure they have a conservation plan to properly manage the biodiversity found in the remaining forests within their concession. This plan should be in accordance with the stipulations in the original environmental impact assessment (AMDAL) that should have been conducted before the Permit for Plantation was issued.

Palm oil certification on paper...

Great hope had also been invested in the RSPO as a means of producing palm oil without destruction of rainforests. Regrettably, the palm oil industry has not yet stepped up to the mark to achieve a majority of certified CPO, as currently only 15% of the CPO market comes from certified sources. In addition, there is growing concern that the RSPO’s certification process is not as rigorous as it should be.

This has prompted the establishment of a new group called the Palm Oil Innovation Group; whilst Greenpeace has urged progressive companies to go beyond the standards set by RSPO in their practices. It would be commendable, therefore, if the ISPO criteria included a ban on converting forests and had a stringent certification process.

Overall...

We hope the palm oil industry would consider using existing degraded low-carbon lands in Kalimantan, which have been identified as suitable for oil palm plantation, as this would provide an alternative land source for the industry in line with the Indonesian Government’s CPO target for 2020. Picture6

We believe this can this be achieved without further destruction of these magnificent rainforests and the spectacular biodiversity they contain. Help us via donating or finding out more via asking us anything at info@orangutan.org. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

One hundred invitations were sent out for the workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The conference room was booked for a capacity of 80, we didn’t want the room to look empty in case there were a number of ‘no shows’. I watched as the room began to fill, more chairs had to be brought in, numbers were now up to 90, a good start already. There was a stir of anticipation, as everyone took their seats.

The workshop began with opening remarks by myself, the head of BKSDA (Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources) and the Bupati’s (Mayor) office. I welcomed the participants by acknowledging we were at the workshop because we recognised the issues of human – orangutan conflict which affects both orangutans and humans and hoped by the end of the day we would have addressed these problems and have workable recommendations for the future. I used the story of Aan, an orangutan who was shot and badly injured in an oil palm plantation, as the catalyst for the campaign.

The morning was taken up by presentations from: Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Organization, Forina, National Forum for Corporate Social Responsibility , representatives from Oil Palm plantations and the Ministry of Forestry (PHKA).

In the afternoon the participants broke into two working groups which presented an opportunity for different points of view to be exchanged (of which there were many) and to make recommendations. At this point I don’t believe anyone knew what would come next. As each group presented their finding it became obvious there would be some agreement here. The workshop went far beyond agreement, as the moderator called out the recommendations, there was applause after each one!

Finally it was the moment of the signing. It is one thing to verbally agree, but in Indonesia it is a different matter to put your name to something. At the start of the day no one would have expected to accomplish so much in such a short time. Pak Ade (the moderator) asked, “who will sign?”, slowly one hand was raised and then another, very quickly we realised this was going to be a landmark moment. See the signatories below.

Naturally we had high hopes for the day but this was beyond anyone’s expectations. I closed by thanking all participants (thank you to Rob Stuebing for participating) for their confidence in the Foundation, Yayorin and BKSDA to carry this process forward.

Thank you to The Rufford Foundation for their support and commitment.

Ashley Leiman, Director/Trustee Orangutan Foundation

CONCLUSION

WORKSHOP ON MITIGATION OF CONFLICT BETWEEN HUMAN AND ORANGUTAN IN AND AROUND PALM OIL PLANTATION Pangkalan Bun, June 4, 2013

1. Protect orangutans in the concession area is the company's policy which must be supported by adequate facilities including with an increase in human resources in oil palm plantation (eg the formation of the Task Force) and supported by the Government, in this case Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

2. Agreed to form Communication Forum to follow up Workshop on Human-Orangutan Conflict Mitigation in and around the oil palm plantation which was formed by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, which is facilitated by Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, which consists of plantation companies and related stakeholders;

3. Every company is expected to be able to develop a system on Wildlife Database in the oil palm plantations, which form issued by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

4. Minutes and Conclusions of the Workshop will be sent to each company and will be reported officially by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, the Director General of Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, West Kotawaringin District, and the governor of Central Kalimantan. On behalf of the workshop participants: 1. PT. Gunung Sejahtera Ibu Pertiwi 2. PT. Bumitama Gunajaya Agro 3. PT. Citra Borneo Indah 4. PT. Mustika Sembuluh, Wilmar Plantation 5. PT. Sampoerna Agro 6. PT. SMART Tbk 7. PT. Globalindo Alam Perkasa 8. PT. Indotruba Tengah, Minamas Plantation 9. PT. Union Sampoerna Triputra Persada 10. PT. Surya Sawit Sejati 11. Direktorat Konservasi Keanekaragaman Hayati, Ditjen PHKA, Kementerian Kehutanan 12. Komisi Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia, Ditjen Perkebunan, Kementerian Pertanian 13. Forum Nasional CSR Kesejahteraan Sosial 14. Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Kalimantan Tengah 15. Balai Taman Nasional Tanjung Puting 16. Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Daerah Kotawaringin Barat 17. Forum Orangutan Indonesia (FORINA) 18. WWF Indonesia 19. ZSL 20. BOSF 21. Orangutan Foundation International 22. Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia 23. Orangutan Foundation UK

New cages for rescued orangutans

When orangutans are rescued from oil palm plantations or farmer's land the Indonesian Government's wildlife department, the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA), take the individual apes to their headquarters, where they are officially recorded and their health assessed.  The orangutans and other wildlife species are temporarily held at BKSDA while the authorities decide what should happen to the individual animals. For example, are they able to be released back to wild and, if so, is there a suitable release site? The facilities at the BSKDA office in Pangkalan Bun, the area where we work, are basic and the current holding cages inadequate.

The Orangutan Foundation is assisting BKSDA to build new holding cages for the orangutans, which will help to alleviate suffering and stress.

Here is a recent photo of Aan (the blind orangutan who was rescued from the oil palm plantation) in her cage - she is very active and openly displays her dislike of humans approaching her enclosure.

We are very aware that building new enclosures and holding cages, whilst helping alleviate suffering and improving welfare, isn't solving the problem of orangutans ending up in oil palm plantations.  Yesterday and today the Orangutan Foundation hosted a workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, specifcally focusing on oil palm plantations.  We will bring you an update on how the workshop went this week.

Thank you for your continuing supporting which enables us to work for a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Orangutan Foundation - www.orangutan.org.uk

 

 

 

Update on Tripa from Sumatra

Dr Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), has just sent some information about a new video (watch here) and article (read here) about the forthcoming NBC broadcast on the work of SOCP and the situation in the Tripa Peat Swamps, Sumatra.

For those of you in the US the film will be shown on Rock Center with Brian Williams this THURSDAY 18th October. 

Please also spare a minute to sign this petition www.change.org/saveTripa2

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

 

 

 

 

Worrying trend - another orangutan rescued

 We have received another report from our vet, Dr Fikri, about an orangutan that was rescued from an oil palm plantation. The Central Kalimantan Agency for Natural Resources (SKW II BKSDA) received a report from an oil palm company, PT.TASK III, located in Cempaga District, Sampit, about the presence of an orangutan. The ape had been seen in the plantation eating oil palm fruit. The Orangutan Foundations rescue team and BKSDA arrived at the oil palm plantation and with the plantation staff coordinated a rescue plan and headed straight to where the orangutan had been seen. Luckily she was still there. The orangutan was a female and had been living in the plantation for some time because of the number of nests in trees.

Photo 1. Oil palm plantations PT.TASK III which is adjacent to the plantation owned by the community

Photo 2. Remaining forest around PT.TASK III plantations

Photo 3. Remaining forest around PT.TASK III plantations

Photo 4. Remaining forest adjacent to the PT.TASK III plantations

 

Photo 5. Other land owned by oil palm plantations which have not been planted which is adjacent with PT.TASK III

Photo 6. Orangutan nests in the remaining forest around oil palm plantation

The team did an expert job in darting the orangutan. She was anesthetized quickly with minimal stress and no injuries incurred. Dr Fikri examined her and she was wild female orangutan, around 12 years old and weighing 42 pounds.

Photo 7. Orangutan in the middle of oil palm plantations, before anesthesia

Photo 8. Dr Fikri prepares the anaesthetic 

 

Photo 9. Orangutan has been sedated

 

Photo 10. Examination of the condition of the orangutan

 

Photo 11. Examination  of the orangutan

 

Photo 12. Examination of the orangutan

 

Photo 13. Examination is complete and orangutan is put a holding cage

 

Photo 14. Rescue at plantation completed

 

Photo 15. Orangutan leaves the plantation

Photo 16. Orangutan arrives at the BKSDA Office, Pangkalanbun

 The orangutan was taken to BKSDA Office in Pangkalan Bun. On the 12th June it was decided she was ready to be released into the wild (see images below). Later that morning she was taken by car from the BKSDA office to where the speedboat was waiting. She then began her journey by river into the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. She was released on the Teringin Lama River between Camp Siswoyo and Camp Gemini, two orangutan release camps which are run by the Orangutan Foundation.

The orangutan moved slowly out from the cage and climbed up into the trees. Dr Fikri watched as she climbed away and settled high in another tree and looked around – she seemed to be thinking "Hurray ..... I have been freed....".

At the time of writing this post, the field team informed us of another orangutan found in the vicinity of same plantation. This female’s foot was chained and very swollen.   On examination the orangutan was found to be three months pregnant.  We’ll update you soon.

A male orangutan that we attempted to rescue in April, at the time of filming the Sir Terry Pratchett documentary, is still in the plantation in spite of a number of attempts to rescue him.   The fully adult male moves further towards the river when approached and so the team will wait until they feel it is safe to dart him.

Ashley Leiman, Founder and Director of the Orangutan Foundation, is worried about this recent increase in rescues as it signifies what immense pressure this endangered great ape’s habitat is under.

Photo 17. Orangutan leaving BKSDA office

Photo 18. Orangutan moved to speedboat

 

Photo 19. Orangutan on a speedboat

Photo 20. Journey to the Wildlife Reserve

 

Photo 21. Preparation for release

 

Photo 22.  Dr Fikri opens the cage door

 

Photo 23. Opening cage door

 

Photo 24. Orangutan is free again

 

Photo 25. Orangutan is wild once more!

Photo 26, Dr Fikri watches as orangutan moves away

Photo 27. orangutan in tree, somewhere. 

 Please donate to our latest appeal and support our guard posts and forest patrols: they keep the endangered orangutans and their forest homes safe. (Read letter by Ashley Leiman OBE)

Visiting Orangutan Foundation Programmes

As you will no doubt know from Stephen’s posts about a month ago, I recently ventured out of the London office and over to Pangkalan Bun (Borneo) or, more accurately “the field”. This was not my first time there; my employment here (for my part!) is the result of me being completely overwhelmed by the plight of the orangutans when I stumbled upon the Volunteer Programme in 2001. Amongst other things, I now run the Volunteer Programme here at Orangutan Foundation and continue to get enormous pleasure from arranging for people go over to Indonesia for what pretty much always ends up as a life-changing experience. The small size of the UK office means that I have my fingers in many of the Orangutan Foundation pies and so my trip out there was also to see the programmes that I write about day-in-day-out. In short, it was an amazing trip and reminded me that I work primarily to save the orangutans and their home, something that seems to slip the mind in hectic times.

The highlight was most definitely going to Camp Rasak (orangutan release in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve) and knowing that the orangutans I saw in the trees were primarily orangutans that would have been in the Orangutan Care Centre on my last visit in 2001. A close second was Belantikan. It really is a beautiful area and needs to be saved.

Belantikan Forest

Belantikan Forest

Belantikan Forest

It not only has orangutans but is some of the most amazing forest that I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot). Time is key too – in an eight hour journey there we drove through oil palm for six hours and heavily logged areas for one hour.

oil palm plantations en route to Belantikan

oil palm plantations en route to Belantikan

oil palm plantations en route to Belantikan

Oil Palm Plantation

logging in the Belantikan

Logging on the journey to Belantikan

It really was quite surreal –little dumper trucks carrying kernels or actual palm oil were the only traffic on the road…..and they seemed to infiltrate EVERY bit of land….

Seeing this destruction on the way really enforced how important our work with Yayorin, our Indonesian partners, in Belantikan is for these forests, its wildlife and the local communties who live here.

Catching up with the Volunteer Programme seven years on was one of the main reasons for me to go to Indonesia. I said I'd try and post about my time on the programme so I'll do this in the next few days!

Thanks,

Elly

Development & Volunteer Co-ordinator UK Office