As the UK Summer fades into Autumn, in Indonesia, the dry season is still in full swing. Dry conditions have created an environment that enables fires to spread quickly across the land, and as reported extensively in the media, recent fires across South East Asia have contributed to a blanket of haze that currently hovers over much of the subcontinent.
These fires are often the result of traditional farming methods. Towards the end of a dry season, farmers in this part of the world will routinely use a slash and burn agricultural technique to clear their land and provide better conditions for crop regeneration. Local communities may also use this method in order to create clearings so that they can hunt for deer or wild boar, however in particularly dry years, these fires can burn out of control for prolonged periods of time and contribute to the levels of haze that have been reported in recent weeks.
The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borneo is an area of forest protected by Orangutan Foundation, but it’s western region has been subject to fires during this dry spell which can creep into the reserve. Our field teams and guard post staff have worked with locals officials on occasion into the night to battle the flames and stop the spreading. They continue to be on high alert for any potential fires before the much-needed rains come, but we are indebted to their efforts in protecting this vital wildlife refuge.
Fortunately this reserve and the significant orangutan population in it’s interior are under protection from skilled government and Orangutan Foundation staff who are trained and equipped to prevent outbreaks of fire, however their operations would not be possible without ongoing support. To become a Guardian of the Lamandau and help protect this ecologically rich environment all year round, please support our work by exploring the link below.
At the Orangutan Foundation, two main areas of orangutan forest habitat where we work are Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borneo. Together they cover over half a million acres of forest- almost twice the size of Hong Kong. It’s therefore essential that the Foundation’s guard post teams are skilled and well trained to monitor the forest and waterways within this vast area.
During regular patrols, the team record wildlife sightings like these recent images from Tanjung Puting National Park.
Habitat loss is the largest threat to orangutan populations today; for example, it is predicted that by 2080, between 70-80% of prime orangutan habitat will be lost in Borneo alone if current trends continue. The role of guard posts as a deterrent therefore is vital to ensure intruders do not encroach or enter these parks illegally, damaging or degrading the environment which is essential for orangutans and other wildlife.
Fire fighting is another important role in the field that make these outpost sites so vital. Each one is prepared with fire fighting equipment, and the Foundation works closely with training and supporting the team to be vigilant in spotting forest fires and then safely extinguishing them with as little damage to the habitat as possible. These fires are a potential threat year on year, in 2015 for example an area the size of Wales was lost to forest fires alone in Indonesia, so to have our team patrolling these sites is of paramount importance to orangutan protection and the surrounding area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This week, our Monday motivation was this incredible footage of orangutan Max with her infant Monti, sent by our staff who are as excited about this new addition as we are. However, the next day, we heard from our Patrol Manager, Jakir, that fires were once again raging close to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. One moment we are celebrating new life, the next we are battling to save the habitat.
Thankfully the wildlife reserve is 158,000 acres in size and the fires are well away from the orangutan release camps. Our 8 manned guard posts, around the reserve, means our patrol staff can respond quickly to keep the reserve safe and prevent the fires from spreading.
Habitat protection is our priority. Please donate to our appeal to help us keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.
We only send out appeals when there is a real need for help – and right now, we urgently need funds to strengthen the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.
In January and February, our forest patrol staff detected and tackled fires, deliberately lit to clear land, next to the reserve. They prevented the fires from spreading and saved thousands of acres of peat swamp forest from going up in smoke. In March, we met with the provincial government to push for those responsible for starting the fires, to be held to account.
The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest. The Foundation's staff put themselves at risk as they battled to protect the forests, home to a population of 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated by the Orangutan Foundation and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are safe.
It costs a quarter of a million pounds a year to protect the reserve and the wildlife. A significant commitment for a small charity, but a relatively small amount considering the invaluable riches and services the forests contain and provide.
The Orangutan Foundation runs and staffs eight guard posts in and around Lamandau to deter and prevent access to the forests. Our staff, all committed local Indonesian conservationists, patrol on foot or by boat. We use conservation drones and GIS to map and document illegal activities.
The map below shows the guard posts (red triangle on blue).
In 2017, we stopped illegal mining inside the reserve and since the beginning of 2018, our forest patrols have detected and stopped two cases of illegal logging.
Yet, despite years of investment in successful community awareness, there remain a small few who want to exploit the forest for their own interests. As pressure for land increases our fight to protect standing forest, to stop it being logged or converted to oil palm, will only become more difficult. Protecting Lamandau is an ongoing commitment: we cannot temporarily close a guard post due to insufficient funds, in the hope that we might start up again next year. If we stop protecting the reserve, we know that we will lose it: the forest and its precious wildlife could be gone in an instant.
Bangkal is one of the orangutans at risk. Originally released into the neighbouring Tanjung Puting National Park, Bangkal was severely injured in 2000 when illegal loggers attacked him with boiling-hot oil. Following a long period of recovery, he was released into Lamandau, at Camp Gemini, one of our five release camps in the reserve. Bangkal, now strong, healthy and independent, has since become the dominant male.Aan, an adult female, was shot and permanently blinded in an oil-palm plantation. Foundation staff moved Aan to the Lamandau Reserve, where she now lives with round-the-clock monitoring by our staff and vet.
We also care for ten orphaned infant orangutans at our release camps - plus many dozens of reintroduced and translocated adults that are thriving in the wild under our protection. We owe it to these orangutans to keep their forest home safe.
Please DONATE SECURELY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE, by calling 020 7724 2912, or by sending a cheque payable to ‘Orangutan Foundation’ to Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP. If you are unable to donate immediately but want to make funding pledge, whether through fundraising or a delayed donation, please contact us to discuss options – we will work with you however we can.
Sponsor the protection of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve
£15 protects 10 acres of forest for one year
£37.50 protects 25 acres of forest for one year
£75 protects 50 acres of forest for one year
£150 protects 100 acres of forest for one year
We must act today to secure the future for orangutans, forests and people.
Vote for Orangutan Foundation - click here
Following a rigorous selection procedure, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has created a shortlist of projects to fund. We’re delighted to be one of them. It now goes to the public to decide who should receive funding! This is why we are asking for your help.
Voting runs from today, 9 March (00.01 GMT) to Friday 23 March (12.00 GMT) 2018.
If we win we will receive funding for our Project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo.The overall goal is to prevent the loss of protected peat swamp forest, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan, from fire. We know how devastating fires can be. Only last month, our staff had to battle fires around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. They managed to extinguish them preventing thousands of acres from going up in smoke.
The project will focus on Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, two protected areas in Central Kalimantan, which lost 103,000 hectares to fire, in 2015. EOCA funding will be used to create and distribute an awareness campaign ‘Stop kebakaran hutan dan lahan‘ (Stop forest and land fires). It will focus on the negative socio-economic impacts of fires including tourism losses and health costs.
Funding will provide annual specialist fighting fire training during the dry season to Orangutan Foundation and local authority staff. It will buy equipment for use by the Orangutan Foundation forest patrol staff in the National Park and for the villagers that are close to the Reserve, who attend the firefighting training.
Tujuan proyek: Tujuan keseluruhan proyek ini adalah untuk mencegah kehilangan kawasan lindung hutan rawa gambut yang merupakan habitat orangutan terancam punah akibat kebakaran. Proyek ini fokus di dua kawasan lindung di Kalimantan Tengah yang pada tahun 2015 hilang 103.000 hektar akibat kebakaran. Tujuan proyek ini akan mengurangi pembakaran hutandan lahan oleh warga masyarakat dengan melakukan kampanye penyuluhan, pelatihan, dan menyediakan peralatan pemadaman kebarakan untuk instansi terkait, masyarakat lokal, dan staf Orangutan Foundation.
Dana dari EOCA akan digunakan untuk melakukan kampanye penyuluhan ‘Stop Pembakaran Hutan dan Lahan’. Kampanye tersebut akan menyoroti dampak negatif kebakaran terhadap sosial-ekonomi termasuk kerugian wisata, serta biaya kesehatan. Proyek ini akan mengadakan pelatihan khusus pemadaman api pada musim kemarau dan pembelian peralatan yang dibutuhkan staf lapangan untuk memadamkan api di dua kawasan hutan tersebut, yang merupakan habitat orangutan.
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
Our Vet, Dr Dimas, has been treating one of the young orangutans in our Soft Release Programme for a dry scalp. Dimas, has been applying a moisturising ointment and our staff will continue with this treatment.
All our young orphaned orangutans were also given vitamins and medication to prevent parasitic worm infections.
While going from Camp Siswoyo to Camp JL within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Dr Dimas and Azhari (Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) had to use a kelotok boat (flat bottomed) instead of a speedboat because the water level is getting lower. The dry season seems to have come early this year to Central Kalimantan, with very little rain.
There are worrying reports of more fires, right on the boundary of the Reserve. We'll keep you updated on this situation.
In the last month we have heard disturbing reports about the cruel and brutal killing of two critically endangered Bornean orangutans. Sadly, our staff care for the victims, of these sort of actions, every day. We're still caring for Aan, shot 104 times and left permanently blind. Little Bumi, rescued last year, 8 pellets removed, his mother must have been shot and killed.
We ask ourselves, how could someone harm these gentle, intelligent and peaceful beings?
The killing of an orangutan is a visible threat, rightly generating shock and outrage. The invisible threat that forces orangutans into increasing contact with humans, onto oil-palm plantations or village farms, is habitat loss. We use the term invisible because habitat loss does not elicit the same level of response as an orangutan killing.
In the last month our guard post staff have tackled illegally lit fires and prevented them spreading, but still 30 hectares burnt. This week, they detected the second case this year of illegal logging, right on the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. This is meant to be strictly protected forest, it has a population of over 500 orangutans. We need to keep it protected and the orangutans safe.
Why does the image of a fallen tree not also generate the same outrage? When forests are cleared, orangutans and hundreds of other species are harmed or even killed. Some survive, if they can move to another area of forest. This increases competition for resources and forces them into closer contact with humans. It is because we can’t see the immediate impact on orangutans and so our response is different.
We need your help now, more than ever. Our guard post patrol staff require ongoing support to prevent illegal activities and further loss of orangutan habitat. The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is huge, 158,144 acres of tropical forest (one acre is the approximate size of one football pitch). Our staff do a fabulous job patrolling such a large area but need to be supported.
Please help us to keep these vital forests standing and their precious inhabitants in wild. Please donate today.
Here is a snapshot of the Orangutan Foundation’s year in the field, thanks to our dedicated Indonesian staff. Most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support. We truly could not do, what we do, without you.
January: Miners evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and mining equipment confiscated.
February: Attempts to restore sight to blind orangutan Aan sadly fail but her story galvanises support for her cause. We continue to care for Aan to ensure she has the best quality of life possible.
March: Infant orphans, Mona (top) and Nyunyu (below), are rescued and enter our Soft Release Programme, bringing it to 10 young orangutans being cared for.
April: Orangutan Foundation, active on Earth Day, involving young Indonesian’s in cleaning up rubbish in their local environment.
May: Publication of our new photo book promotes the wonders of the orangutan’s world and raises vital funds for forest restoration.
June: A new orangutan birth in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Venty shows off her new baby, Volvo.
July: Another birth! Dedek gives birth to a healthy baby, named Dublin. Orangutans Jessica and Ketty, are released back to the wild!
August: Orangutan Foundation staff help tackle fires and stop them spreading to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
September: Orangutan Foundation Patrols in Tanjung Puting National Park remove and destroy illegal fishing traps, which also pose a threat to other wildlife species.
October: Bangkal, an ex-captive rehabilitated orangutan, reminds all who is King of Lamandau!
November: 22,000 tree saplings planted out in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2017
December: A wild female orangutan is rescued from a beach resort and translocated to the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
And to finish off our year here's Adib, the latest orphan orangutan to join us in November, making his first climb at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
If you are a member or supporter you will already know that our priority is protecting orangutan habitat. If we keep forests standing we can ensure orangutans stay in the wild (see video below of wild male). In the past few months our committed Indonesian staff, working on the front-line of conservation, have successfully:
Detected and prevented illegal activities within two protected areas, home to thousands of Bornean orangutans and many other critically endangered or threatened species.
Prevented the spread of fires to the Lamandau Wildllife Reserve, home to an estimated 500 Bornean orangutans.
Nurtured tens of thousands of tree saplings and planted in degraded forest areas of Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Trained our staff and community to prepare for and tackle fires
Engaged with the Indonesian government and companies to implement best forest management in unprotected orangutan habitat.
We do all this so that wild orangutans, like the one below, stay wild.
We need your help to continue doing this. If you haven’t already, please consider setting up a regular donation click here to support our vital work. Please also help by sharing this blog post.
From Orangutan Foundation - A future for orangutans, forests and people.
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.
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.
36 rescues of other wildlife species. All released into the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
16,000 Ubar tree seedlings nurtured and planted to restore areas of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve damaged by forest fires in 2015.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We bring you great news from Danau Burung, our guard post in the south-west of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve!
This area was badly affected by forest fires this summer, intentionally started by local inhabitants. In this area people started fires in the forest to quickly clear land of trees in order to encourage grass to grow, to attract deer and pigs for hunting. Fire is also used to clear land for "slash and burn" agriculture, in order to render it useful for farming. These forest fires caused widespread devastation throughout much of Kalimantan in 2015 following a lengthy dry season, causing them to burn out of control.
Thanks to two grants, from GRASP (Great Apes Survival Partnership) and Orang-utans in Not e.V (Orangutans in Peril, a German NGO) we were able to invest in a forest restoration project to enrich areas that suffered during the fires in 2015. Ubar trees (Syzigyum spp.) were chosen primarily to replenish the area. This is an endemic species to Kalimantan, which grows well in all forest types, and is less susceptible to burning than other species. The leaves and fruit are also a treat for orangutans!
Our partners from BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency, Indonesia) have provided us with a tree nursery, which our staff are using to plant and grow seeds into seedlings, which are then relocated to areas around Danau Burung. Our Orangutan Foundation staff have now planted 1,500 seedlings in the area to restore the now barren areas of land. Our target is to plant 5,000 seedlings in the Danau Burung area, and with this news we can successfully acknowledge that we are a third of the way towards reaching our goal!
Forest restoration is paramount to the long-term survival of orangutans. If forest habitats are lost, orangutans cannot feed or protect themselves, and populations will perish as a result.
To DONATE towards our forest restoration project, quote "FOREST" with your donation! All contributions are greatly appreciated!
Though the flames that overwhelmed Kalimantan for months are now out, it seems the damage may have already been done. Since September, the Orangutan Foundation rescue team has rescued an orangutan from burnt and desolate forest on a weekly basis. Now, the fires may have come to an end but this rise in rescue activity has not.
Orangutans are elusive creatures, and provided they live in optimum habitat, are relatively difficult to spot (much to the grievance of orangutan researchers!). Yet this morning our teams rescued a young juvenile orangutan who could be seen at a distance, clambering the topmost point of an isolated tree just 500m from a main road. The proximity of this rescue to a public roadis evidence of the devastation that wild orangutans will continue to face thanks to three months’ worth of wildfire.
As you can see in the images below, the habitat where this young orangutan was found has been very badly affected by the fires. Thankfully, the orangutan himself appeared to be in good health and will be released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve right away!
Sometimes images are more powerful than words.
[video width="320" height="240" mp4="http://www.orangutan.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_0838.mp4"][/video]
These fires have resulted in a surge of orangutan rescues. To follow all of our orangutan rescue and release activity, please visit us on YouTube and Facebook.
Orangutan habitat continues to be under threat. You can make a difference by donating towards the Orangutan Foundation's fire-fighting team, or by sharing this video with your friends and family to help us raise awareness for these difficult times.
Last Monday the Foundation rescue teams received a report from landowners in Mendawai that several orangutans might be trapped in an area nearby. This area in question was a narrow strip of forest, completely surrounded by fire and smoke.
Our teams, alongside members of the BKSDA, swiftly headed to the scene and, though the haze was thick, they were able to make out a large male orangutan in the clearing. In spite of the vet darting him with an anaesthetic, the male was merely slowed down because of his size, and was still able to scale a tall tree.
The height of the tree was too dangerous for our team members to climb, and before long the orangutan was once again on the move. Hours of following ensued, but eventually the thick haze from the fires overwhelmed the area and the atmosphere became too dark to continue. Though the rescue attempt failed, our rescue teams endeavoured to try to again the following day.
But on the following day, further reports were made to the Orangutan Foundation that, according to our staff, orangutans were “falling to the ground” because the forest was almost completely burned down. Trees were dried to a crisp and the air engulfed by heavy smoke. Despite these terrible conditions this rescue attempt was more successful, and our teams were able to rescue an adult female and her infant. The pair have now been named Vania and Venty, aged approximately 26 years old and 5 years old respectively.
Though this mother and her infant will be released into the safety of our protected Reserve, this turn of events only demonstrates the immense devastation facing Kalimantan’s forest habitat. Because of the extreme haze cloaking the entire region, it is likely that many more orangutans are stranded in these fire-damaged areas of land. Unless reported to us, there is no way of knowing where these orangutans are that are so desperately in need of rescuing.
The conditions caused by Indonesia’s fires have posed serious problems for the local people, as well as for their eco-tourism. Now we know that the dramatic weather conditions are affecting the wildlife within the forests as well, with more and more of their habitat continuing to be lost every day.
Note: Since writing this post, another orangutan has been rescued by our teams. That’s one failed rescue and two successful rescues in three days. More details to follow.
Due to the globally dramatic effects of El Niño, Indonesia is having a longer dry season than usual. Some areas are beginning to run dangerously low in water supply. Indonesia faces the very serious threat of rice crop failure. Fire is now a daily threat. With forest fires and open land fires becoming difficult to extinguish in peat land areas like orangutan habitat, they are easily spread to neighbouring areas. This is a problem so frequently faced by the majority of Central Kalimantan, but sadly it has now become a worry for the Foundation’s protected region, the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. If orangutans aren’t safe in protected forest, where can they be?
To prevent the spread of forest fires, we need the cooperation of local people. For this reason, the Orangutan Foundation, in cooperation with the BKSDA (Agency of Natural Resources Conservation) and Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), have campaigned to raise awareness throughout the local town of Pangkalan Bun this month. Noting that August 9th was the town’s ‘Car Free Day’, Foundation staff toured the town with signage reading ‘Stop Forest Fires’ while orangutan mascots handed out brochures to the local people. Car Free Day is a weekly event in Pangkalan Bun, supporting the reduction of pollution and smoke in the local communities. With Indonesian communities making environmentally conscious steps like these, we are confident that we can harness their support to keep orangutan habitats safe.
Capitalising on the extra foot traffic, and thanks to the hard work of Foundation staff, this campaign attracted a lot of attention, with people of the younger generation proudly taking photographs with our orangutan mascots and campaign posters which read ‘I Love Pangkalan Bun without Smoke’.
July has been met with an alarming number of fires in Central Kalimantan. Break outs have occurred worryingly close to our guard posts at Vigilant Howe, Danau Burung and Sungai Pasir. As you can see from the map below, these posts mark the outskirts of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which means that these fires have encroached upon protected land.
The damage found indicates that these fires were set intentionally by hunters hoping to attract deer to fresh grasslands. Foundation staff, alongside the BKSDA, has succeeded in putting out the bulk of the outbreak, but for now fire surges on in Sungai Pasir. Limited equipment and staff numbers in the area mean that our teams have to work that much harder to fight the spread of fire caused by high winds. We are confident in our ability to manage outbreaks such as these; however the proximity of these fires to our orangutan release camps requires constant monitoring.
[Limited equipment meant that our staff have had to extinguish the fires by hand.]
Please DONATE and quote 'FIRE' to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!
As we enter the dry season in Kalimantan, Indonesia, we're taking every precaution.
Our field staff are going the extra mile to raise awareness and stop the breakout of fires in areas surrounding protected forest. Every year fire is a constant worry. Naturally occurring fires are prevalent throughout Indonesia, and the tradition of ‘slash and burn’ farming can also be used as a method to prepare for oil-palm plantations. In open stretches of land where the air doesn't hold as much moisture, these fires are a constant challenge to control. A fire that cannot be easily extinguished can wipe out forests that are home to thousands of species, including the endangered orangutan.
That is why the Foundation has always made fire prevention a priority. In addition to fire training for all guard post staff, our employees in the field have called for local people to stop clearing the land with fire through the implementation of signposts. These steps are especially important because dry and barren landscapes, such as those pictured below, surround the areas of forest in which we work. These patches of open land are especially susceptible to catching fire, and their vulnerability to wind only encourages fire to spread.
In our efforts to raiseawareness, we at the Foundation have built warning sign-posts all along the boundaries of particularly high-risk areas (highlighted in yellow). Through these actions, we hope to keep protected areas of forest, and all of their inhabitants, safe from harm.
Please DONATEand quote ‘FIRE’ to help us fund new fire-fighting equipment!