Rehabilitation

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

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.

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.

Wonderful images of young Bornean orangutans learning to survive in the wild

Here’s another field update, with some wonderful images, from Orangutan Foundation vet Steven Daud, on some of the younger orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.   A couple of days ago, we made our routine health and monitoring visits to Camp Rasak and Camp JL, two orangutan release camps, within the Wildlife Reserve. This journey is by speedboat as the camps can only be accessed by river.

Our first stop was Camp Rasak, where orangutans Jessica, Timtom and Endut live. These orangutans are on a soft-release programme.

Young rescued Bornean orangutans Timtom and Endut, being taken out of their enclosure to play in the forest. © Orangutan Foundation

We took Jessica, Timtom and Endut out from their enclosure so they can learn to make a nest and play in the trees. Jessica’s ability to make the nest is clearly visible. While Timtom and Endut are seen to be very brave exploring the trees, where they hone their skills of survival.

Every-which-way hips. Timtom making use of her arboreal adaptations! © Orangutan Foundation

Young Bornean orangutan, Endut, learning to survive in the wild. © Orangutan Foundation

Young Bornean orangutan, Jessica. December 2016. © Orangutan Foundation

Nowadays, the weather is unpredictable which has caused Timtom to catch a cold. We are giving Timtom vitamin supplements and medication to help her get healthy again.

Timtom, young Bornean orangutan receiving treatment for a cold. © Orangutan Foundation

After Camp Rasak we got back into the speedboat and went to camp JL to monitor Okto and Ketty.  Before orangutans can be fully released back into the wild they must be able to make a nest to sleep in. Ketty has shown that she can make a nest. However, Okto still has difficulty with this skill and sometimes even tries to interrupt Ketty's nest-building.

Young Bornean orangutan, Ketty. Learning to survive in the wild. © Orangutan Foundation

Vet with young Bornean orangutan, Okto. December 2016. © Orangutan Foundation

Bornean orangutan, Okto, playing in the trees.© Orangutan Foundation

 

Orangutan Foundation vet treating Okto and Ketty.  © Orangutan Foundation

In terms of health, Okto and Ketty are both in good condition and this is maintained by giving them vitamin supplements. To minimise disease transmission between the orangutans and humans, staff in contact with the orangutans must wear gloves and masks.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Regards,

Steven (Orangutan Foundation Vet)

As always, we are immensely grateful to the Orangutan Foundation staff in Indonesia for their hard work and commitment. You can support this work by Adopting Okto (a unique Christmas present of real value) by visiting our online shop. There are plenty of other wonderful Christmas present ideas too.  Last day for ordering before Christmas is Friday 16th December.  Thank you.

The Fruits of Our Labour

k OktoDSC_7119 Spring has brought with it a plentiful fruiting season to Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, meaning orangutans don’t need to be visiting our camp feeding sites to compensate for food shortages anymore. Because of this, our field staff aren’t seeing nearly as many orangutans as they did earlier in the year!

That is why we were especially excited to catch a glimpse of one of our rescued orangutans, Okto, playing in the trees this week. As a young juvenile, Okto has been part of our soft-release programme for the past 6 months. This programme is for young orangutans that need extra monitoring and care. They are taken daily to the forest to learn about their natural food resources and to practice their climbing.

Now that the fruiting season has begun, Okto has been seen to be enjoying climbing as well as finding all the right fruits to feed himself with. This comes as wonderful news to the Foundation, as it is proof that our soft-release programme is good preparation for an orangutan to survive in the wild.

fbDSC_7074

[Okto eating ubar fruits]

k Okto DSC_7067

[Okto not eating ubar fruits…]

 

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.

Learning to be free!

Ivan who hold wood stairs DSC_3117 You may wonder about the ladder in this photo… In this case, it’s because Ivan and Yuli are reluctant to come back down from the tree, the staff – using the ladder – can reach them high in the tree, and bring them back to their cage for safety. Ivan in the soft release DSC_3123

After one year in soft release (and using the ladder!), Ivan has now graduated to spending all his time in the forest, with no need to come back to the cage at night! As always, he still travels with Yuli (see some of their story - click here).

 

They are great companions; the same age, both developing through their soft release at the same time. After one year, they were both released together – a great release to witness! We are hopeful Ivan will become a mature, confident male in the future…

Direct quote from our Vet… “Don’t know if someday Ivan will become mature male, we hope so, or even dominant and then what happen? are they still together?. Together or not, we are all happy to know that they were survive in the forest.”

mc mantra offspring DSC_5983

The Foundation’s relationship with individual orangutans will ideally be short, as we can translocate fit and healthy individuals straight away. Sometimes the process of soft release can take some time, but whatever care the orangutans need, the Camp staff and Foundation vet are ready and waiting to improve the lives of those rescued. To find out more about the Foundation’s Translocation and Release Programme, please click here. You can make a donation to this life saving work here.

Breaking News from the field : Melan released

Individuals from injured and homeless to healthy and free in the wild!..  Melan was the orangutan who we rescued back in April, who had the head wound that required our vet to stitch the skin back together over the top of the head - a tricky job! This is the sort of wound that any individual would almost certainly die from if left untreated.

Fantastic news reached the London office from our staff in Indonesia; Melan was released on Friday the 20th of September, just last week.

She had been in a soft release cage for her safety while her wound was healing since April, healing and regaining her health before being ready to be released. As Ashley was there as the vet was stitching up her wound back in May, it was fantastic that Ashley and the STEPPES groups where there at during the release.

 

After she was let out of the release cage, she looked around for just a few seconds... Then she made straight for the trees at some speed - as she had never been away.

 

 

 

 

She will be followed for about ten days, to make sure she is confident in finding food and making nests! Hopefully after that point, our experienced staff will know she's going to be absolutely fine for the rest of her free-running-days. If they can keep up with her that is!

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orangutan Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Workshop

Tomorrow sees the start of a 3 day workshop on orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction at the Bogor Agricultural University, on the island of Java, Indonesia. The workshop will be attended by all stakeholders related to orangutan conservation issues but with a particular focus on those involved with rehabilitation and reintroduction. This includes, government agencies, private sector, academics, N.G.O.’s and individuals. Pak Hudi, (our Programme Coordinator), Pak Tigor (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager), Dr Fiqri (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) and Pak Uduk (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Camp Coordinator) left Kalimantan today to attend on behalf of the Orangutan Foundation. They will share the Foundation’s experience of successfully reintroducing and translocating orangutans into the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. We are also sponsoring the participation of Pak Eko Novi (Head of section II of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan) whom we work closely with in the Lamandau reserve.

Hudi will bring news on how the workshop went. We'd like to thank Lisa B for her donation of $50 and Matthew K for your monthly donation of $35 - thank you for your continued support!

Keep sending us your comments and questions,

Cathy -Orangutan Foundation UK office

Getting To Know Some Real Orangutan Characters!

Newman the orangutan was released at Camp Siswoyo however he currently prefers to hang around at a different camp in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Camp Gemini. Bornean orangutan called Newman

Newman - Bornean orangutan

Newman is quite a “naughty” orangutan and camp staff have to be on their guard, especially around the door to the food supply. One morning Newman tried to open a closed door so the camp staff have affectionally nicknamed him “Kutu Camp” (in Indonesian 'kutu' means a fan or something you really like) for all his antics.

Currently every night, Newman sleeps around Camp Gemini, and early in the morning, he ambles after the staff for feeding. He knows that he’ll not get fed in camp, only at the feeding site. After the feeding, instead of heading off like the other orangutans, Newman then follows the staff back to camp to continue his daily routine, which includes annoying the camp staff! This is a light hearted story about one of the orangutans I have encountered so far, I hope to bring you some more soon.

Thank you,

Dr Fikri - Lamdandau Vet

Zidane, a hairier and healthier orangutan

On Sunday we were back at Camp Buluh, one of our orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where we caught up with the orangutan Zidane. He is still very thin but his hair is coming back and, most importantly, he was bright-eyed and very active. Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Zidane - a healthier looking orangutan.

He watched me wash my hands and then sidled over for a drink. A more boisterous orangutan (like Barita who was watching from a distance) would have tried to snatch the bucket himself but not Zidane, he waited for the water to be scooped out and poured into his mouth.

Stephen Brend with Zidane

Zidane (orangutan) and Stephen.

Barita - Male Bornean Orangutan

Barita - the more bositerous orangutan.

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Sheryl asked what was involved in a “weight-gain” diet. Because Zidane readily drinks milk, Dr. Fikri has bought a supply of high-protein/high-carbohydrate formula. On top of that, the staff are making sure he eats whenever he wants to and so carry extra rations just for him. The trick is in balancing the amount of nutritious formula he receives against giving him too much, which will end up acting as an appetite suppressant. It is important that he keeps on eating.

If you can help us purchase digital cameras for Mr Tigor (Orangutan Reintroduction Programme Manager) and Dr Fikri (new Lamandau vet) we would be most grateful. I simply can not get into Lamandau often enough to monitor Zidane and the other orangutans' progress but, like I am sure you do to, I am keen to see how they are getting on.

Many thanks,

Stephen

Zidane watching as we leave. All photos by Astri Siregar

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Meet our new vet for the orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Please meet Dr. Fikri, our new vet, for the orangutans in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Dr Fikri and Tigor

Mr Tigor our Orangutan Reintroduction Programme Manager, is on the left (reluctant to stand still and smile!) and Dr Fikri is on the right.

Dr Fikri is a graduate from the prestigious Bogor Agricultural Institute, Indonesia and, as part of his work experience, spent six months at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine in 2004. His last job was vaccinating poultry against bird flu. While he felt it was a necessary task (the bird flu epidemic continues here) he says he could not wait to get back to wildlife work.

Lamandau Vet Clinic

Dr Fikri's clinic in Lamandau.

Vet Accomodation - Lamandau

Accomodation

With funding from the Gemini Foundation we have established a small clinic and accomodation for him at Camp Gemini (again, generously funded by the Gemini Foundation), which is the most central of our five release camps, and we are in the process of acquiring all the necessary anaesthetics and other veterinary medicines. In the meantime, Fikri is being busy getting to know the orangutans. He has put Zidane on a special weight-gain diet. Zidane’s starting weight is 28kg and we’ll let you know as he improves.

I do have a request for you though. Please could you help us raise $250 - $300 that we need to buy two robust digital cameras? Tigor and Fikri require them for identifying orangutans and taking case photos. They promise to post their pictures on Wildlife Direct!

Here’s a sample of mine from my day out with them yesterday. I have no doubt Tigor and Fikri’s pictures would be better!

Thank you.

Ex-captive orangutan, Gorzitze

Gorzitze, an orangutan in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Ex-captive orangutan, Queen and her infant

Released orangutan, Queen and her infant in Lamandau.

The People Who Look After The Orangutans

Having told you about Zidane, I thought you might be interested to learn a little about the people who are looking after him day to day. He and twelve other orangutans live around Camp Buluh which is supported by the Australian Orangutan Project and is one of six orangutan release camps the Orangutan Foundation operates in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Six people are employed there; five field assistants and a cook. Their daily duties at Camp include preparing food and feeding the orangutans twice a day, monitoring the orangutans, keeping records, clearing trails, clearing the river and other camp tasks. Camp Buluh, like all the other Camps, comprises a kitchen and dining hall, sleeping block and toilet/washroom. Unlike the other camps though, Camp Buluh is totally surrounded by swamps. There is no dry ground anywhere near by. This does make following the orangutans difficult and especially so last year when there was no noticeable dry-season. Water levels varied from knee to waist deep for most of the year!

Camp Buluh Staff

The team at Camp Buluh

The Field Assistants generally spend 26 days at a time at Camp. Back in November (Bringing the office to our orangutan release camps) all the staff were enrolled in the Government's Health Insurance scheme which provides cover to both them and their families.

Huge thanks to the Camp Buluh team who do a fantastic job.

Zidane - Orangutan Back to the Forest

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that Zidane was re-release at Camp Buluh, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, on 19 January. His recovery is down to the excellent care (which included two blood transfusions) he received from the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine facility. Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Zidane - male orangutan re-released into Lamandau

Though Zidane appears happy to be back in the forest, he is being monitored very closely as he is still perilously thin. We obviously want to do all in our power to ensure he spends the rest of his life in the forest and so our new vet, Dr Fikri, has been tasked to develop a special dietary regime for him to ensure he gains weight. We’ll keep you updated on his progress.

Camp Buluh - Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh is one of six orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Since September 2006, 13 ex-captive orangutans have been reintroduced at Camp Buluh and three wild orangutans have been translocated from vulnerable situations outside the reserve. Omang -Adolecent Male Bornean Orangutan

Omang, one of the ex-captive adolescent male orangutans, seen regularly around Camp Buluh.

After the incident with Zidane (an update to follow soon) an orangutan holding cage has been built at Camp Buluh. This is necessary to allow the care and treatment of orangutans in Lamandau.

Camp Buluh - Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh and the orangutan holding cage.

The future for the orangutans in Lamandau looks encouraging. The Forestry Department's involvement has increased and the reserve's protection has been strengthened. The new guard post, called “Bird Lake Post” that was constructed to prevent access to into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve via the Buluh River became operational at the end of December. In 2008, only 3 cases of illegal logging were discovered, all outside of the reserve border. This is down from 2007 when 12 cases were identified in and around the reserve.

Map Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Map showing Camp Buluh and the guard posts in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

We are extremely grateful to the Australian Orangutan Project for their continued support in Lamandau.

Out of the office and back to the forest, at last!

Stephen’s just emailed to say that today he’s heading to Camp Buluh, one of the five orangutan release camps, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Hopefully early next week he should have some interesting stories to share. I think he’s relieved to be out of the office and back to the forest! Thank you Matthew K for your most recent donation we really appreciate your ongoing support. People might also be interested to know that Orangutan Foundation 2009 calendars are going half price at £4.50. They are full of beautiful photos of the orangutans of Tanjung Puting National Park. To purchase a calendar please visit Orangutan Foundation online shop

2009 Orangutan Foundation Calendar

For those of you wishing to make your calendar that extra bit special then how about bidding for a unique 2009 calendar which has been signed by one of our famous supporters, Sir David Attenborough.

The calendar will go to the highest bidder on Wildlife Direct and the auction ends on Friday 13th (!). You can place your bid by leaving a comment with the bid amount on the post entitled "Orangutan Calendar Auction".

Orangutans and Holidays

Some months ago one of our readers asked after an orangutan at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine called Roland. Roland

Roland

Roland came to us on 28 July 2004. Today, he is a boisterous 23 kg youngster. I am sorry it has taken me so long to ‘track him down’ but every other time I have been to the Care Centre recently he has been out in the nursery forest.

This week I also caught up with Violet who continues to grow and develop with no hint of her tragic start in life.

Violet Dec 08

Violet with carer

Violet Dec 08

Violet

One of our readers, Mara, who spent some time with us earlier in the year asked me to look out for Maggie, one of her favourite orangutans. Maggie was not an orangutan I knew, but she quickly became one of my favourites too.

Maggie

Maggie

Zidane (see post A Very Sick Orangutan)was out in the forest. Though he is still very thin he is well on his way to making a complete recovery.

And that ended my ‘orangutan time’ for the year. I am now heading to Australia for Christmas with my family. I would like to thank you all for the support you have given us, and the interest you have shown in our work throughout the year. I wish you all very best for the festive season and every success for 2009. You’ll hear from us again early in the New Year.

Many thanks,

Stephen

Fed Up…

To start with the fun stuff, I was over at the Care Centre today. As always I was saddened by the number of orangutans we have in captivity but I was still amused by some of their antics. Of course, I popped over to see Montana who I thought was looking particularly like King Kong.OCCQ November 2008

OCCQ November 2008

OCCQ November 2008

A few of the hundreds of orangutans at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine

Montana Nov 2008

Montana

Unfortunately, my general mood was less than cheery. I don’t wish to burden you with my whinging but I am really fed up. For the whole of this year the electricity supply here in Pangkalan Bun has been abysmal but this month has been extraordinary. Every second day we suffer a four to five hour black out. Today, we had no electricity from 9 am to 4 pm, hence my trip to the Care Centre. Throw into the mix a truly awful internet connection and you have a recipe for frustration. Last night I had to do emails on a 14kbs dial-up connection.

I promised the UK Office I would be better at writing my blog more regularly. I hope you can understand now why it is not always so easy….

No doubt things will get better so thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest!

Stephen.

- Mara, thank you very much for your $50 donation.

Are released orangutans really in the wild?

Bernadette thanks for your interest and yesterday’s question: Is the feeding site to ensure that the released orangutans can get food if they aren’t able to in the wild? I’d like to know more about how the release site will function? Is it a huge enclosure, or is it really the wild? Rehabilitated orangutans, released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, are given supplementary feedings every day. This ensures they maintain their physical condition during the transition period from life at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine (OCCQ) to life in the wild. The feedings also decrease potential competition with wild orangutans and they allow us to monitor the released individuals. Frequently, the only time they are seen is when they come in for food.

Orangutan in Lamandau

Orangutan in Lamandau

Orangutans in Lamandau (sorry the photos are so dark).

As for the question of how wild it is: it is definitely wild. The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve has no fences. It is 760km2 most of which is forested. As you can see from the attached map, our guard posts protect the buffer zone (between the Reserve and the Lamandau River) which adds to the area available to the orangutans.

Map Lamandau and Guard Posts

Just yesterday we counted six species of birds as we ate lunch on the jetty. During the time the volunteers were staying there they saw, red leaf-eating monkeys, proboscis monkeys, pig-tailed macaques (very rarely seen), a mouse deer and some snakes (admittedly the snakes were not so popular!).

They also saw leeches. However, let’s not be too hard on leeches as abundant leeches are a good indicator of a healthy mammal population; after all they do not exist just to prey on you and me. So even the leeches help answer your question. It is wild.

Thanks,

Stephen