Orangutan Awareness Week

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.

Meet Kotim the orangutan

It is Orangutan Awareness Week and each day we will bring you a story about the orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Thanks to your support we are protecting their forest home the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and keeping them wild and free. Kotim

Kotim, February 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Kotim was rescued in 2014. She was handed over to Orangutan Foundation after being illegally kept as pet. Sadly, we can only assume that her mother was killed.

Kotim, 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

At three-years-old Kotim was too young to be released back into the wild and so entered into the care of our Soft-Release Programme, at Camp Rasak in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Kotim joined another infant orphan, Torup. They became playmates and together practised their nest-building and climbing skills.

Kotim and Torup in the trees, 2016. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

By April 2016, Kotim was deemed to have all the skills needed to survive in the forest and was successfully released. She is still occasionally seen by Orangutan Foundation staff. In December 2016, Kotim was seen with adult female orangutan Acuy and her infant, Ariel.

Acuy and Ariel. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Support Kotim during Orangutan Awareness Week. Please donate to help us protect her tropical forest home. Keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

Please donate here.

Here's a video of Kotim whilst under our care in our Soft-Release Programme:

Meet Bangkal 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. Bangkal

Bangkal, dominant male of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In the late 1980’s Bangkal was an orphaned infant, being kept as a pet. He was rescued, rehabilitated over many years, and then released into Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo.

Bangkal in 2000. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In 2000, when illegal logging was rife in Indonesia’s National Parks, Bangkal became the victim of a horrifying incident. Illegal loggers threw hot oil over him resulting in a burn down his face and neck.

During his recovery, Bangkal protected himself from annoying insects, by using a blanket to cover his injured face. Once recovered, Bangkal was released again but this time into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Now aged around 28 years-old, cheek-padded Bangkal is magnificent. He is the dominant male around Camp Gemini and is thought to have fathered many offspring.

Bangkal, during a visit to the feeding station by Camp Gemini. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Support Bangkal during Orangutan Awareness Week! Please donate here to help us protect Bangkal in his forest home.

Meet Holahonolulu 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. Holahonolulu

Holahonolulu in 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Holahonolulu is a wild born adult female orangutan. Her mother, Huber, was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in around 2000 and Holahonolulu was born in 2004. Huber unfortunately passed away in 2012.

Holahonolulu in 2016, with a wild male. Image© Sophie Hanson.

Holahonolulu is often seen by Orangutan Foundation staff at the feeding station, close to Camp Gemini. She been observed with Bangkal, a dominant male, mating on several occasions.  Orangutans have a gestation period of about 9 months, it is slightly shorter than humans. Watch this space for the announcement of a new arrival in a few months’ time!

Bangkal, dominant male in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

We are delighted when released orangutans go on to produce future generations. The orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve are now a healthy, viable and growing population.

Support Holahonolulu during Orangutan Awareness Week here! Please donate to help us protect her tropical forest home.

It's Orangutan Awareness Week - go orange, go wild!

It's that time of year again to show your colours for orangutans.  Whether at school, work or home do something for orangutans this week! A huge thank you to everyone who is taking part. If you haven't done so let us know what you are up to. Remember you could win a fabulous Body Shop hamper (worth over £100) if you come top in one of the following categories: 'Most Fundraised Income,' 'Most Inventive Use Of Orange' and 'Most PR Generated' - a great incentive to get involved!

A special thank you to:

The Body Shop Foundation  - check out the Body Shop's Sumatran Trekker's awesome online auction this week.

1st Crichton Brownies who are holding an orangutan cafe, dressing in orange and as orangutans and are being waitresses for the evening.

Pam Swan who is organising an orange themed tea party, raffle and bring & buy sale.

Colchester Zoo are celebrating this week and are going orange on wednesday 14th November.

Christy Harrison is organising an ape-themed film and live music night at local pub in London.

Check out Orangutan Republic Foundation for a list of what is happening internationally.

And just in case you need a little reminder of why....

Here's Joson, a 4-year old orphaned orangutan, rescued last month by Orangutan Foundation.

Thank you

From everyone at Orangtan Foundation






Orangutans in London.

Just received this photo and comment from Le Pain Quotidien (the sustainable and community-aware bakery and restaurant) who have been helping us celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week in London. Orangutan outside LPQ

I bet this wasn't in the job description!

"I worked very hard raising cash instead of hosting as it's impossible to do anything in that costume. I only had 1 banana and there was definitely no monkey business. Also I now stink."

Thank you LPQ!

Thanks Sheryl for spreading the word on your blog (http://nothoney.wordpress.com)and at work - much appreciated.

The Origin of Orangutan Awareness Week - by Gary Shapiro, Ph.D. Chairman, Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative.

Todays blog is a guest post by Gary Shapiro, Ph.D. Chairman, Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative. logo

Many orangutan groups work throughout the year to raise funds to support projects in Indonesia and Malaysia where wild and rehabilitant orangutans are found. But in 1995 when I was vice president of OFI, I began promoting the idea of a special week for orangutans as a way to focus collective attention on the plight of the species. While it was started under OFI’s banner, Orangutan Awareness Week became increasingly celebrated each year in November by more and more organizations and individuals.

At schools, zoos, malls, parks, restaurants and other public places, people learned about the orangutan and why its survival is being threatened. Importantly, people learned how they could help save the orangutan by participating with the various organizations that were doing the important work in the field.

In late 2004, my wife Inggriani and I started a new organization, the Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative (OUREI), and asked Parliament member and former Miss Indonesia, Angelina Sondakh to be our Indonesian “Ambassador”.

Angelina Sodakh

Angelina Sondakh - photo from Orang Utan Republik

One of the first things we did was lobbying the Indonesian government to recognize and support Orangutan Awareness Week through OUREI. During the process, it was suggested that the name be changed to Orangutan Caring Week as the Indonesian word for “awareness” did not sound as good as the word, “caring”. It also occurred to us that Orangutan Caring Week conveyed a more appropriate level of involvement we were seeking by the Indonesian people. We all agreed that being aware about orangutans was not enough. Collectively articulating a concern about orangutans would lead to the people demanding that more be done to save the species. So in November 2005, the Indonesian Minister of Forestry in a press conference at the Parliament Building, officially proclaimed “Pekan Peduli Orangutan” or Orangutan Caring Week.

Orangutan in Mall

Sumatran Orangutan Education Consortium pass out information and meet with visitors to Sun Plaza Mall, Medan. Photos from Sumatran Orangutan Education Consortium.

A dozen Indonesian conservation and orangutan groups held an exhibition in the lobby of the Parliament Building in celebration of the special week. The press and television media helped spread the message to millions of people throughout the archipelago.

With official recognition, Orangutan Caring Week has been celebrated in Indonesia each year since that time.

OCW 2007 - drawing

Children's drawing classes, OCW 2007. Photo from the Sumatran Orangutan Education Consortium.

photo fair 2007

Photo fair at Islamic University of North Sumatra 2007 - Photo from the Sumatran Orangutan Education Consortium

Every year the event spreads to more cities and organizations including Java, Borneo, Sumatra and Bali. It is also acknowledged in other countries around the world including the UK, Australia, and the USA. While some organizations are still continuing to promote Orangutan Awareness Week, we should remember it is the collective message that is most important. Surely if we do our job well, we can enroll people to not only become aware of the species but to move them to action.

This year, Orangutan Caring Week and Orangutan Awareness Week are being celebrated over a 2 week period. From November 9-22 orangutan organizations and inspired people will be hosting a variety of events at various locales. On the island of Sumatra for example, the Sumatran Orangutan Consortium, an association of eight organizations (including Sumatran Orangutan Society, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, Fauna and Flora International, the Orangutan Caring Club, Friends of the Orangutan, Leuser Foundation, the Orangutan Conservation Services Program, and OUREI Indonesia) will be holding a rally in Medan Square, passing out literature, screening films, and having open discussions on college campus.

Organizations in other countries will also be participating in events to draw attention to the great ape’s plight. In the UK , Orangutan Foundation will be holding “Orange for Orangutan Day” on November 14 and other awareness activities during the week. The Sumatran Orangutan Society will be holding events at Oxford University and surrounding areas. The Australian Orangutan Project has events taking place in a couple of their chapter regions: Western Australia and Queensland. Zoos such as the Greater Los Angeles Zoo are using the opportunity to increase awareness about all the apes including the chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan and gibbon (Ape Awareness Day: November 9). San Diego Zoo is holding Great Ape Awareness Days, November 13-16).

For more information about Orang utan Republik and how you can help visit www.orangutanrepublik.org

Thank you,

Gary Shapiro

Make it an orangutan week!

It's Orangutan Awareness Week 2008! A focus for groups or individuals to hold fundraising events and raise awareness of the threats to orangutans and their rainforest habitat. Stephen will be blogging throughout the week and we will also bring you a couple of guest posts. Gary Shapiro, Orangutan Republik Education Initiative will blog about how Orangutan Awareness Week began and Ian Singleton from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme will report about their efforts to save the Tripa Swamps in Sumatra. This year we decided to highlight the important role the orangutan’s habitat, the tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra, has in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation is the second largest cause of global warming. Andrew Mitchell, Director of the forest conservation organisation, Global Canopy Programme and a trustee of the Orangutan Foundation said, “If deforestation is the front line for forests in the war on climate change then orangutans are the ambassadors being burnt at the stake. Emissions from deforestation are equivalent to 36 million people flying from London to New York every day and unless this is halted we will lose the fight against Global Warming. The global community has one year to agree a workable mechanism for including forest emissions in the global climate deal to be agreed next year in Copenhagen. We along with our orange cousins watch with fear and hope." Read Andrew Mitchell's Director's Journal. Close up

I know Stephen has used this photo before but I think it is well worth using again.

Orangutan Foundation programmes protect orangutan habitat by preventing the destruction and burning of the tropical forests and this helps to reduce global warming. We are also investigating whether it is possible to utilise carbon markets in order to conserve the Belantikan Hulu Forests. Please visit our website to find out more about what we are doing and how you can help. View short film on Tanjung Puting National Park   If you're doing something for orangutans this week we'd love to hear from you and it still isn't too late - go orange for orangutans this Friday!

Brigitta, many thanks for your monthly donation - this regular support is very important to us.

Thank you,


Orangutan Foundation (UK Office).

Go orange for orangutans!

Hello again, Stephen is hard at work showing EU correspondents all of our programmes in the field at the moment, so I thought I would use the opportunity to a) ease his workload and b) let everyone know about Orangutan Awareness Week.

Orange Day Poster

Put the dates in your diary now!

The 10th - 16th November is Orangutan Awareness Week. This week was initiated over 10 years ago with the intention of creating a focal point for fundraising and awareness activities for our supporters. This year we decided that we want to make it easier for more people to be a part of this event and so I came up with the idea of “Orange for Orangutan Day” on Friday 14th November. The concept is simple: as an individual you wear orange clothing, an orange wig, or even dye your hair orange to raise awareness and generate funds for our conservation programmes.

To make it work even better, we ask you to organise your own Orange for Orangutan Day, maybe at work or at school. If everyone involved pays just £1 or $1.50 to do this then we will be able to raise huge amounts of money to invest in conserving the orangutans and their forest home. Interest so far has been amazing, and we are really excited about how people are cottoning on to the idea. In London, restaurants are putting orangutan dishes (tropical fruit salads or sweet potato "orange" mash) on their Special's menu and a London taxi cab will be driving around with an orangutan (not real of course) passenger!

In Indonesia, Yayorin, our partner organisation, are focusing their efforts for Orangutan Awareness Week in and around Pangkalan Bun. They are showing films at schools and villages; participating in a talk show on a local radio station; and putting up campaign banners in strategic points in the town of Pangkalan Bun.

On this blog, during 10th -16th November, we hope to bring you some guest posts. Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation, from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is going to post for us. So make sure you check out this blog during Orangutan Awareness Week.

Go on, go orange for orangutans!

Please go to our website for more information about how you can become involved and for fundraising materials.

Many thanks,