palm oil

Hope for orangutans and their forest home

The Indonesian government has announced a presidential instruction, which ordered ministers and regional administrations to ban issuing permits for new plantations for the next three years. We welcome this much needed action. Orangutans can survive, if given a second chance.

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Three years ago, in September 2015, we rescued an adult orangutan and her 6-year-old from an oil-palm plantation, which they had entered to escape raging forest fires. Our rescue team managed to capture both orangutans. They named the mother Vania and her offspring Venty. They were released into the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

In 2017, Vania was spotted with a newborn, who we named Volvo. Venty, now aged 8-years-old, was still around too.

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This month, field staff at Camp Buluh, in the wildlife reserve, saw Venty (image below) by herself in a tree. They then saw Vania with her very healthy looking one-year-old Volvo.

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These orangutans live in a protected area, which is guarded and patrolled by Orangutan Foundation. However, 80% of wild orangutans live outside protected areas. This 3-year ban on plantation expansion is the life-line this critically endangered species need.

Please DONATE to support our work.

Thank you.

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

VIDEO - Orangutan Foundation's Rescue and Release of a Male Orangutan

We have received this footage from our field staff, of the rescue and release of an adult male orangutan, victim of habitat loss, found stranded in a narrow strip of forest between a village and oil-palm plantation.

Fantastic teamwork by everyone involved meant that this rescue was carried out safely, and the male orangutan was able to be released in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve just two days later, in an area of protected forest habitat.

Help us to protect this forest reserve and ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. Click here for more information.

Thank you.

Severely Malnourished Male Orangutan Rescued from Fragment of Forest in Indonesian Borneo

Orangutan Foundation staff examine tranquilised orangutan. ©Orangutan Foundation. On Monday, 28th August 2017, Orangutan Foundation together with the local wildlife authority, managed to rescue an orangutan, found stranded in a forested area between a village and an oil-palm plantation in Central Kalimantan. The orangutan, an adult male of around 17 years of age, only weighed 80kg - about two thirds its expected weight..

The alarm was raised by one of the villagers, who, seeing the orangutan so close by, was worried the orangutan would destroy his oil-palm plantation, and even enter his own home.

The challenging terrain made it difficult to reach the orangutan. The team had to use a boat to approach the area and then walk about 1km through swamp forest. On arrival, the orangutan was anesthetized to take it to a point of safety.

Team translocate tranquilised orangutan. ©Orangutan Foundation.

This rescue highlights the problem of habitat loss resulting in more wildlife coming into human contact, leading to human-wildlife conflict.

The orangutan will be examined by the Orangutan Foundation’s vet, and then translocated into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, a protected area on 30th August.

To date, 15 orangutans have been rescued in 2017, some being immediately translocated and others, too young for release, will go into the Foundation’s Soft-Release Programme. Please donate to support our rescue and release programme.

Orangutan Foundation Welcomes New Arrival

In September 2015, Central Kalimantan was hit by major forest fires. Many orangutans needed rescuing from areas of burning forest and community land.

One such orangutan was Vania, a 29 year old female orangutan, named after a student who was doing research on orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve at the time. Vania and her 6 year old offspring (named Venty) were rescued from an oil palm plantation and released by Camp Buluh in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Both are now in good health and are still frequently seen in the area. As shared yesterday, field staff have informed us that Vania gave birth on 25th May to an infant they have named Volvo.

 

Vania has been seen around camp since the birth to show off her new arrival.

Welcome Volvo to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve!

Would you like to play an active part in the protection of Volvo's tropical forest home?

Become a guardian of Lamandau and help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. Click here for more information.

The Orangutan Foundation's 5 Programmes in Indonesian Borneo

Watch this short video to learn about our 5 ongoing programmes in Indonesian Borneo:

Please help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. To support our work with a donation, please click here.

Thank you.

Orangutan Foundation: 2016 in pictures and numbers. A huge thank you for your support.

6,000 wild Bornean orangutans live in the Belantikan region. The largest population outside of a protected area. Orangutan Foundation actively engages key stakeholders to conserve this critical tropical forest ecosystem.
 

The Belantikan Forest.

33 wild orangutans rescued. One particularly poignant rescue was Narti, who was found completely stranded, clinging to the burnt remnants of a tree surrounded by oil palms.

Narti was found completely stranded.

 
36 rescues of other wildlife species. All released into the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

A Brahminy Kite rescued by the Foundation.

        

A sunbear pictured shortly after release.

 

A slow loris rescued by Foundation staff.

 

16,000 Ubar tree seedlings nurtured and planted to restore areas of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve damaged by forest fires in 2015.

A nursery worker tending to seedlings.

 
One new patron. Patrick Aryee and Offspring Films visited our work in Borneo to film for “Monkeys: An Amazing Animal Family”, a three-part series which first aired on Sky 1, on Christmas day. Star of the show, was Okto who was charmed by Patrick’s presenting skills!

Okto, our adoption star!

 

Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with Orangutan Foundation Patron Patrick Aryee.

 
Eight volunteers and one new guard post. In July, the construction of Guard Post 25 began. Now up and running, this guard post is critical for the protection of the new 8,000 hectare extension of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

2016 Volunteers.

The newly completed guard post 25.

Our 25th anniversary year saw the opening of Tanjung Harapan’s Information Centre, in Tanjung Tanjung Puting National Park. Renovated by our 2015 volunteers and designed by the Cube in Residence Programme.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the Information Centre.

 

Orangutan Foundation Director Ashley Leiman with the administrative head of Tanjung Puting National Park.

 

Visitors taking in the exhibits in the Information Centre

104 air rifle pellets were found in lodged in orangutan Aan, 32 of which in her head left her blind, in 2012. In October 2016, ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness. 
 

Aan, found blinded by air rifle pellets.

What a wonderful start to 2017 to have the chance to restore Aan's sight. Claudia Hartley will be returning the to field with her team and specialist equipment in February to remove a cataract, currently affecting Aan's vision in her one remaining eye.
DONATE NOW to help us to raise £2000 to fund this vital operation to give Aan a second chance in the wild.

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

 

'Last Tree Standing'

At 5pm on the 4th of February, we received a moving and poignant photograph from the OF-UK rescue teams in Indonesia.

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This orangutan was immediately visible, seen clinging to the top of a tall thin and burnt tree - the only tree in sight in an area overtaken by oil-palm.

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A heart-breaking image like this perfectly sums up the extent of the devastation caused by habitat destruction in Indonesian Borneo. Rainforest habitat is rapidly dwindling, leaving orangutans to search for shelter on community land or in sparse and fragmented areas of forest. Fortunately this 15-year-old female was one of the lucky few: found, rescued and soon to be released.

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The female orangutan, now named Narti, was examined by the OF-UK vet, Dr Wawan, and thought to have eaten palm-shoots as there was no other food around. The shoots from oil-palm plants are not healthy food for orangutans, and are a struggle to digest. Luckily after medication and given time being fed the right foods, Narti will be safely released back into orangutan habitat within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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 Help us to provide stranded orangutans with a new and safe home: http://www.orangutan.org.uk/how-to-help

Share the hashtag #LastTreeStanding to help us build awareness for habitat destruction in Indonesia!

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.

 

Friday the 13th brings good luck for our rescue teams!

Friday 13th is a day infamously associated with bad luck, but fortunately in our case, the day brought us good fortune! After two earlier rescue attempts, the Foundation staff were finally able to safely and successfully release another orangutan left stranded by habitat destruction into a protected release camp. oil palm plantation with arrow

Orangutan Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA rescue team, responded to a report that an orangutan was destroying the oil-palm trees on a farmer’s plantation near Pangkalan Bun.

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Foundation staff quickly established that this plantation was within an area of now fragmented secondary peat swamp forest, the remnants of what would have been an orangutan’s preferred habitat. Such sites are proof that suitable orangutan habitats continue to shrink.

 

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raja anaesthetised

 

Yet although Foundation staff were able to assess the site, it wasn't until the third time our rescue teams were contacted on Friday 13th that they were able to track down the orangutan.

 

 

 

Once they had found him, our rescue team then had to work particularly hard to manoeuvre the moist peat and scrubland habitat, as well as to anaesthetise the orangutan. With a large, strong and cheek- padded male, this was no easy feat!

 

 

A full physical health examination showed that the wild orangutan was healthy and aged +- 25 years, making him a perfect candidate for immediate release into one of the Foundation's release camp sites, all within 48 hours of capture.

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raja cage

Once the anaesthetic had worn off, our team, alongside staff from Camp Siswoyo, opened the adult male’s cage doors and watched as he quickly assessed his new environment before disappearing into the tall tree-tops. The Foundation is excited to welcome a mature and healthy male into a protected reserve, and has decided to name him Raja! Good luck Raja!

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raja trees

From fruit garden to forest refuge...

Whilst orangutans are found in oil palm plantation or community land, it means their habitat is still shrinking. However these orangutans can still have a safe future in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.  Already this year two orangutans have been rescued and translocated into the Reserve. This is Kuala’s story, sent by one of our staff,  a six year old male, he had been damaging the village garden of Mr Joko. Mr Joko kept him for over a week, before a neighbour pointed out that orangutans are a protected species.  Mr Joko then contacted the BKSDA who, with the Orangutan Foundation's vet and staff, travelled to the village 'a 10 hour journey from the Foundations office', where Kuala (named after the village) was handed over.

Kuala in grdn

After all the required health checks were clear he was able to be transferred to the Reserve.

Kuala health

Seemingly impatient to be back in the forest, Kuala stood rattling his cage and looking upwards at the trees. Once the cage door was opened he surveyed his surroundings and then without hesitation was straight up a tree. He was moving so quickly from tree to tree that it was difficult for the staff monitoring him to keep up, but by the end of the day, they were able to see he had already made his night nest, back in the wild where he belongs, and safe.  He was monitored for the next ten days.

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Kuala climb

Kuala released

Introducing Keno!

On the first of March a policeman of the Sabhara Sukamara Police , Brigadier Kiki Tobing, was visting the small village of Laman baru on his day off, intending to buy durian (a famous Indonesian fruit). He could of never expected what happened next… K Keno DSC_2794

 

As he walked through the village, resident came up to him and, recognising Tobing as a policeman, handed him a baby orangutan. The orangutan had been found in an oil palm plantation close to the village. Tobing named the orangutan infant “Keno”.

Orangutans enter into settlements and villages because much of orangutan forest habitat nearby is being destroyed, in this case due to a palm oil plantation. This kind of industrial encroachment has significantly contributed to an increase in the number of orangutans needing to be rescued and translocated in recent years. In addition, this particular plantation and village are near the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve border, the protected area in which the Orangutan Foundation work and release orangutans into the wild. In Borneo, human habitation and oil palm plantations are often side by side. Different types of land use can be in areas very close together. Here, areas of forest are close to oil palm plantations and often to villages. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for orangutans to find their way into areas of human settlement.

Tobing reported the situation to the police, who decided to bring the baby orangutan to the local police station. It was then decided to inform the discovery of this infant to the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA).

Due to this quick reporting and an organised system, the very next day, the Orangutan Foundation staff and BKSDA officers arrived (from Pangkalan Bun) to meet ‘Keno’ and it was decided to translocate him. He was kept in a transit cage at the BKSDA offices, and after a full health check and a few days to acclimatise. He was then moved to Gemini Camp (of the Orangutan Foundation camps), and Keno started his soft release programme. Staff saw that he was well and confident and so allowed him to get back into the trees again, as the staff keep a watchful eye. He had some minor bruising on his foot which has already healed up. He enjoys his diet of fruits from the forest. Now we hope to find a suitable surrogate mother for Keno. The ideal surrogate mother would either have an already independent offspring or no have no offspring at all. We'll make sure we keep you up to date with Keno's development and progress through his soft release! 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More orangutan rescues, ensuring wild individuals stay wild!

Very recently, this mid July, the Orangutan Foundation team were called to a local palm oil plantation by the owner of the land to relocate an orangutan that had been seen in the area. The farmer wanted the orangutan removed to protect the quality of the crop and near by villages. Additionally, orangutans can be tempted into the nearby community and plantations by palm fruit as well as the more popular pineapples, grown in the village gardens.

Find out more about the importance of translocation on our website...

Less than an hour after receiving reports on the orangutan’s location… “the team arrived at the scene, and immediately followed the orangutan.” Dr Wawan tells us… “Due to the thick forest and tall shrubs, plus the swampy location, this is enough to cause the team a little trouble.”

The individual a few hours before release...

They were pursuing the individual until after sunset, and finally around 7pm the orangutan was darted and taken to the BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun were it was given a check up. The individual was a male around 9-11 years old estimated from the dental work… “From his physical condition looks healthy, still very wild, in a healthy condition and had good blood circulation and health.”  Having come straight from the wild and as it was in such good health, the Foundation’s vet recommended a hard release very soon.

The Orangutan Foundation has been supporting the orangutan reintroduction programme in the protected Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve since 2000. It is one of the few places in Indonesia where translocated and rescued orangutans can be released into a protected area.

The orangutan was successfully released in the area between Camp Gemini and Camp Siswoyo on the 17th – just last Friday! This site was chosen because the water level of the river is still very high, allowing the boat to access good release points. Dr Wawan was also able to put together some footage taken – watch a vital insight into our orangutan translocation work by clicking here ; "A 'hard' release on the 17th of July" (click this link to download short film here!).

Injured orangutan rescued from oil palm plantation

Here is an update from our vet, Dr Wawan, on a young orangutan rescued in April.  Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation's director, returned from a visit to Indonesia last week. Ashley managed to get some video footage, of the orangutan having her head stitched, during her visit to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). We will share this with you shortly but for now, over to Wawan, who has written this post. 'Melan, she is an orangutan that caught by villagers in an oil palm plantation area in Natai Raya village, close to the town of Pangkalan bun, Kalimantan Tengah Province. BKSDA (Conservation and Natural Resources Authority) rescued her from the village in with the Orangutan Foundation's help.

Unfortunately she have a big wound in her head, like she has been sliced by knife or any other sharp object. We could see her skull because the wound is wide open, very pity little Orangutan. She is maybe 3 years old female orangutan.

I decide to clean and stitch the wound. I give her anaesthetic and I try to clean the wound with an Iodine solution and make it clearer from her hairs. After 30 minutes she woke up very suddenly. She is put in her cage at BKSDA office. I see the stitching is good enough and I give suggestion to keep watching on her whether she will scratch and or pull the stitches.

 

For a moment she is looks good by not scratch it hard, maybe just a gently touching, and some time she use leaves to cover her head to avoid flies come over. I think it is good and hope she will get well by a week.

Then 8 days after the stitching I saw unexpected thing!

The wound become wide open again and wider than before I think. She is in the cage with another Orangutan, I see they were happy keep playing and playing. I suspect because of their playing intensity, they shouldn’t put in the cage together. BKSDA decide to move Melan to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Camp JL. The following day I re-stitched her wound once she was at Camp JL.

I gave her another anaesthetic but his time is was harder as the skin was stronger now and its very hard to pull. But I have one good assistant to help and he keep pulling the skin while I was stitching. That second stitching took 30 minute but looks better and also I give such strong glue with the stitching to make the skin stay together.

Get well soon Melan...We will keep you updated with her progress,

Wawan (Bambang Setyawan)

Orangutan Foundation Vet

Please consider making a donation and support our essential work. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

Tripa aerial flyover June 27 2012, 2pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes for Editors:

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

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

For Further Press inquiries, Please Contact:

 

Kamaruddin (Bahasa Indonesian Only)

Tripa Community Lawyer

08116700118

 

Dr Ian Singleton

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Mobile: +62811650491

 

Also, for further media statement, please contact:

 

Saud Usman Nasution

Spokesperson for Indonesian National Police

+62 811 979 2222

 

PT. Kallista Alam

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

Fax: 061 – 8216532

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

Phone: 061-800200, 812380

Fax: 021-812380

 

PT. Surya Panen Subur 2

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

Phone: (021)4616555

Fax: (021)4616550

 

PT. Cemerlang Abadi

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

Phone: 021-5255414,5255413

Fax: 021-520748

 

PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari

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

Phone: 021-83703232, 031-5925239

Fax: 021-83704488, 031-5925387

 

PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur

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

Phone: (021)5712790, 5712853

Fax: (021)5712716

Thank you for going orange for orangutans!

We have so many people to thank for joining in with this year's Orange for Orangutan Day.  So far we have raised nearly £7,500 for our 'Protect Me and My Tree Appeal' and this matches last year's total, but the money is coming in daily so we hope to raise much more! Here are a few photos from the various orange themed events that took place. We really appreciate everyone's efforts and their generosity.  Also, it's not too late to help - please make a donation and help us to reach our target of £15,000. Thank you Lorraine G and Tal B for your donations. Pam Swan organised a cappucinnos and cookies party and with her friends raised over £200.

Pam Swan -cookies and Cappuccinos

Pam even provided her dog Jake with an orange scarf so he could join in!

Pam’s orange day raffle

The raffle offered loads of prizes!

Pam’s cookies

Pam's husband was in charge of the cappuccinos and serving the cookies (all baked with non-palm oil ingredients of course!).

Another one of our super members, Jacha, organised a dinner party for 40 people and raised over £1,000!

Jacha’s dinner party

Jacha's dinner party with fabulous orangutan images on the walls.

Jacha’s dinner party

Orangutan Awareness: A Personal View

After my last my about the day at Camp Leakey I received a short email from the Office reminding me that I was supposed to be writing about Orangutan Awareness Week! Whoops. Sally and the Yayorin team will be able to tell you of all the activities. I thought I would offer a simple, personnel view on why I have always supported the week.

orangutan in tree

we all need trees!

We all need trees.

We know how to save orangutans – you just stop chopping down the forest and hunting them. Leave them alone and they will be just fine. But that isn’t happening. The situation here in Borneo and in Sumatra is very bad. Just yesterday, we were told of a proposal to convert another 10,000ha (100km2) into an oil-palm plantation. Not all of that land is forest, but a lot of it is and I guarantee there are still orangutans, monkeys, hornbills and a host of other birds and smaller mammals living there.

Spot the difference

Spot the difference.

What lay behind the local government’s decision to give up more forest? There are a host of reasons but perhaps the ultimate explanation is simply that the return from logging and palm oil translates to cash whereas the returns from standing forest are often intangible. That is a balance that has to be rectified. Which is exactly why Orangutan Awareness Week is so important:

- The loss of orangutans and their habitat is irreversible.

- Consumers need to be aware of the true cost of the products they buy. The driving force behind the move towards sustainable palm oil is consumer pressure.

- National governments need to be aware of the impact of the trade decisions they make. The US is to be applauded for its recent amendment to the Lacy Act which will go a long way to stopping the import of illegally felled timber.

- Here, the local Government needs to be aware that floods which plague the riverside communities are linked to deforestation upstream.

- Farmers need to know that there are alternatives to slash and burn agriculture, that their household income can improve by better use of the land.

- There are huge ethical issues involved in the loss of orangutans as a species let alone the abhorrent killing of individuals. I feel this keenly and am sure many of you do too. However, climate change has now made the loss of their habitat an ethical issue too: tropical forests can play a significant role in mitigating against climate change. Truly, saving orangutans can now help humankind.

slash & burn

Without Orangutan Awareness Week how many people will know of the link between this smoke from forests and the rise in sea level? Without the work of groups like Yayorin how many people will learn it doesn't have to be this way?

We all have to be involved in this and that’s why Orangutan Awareness Week is international. The bottom line is whether to destroy forests or to save them will remain a choice that many people will have a hand in making. Only with complete awareness will we all make the best choice and orangutans are the perfect flagship or ambassadors for the forest.

orangutan

swamp

What we all need - forests "lungs of the planet"

There are half-a-dozen or so places, Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve among them, that are safer today than they probably have been at any time for the past thirty odd years. Saving them has been a battle and we are now working on securing the peace. We can be proud of those successes but they are not enough. Certainly, we can not be drawn into trading off a few parcels of safe forest for devastation elsewhere. As the 10,000ha mentioned above shows, the battle lines are still being drawn. That has to stop.

The battle lines

The battle lines

Male Bornean Orangutan

I was touched to see the blog by Art for Gorillas on the Wildlife Direct. ). If children in Rwanda can be galvanised to care for orangutans what can’t be done?

As always, thank you for your support,

Stephen

Save The Tripa Swamps - Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Ian Singleton, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme's (SOCP) Director of Conservation, has kindly written todays post for this blog to mark Orangutan Awareness Week 2008. This last few years we, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), have been kept very busy trying to save the Tripa peat swamps on the west coast of Aceh. Our “normal” work tackles all aspects of orangutan conservation (SOCP photo gallery) in Sumatra including:-

1. Confiscation, quarantine and reintroduction of illegal pet orangutans 2. Research, surveys and monitoring of wild populations 3. Education and awareness raising 4. Habitat conservation, especially the Batang Toru Forests of North Sumatra and the remaining peat swamp forests of Aceh’s west coast.

The Tripa swamp forests probably harbored around 1,500 or more orangutans at the beginning of the 1990’s but in the years leading up to the fall of the Suharto government and the escalation of the Aceh separatist conflict much of these forests were allocated as oil palm estates. Some of these estates cleared their land, established drainage canals and even planted oil palms in parts of their concessions, but all were then left abandoned during the conflict between 1999 and 2005, during which time they became overgrown and drainage canals became blocked and stagnant.

Tripa Swamp - forest clearance (photo from SOCP)

Destruction of the Tripa Swamps (photo from SOCP)

Tripa Swamp -Digging drainage canals

Digging Drainage Canals (photo from SOCP)

Over the last year or two, however, some of them have resumed operations, meaning new forest clearance (logging, burning etc), new drainage canals, clearing some of the old oil palms and planting with new ones. Naturally, many of the activities of these estates is not consistent with existing laws. For a start, peat of greater than 3 m depth cannot legally be converted, and much of the area under these estates has been measured by SOCP and found to be up to 5 m deep or more. There is also a moratorium on all logging in Aceh, issued by the Governor in 2007, but implementation of this regulation in the field is still lacking.

Measuring depth of peat

Much of the peat due for conversion is more than 5 metres deep and stores huge amounts of carbon. (photo from SOCP)

The destruction of the Tripa peat swamps not only endangers the 250 or so orangutans still surviving there, but also has major implications for climate change and for local communities. The peat swamps store vast amounts of carbon, which will all be released to the atmosphere over the coming years if the clearance and drainage is allowed to continue. Drying of peatlands also results in subsidence of around 1 m in 20 years, extremely worrying in an area on the coast that is already only around 1 m above sea level. Given this, the development of these swamps makes no sense, not even economically.

Due to the urgency of this situation, SOCP has been working extremely hard to bring all these issues to public attention. We have been lobbying local and national governments and our education department has been focusing on the local communities in the area. The issue has already been broadcast on international TV programs and published in both national and international media. It seems now that people are beginning to take notice, but we must continue to be diligent.

For more information on this issue please visit our website and download the Tripa value report. Also see a recent article 'Urgent Action Needed Over Sumatran Peat Forest Logging' in the Telegraph.

Thank you,

Ian