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.
Our vet, Dimas and programme manager, Iman, have been on their weekly visits to the orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. They check on the orphaned young orangutans and ensure the good health of the released orangutans. Their journey took longer than usual because the river levels are very low, due to lack of rain. Instead of travelling by speedboat it was completed in a shallow longboat (or klotok, as they’re called in Indonesia).
Our youngest orangutans are cared for at Camp JL and include Timtom, Nyunyu, Adib, Mona (photo below) and Boy. Dimas gave them their multivitamin injection to keep them healthy but they are all well and active.
In the afternoon they continued by longboat to Gemini Camp. This is where blind orangutan Aan lives. Aan was shot and can never be returned to the wild. Her enclosure recently had new ropes (see below).
They walked from camp through the forest to the feeding site, where supplementary fruit is provided. Dominant male, Bangkal came to feeding along with female and infant orangutans; Ilik and Izzy; Hola and Happy; Ebony and Ekon (photos below); and Passion and Paris. Max was also seen with her newborn infant, now named Monti and they seemed well.
A few days later they went to Camp Buluh, to check on orphan orangutans Okto and Syifa. Okto had injured one of his fingers a few weeks ago but after receiving treatment the inflammation has reduced and is healing well.
Both Okto and Syifa very active and enjoy playing together. Okto was given a final anti-inflammatory injection and both orangutans received their multivitamins.
Conditions are very dry at present and so our guard post staff are vigilant and on alert for fires. All the guard posts are equipment with fire-fighting gear and our staff are trained enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to extinguish fires.
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.
We are looking for a few more adventurous individuals to join our volunteer team in Borneo. This year's project is the renovation of a forest guard post in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Volunteers will be working and living on the site, which is a beautiful remote location in the middle of the forest. You will wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of the forest.
Orangutan Foundation does not allow any of its volunteers to have direct contact with orangutans and this is for the benefit of the apes. Most people understand this and can see the bigger picture of what they are doing. Watch Orangutan Foundation’s Cathy Smith talking at Compass Ethical Travel Conference about ethical volunteering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=213&v=3KM4ZBLvo38
If you want to spend a unique 3 weeks doing something worthwhile for orangutan conservation and see orangutans in the wild, then why not make this the year to join us? To find out more please click here or contact us.
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
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.
No sooner had our speedboat arrived at Camp Buluh when the staff came running and excitedly told us to hurry up. I knew before I reached the end of the jetty by the noise of breaking branches that something was going on in the forest ahead.
It didn’t take me long to see one huge male being pursued by another, both cheek padded. The assistants told me that they were Yoko, who was often seen around Camp Buluh, and Darwin, who hadn’t been seen for a number of years.
The orangutans were face-to-face in open combat. They would grapple one another, no doubt inflicting some injuries. This would last for a number of minutes until one would go further into the forest and there would be a lull in the confrontation.
There were times when both came down to the ground, one aggressively pursuing the other, before going back up into the trees. What was interesting was that during the conflict they would occasionally stop to rest, so obviously this activity takes a lot of energy.
Long calls and branch cracking perforated the performance. This encounter went on for over two hours before Darwin, realising Yoko had the upper hand, made his way further into the forest and was not followed. That’s what I love being in the field, it’s never boring, it’s not every day one sees such excitement.
Become a Guardian of Lamandau today and help us protect the home of Yoko, Darwin and over 500 other critically endangered orangutans. Click here to find out more.
To finish off Orangutan Awareness Week, our final blog post is about Jakir, who oversees the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious inhabitants. He has been in this role for 10 years. Jakir is also a talented photographer and many of his images have been included in our new photobook, The Orangutan's World.
Our committed Indonesian staff are the bedrock of all we do. Please donate to support our vital work, keeping forests standing and orangutans in the wild.
Jakir, Patrol Manager Orangutan Foundation
My role as Patrol Manager is to supervise the 12 staff who occupy our eight guard posts, ensuring that they are well maintained and operated, so that the wildlife reserves are protected from illegal activities, such as logging, mining, hunting and fishing.
It’s a very important role and I most of all I love the interaction with the local community in the field. Sometimes ignorance is the reason for illegal activities, and we tell people what we are doing so they also understand why we are protecting the forest.
But the biggest challenge is facing people who deliberately do illegal activities. We have faced threats and bribes, but some people who were previously involved in illegal forestry now give us information on illegal activities they encounter.
It’s very special to see some of the animals that we have saved roaming free in the forest in Lamandau.
When I first met Ashley, the Director of the Orangutan Foundation, I didn’t understand why she talked so much about protecting the forest and sacrificed so much of her own time for this. But a long time afterwards I saw some villages submerged by flooding and I realised why protecting the forest is so important.
My hope is that the forest will always be alive and awake, so that my grandchildren can see and feel the coolness of this forest.
Written by Anna Levin, this interview was featured in our latest member's newsletter, Red Ape, Autumn 2017.
By donating £16.50 a month you can become a Guardian of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and support the protection of over 150,000 acres of tropical forest habitat. Click here to find out more.
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.
Some male orangutans start to look very different from females as they reach maturity, from the age of 15 onward. They develop cheek pads and bulk out, some weighing upwards of 120kg, double the average female. In the wild, one cheek-padded male will dominate an area of forest, with other cheek-padded males moving on to an area without another adult male in the vicinity.
Staff stationed at one of our guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo, have reported the arrival of an adult male in the immediate vicinity of the post. Adult male orangutans generally do not pose an immediate threat as they possess a natural wariness of humans, however, this male clearly showed no fear and so was thought to be one that had been rehabilitated into the area.
Guard post staff got in touch with staff stationed at the nearby Camp Siswoyo, who identified the male as Ofi, a male often seen in the forest surrounding the camp. Camp staff tried to encourage him to go back into the forest, as he was posing a problem to guard post staff who were unable to move about freely whilst he was close by.
The last time camp staff reported seeing Ofi was back in July this year. Ofi shares the surrounding forest with dominant male Bangkal. Ofi is afraid of Bangkal and will make a swift exit anytime they meet, which is normal behaviour for a submissive male. You can read more about Bangkal here.
Since the guard post is only 5km away from camp, it is not far for an orangutan to travel, and staff believe he has moved away from camp as he cannot compete with Bangkal. Male orangutans are not territorial and have overlapping ranges, however, they do compete for resources, such as food, and fertile females.
Staff will monitor Ofi and if the situation does not improve, he will be tranquillised and moved into a suitable area of forest away from both camp and the guard post.
It costs £200,000 a year to protect the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to Ofi, Bangkal, and hundreds of other orangutans. Please click here to support our work by giving a donation. Thank you.
Orangutan Foundation have been tackling fires only a few kilometres from the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to some 500 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and many other threatened species. Our committed team of Indonesian staff are working with the Indonesian Wildlife Department and the local community to extinguish the fires.
The threat of forest fires is returning as the dry season in Central Kalimantan continues and 2017 looks set to be one of the hottest years on record.
We are prepared and are on alert to ensure these fires do not spread. All of our guard posts store fire fighting equipment and we have supported fire fighting training.
We have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by fires. During October 2015, fires in Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve burnt through thousands of acres of forests. The clip below, with Indonesian text, highlights the problem.
We are delighted to be able to convey the news that two of our soft-release orangutans, Jessica and Ketty, have now been released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Staff are confident both will go on to living fulfilling lives in the wild, free from the threat of habitat loss.
In light of this positive news and #RainforestLive, we are introducing a new initiative in support of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Become a guardian and actively protect:
158,144 acres of tropical peat forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo
500 critically endangered orangutans - a number which continues to increase as more are rescued and released
thousands of threatened species including gibbons, sun bears and clouded leopards
5 million tonnes of stored carbon.
A regular gift of £16.50 a month or a one-off donation of £200 for the year (the equivalent of 55p a day) will contribute towards the management of the Reserve.
Visit our webpage for more information on how to become a guardian.
Protecting the habitat of the critically endangered orangutan is our number one priority but also our biggest ongoing challenge - we have to prevent illegal activity. Last month, illegal gold and zircon miners were evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. This Wildlife Reserve provides a second chance of survival for orangutans that have been rescued from oil palm plantations or other areas where they are a risk.
To protect the Reserve, Orangutan Foundation have built eight guard posts from which regular forest and river patrols are launched in collaboration with the Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA). It is a huge undertaking keeping the Reserve (64,000 hectares) free from illegal activity.
Illegal mining was first detected months ago, by the Orangutan Foundation’s forest patrol teams. Frustratingly, we do not have the authority to evict or stop the miners but can only inform them that they are acting illegally and gather evidence to report to BKSDA. To evict the miners and their equipment, the Forestry Police and Indonesian military are involved.
Thankfully the miners and their equipment are now gone. We remain vigilant and will try to prevent the miners starting up again.The mining process devastates the forest ecosystem, destroying orangutan habitat. If the Orangutan Foundation stopped actively protecting the Reserve then its precious wildlife and this globally important ecosystem, with huge stores of carbon, would very likely be destroyed and lost. Please help us to keep the forest protected. Click here to donate.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This summer I had the unique opportunity to visit Central Kalimantan to see the area in which the Orangutan Foundation operates. I have been interning with the Foundation for 4 months, and I’m familiar with many of the areas they protect, although by name only. Therefore, it was a pleasure to see these landmarks in the flesh and meet the Indonesian team that work so hard to protect them.
The various camps are most easily reached via Kalimantan’s river systems. As I travelled down river by speedboat, the waterfront houses of Pangkalan Bun quickly turned into dense forest. Noteworthy sightswere various indicators of habitat loss, such as logs being transported towards the town. Kingfishers darted in front of the boat so fast that getting a good photo was impossible!
I first visited the site of the new guard post where this year’s volunteers were making excellent headway into its construction. The volunteers were a hardworking, dedicated bunch from all walks of life! They were all dedicated to the cause and felt genuine, collective concern for the threat of habitat loss, highlighted by the constant stream of reminders around them. They spoke of awaking to the sound of chainsaws, highlighting the need for a guard post in the area.
Afterward, I got to visit Camp Buluh. This is the current home of Sugih, a 5-year-old female who was rescued by OF, previously kept as a pet. Foundation staff informed me that she had made good progress, she was behaving as a wild orangutan should - encouraging news.
The next day was the volunteer’s day off, and I was lucky enough to join them to visit Camp JL, where Okto and Ketty are currently being cared for, and Camp Gemini. Okto and Ketty were a lively duo to watch, and really quite amusing, with Okto dropping to the ground at one stage and crossing his arms as if to say “I am not doing any more nest-building practice!”. Hopefully in time he’ll exhibit less of this behaviour, as wild orangutans are rarely seen on the forest floor.
Camp Gemini’s feeding station was a hive of activity; we saw many mothers with infants who inhabited the forest nearby. They began to crowd around with the promise of fresh fruit! We even saw a wild male, enticed by the fruit - and the females!
On my last day, I was taken to visit Pondok Ambung, the Foundation’s research station situated within Tanjung Puting National Park. There were 15 camera traps placed around this area which provided evidence of a plethora of wildlife who call this National Park home.
We then visited the famed Camp Leakey where I saw a gibbon amongst the orangutans visiting the feeding station, which moved too swiftly through the tree tops for a photo! The traffic caused by the tourist’s klotoks was really a sight to behold, displaying how popular this area has become with people from around the world.
The journey back to Kumai was magical, made so by numerous orangutans who had begun to make their nests by the river’s edge.
I had a fantastic time visiting this wonderland that so many orangutans call home. I would urge anybody who has not already done so to check out the various trips available to visit for themselves, particularly the Volunteer Programme (http://www.orangutan.org.uk/orangutan-tours). I’ve definitely received a ginger thumbs up from the orangutans in the area, as well as being made to feel very welcome by the excellent Indonesian staff members. Many thanks and hoping I’ll be back soon!
We at the Foundation love harnessing new technology to give us a better understanding of the current state of the rainforest habitat we work to protect. Our latest project involves integrating drone technology into our habitat assessments, as well as into our orangutan rescues. Drones are remotely controlled cameras which can be flown over rainforest areas and used to take aerial photos or video of the surrounding landscape. We have now been using drones over the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve for a couple of months, and with impressive results! For example, these images (below) were taken in order to assess the scale of the damage in the reserve caused by the forest fires late last year.
By viewing aerial footage of the damage, we can best place our efforts to protect remaining forest with the introduction of strategically positioned guard posts and forest restoration projects.
In using these drones during our orangutan rescues, we are also better equipped to assess the surrounding area and determine how the orangutan became displaced. The striking image below gave us a clear and devastating indication of how orangutan habitat had been so greatly fragmented due to the expansion of oil-palm plantations in the area of Sampit (Central Kalimantan).
We are gaining a great deal of insight from the use of new technology such as this, and we couldn’t be doing so without the backing of our generous supporters. In being able to share these discoveries and insights with you, we feel you are able to better understand our work and the challenges we continue to face.
We love to explore the internet in new ways to gain support and raise awareness of the work we do. Social media is another amazing tool to promote knowledge and effectively ‘spread the word’ about the beauty and wonder of orangutans and their rainforest home, as well as highlighting why we desperately need to protect it. We connect with supporters on Twitter and post announcements on Facebook, whilst using this blog to help individuals to gain a deeper and more personal understanding of what we do in the field.
In light of this acknowledgement, we are excited to announce the launch of the Orangutan Foundation’s Instagram account in honour of Rainforest: Live! Follow our Instagram (orangutan_foundation) to see new images and clips from our Indonesian staff as they experience the true wonders of the Indonesian rainforest!
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP