Human-Orangutan Conflict

Caged for 7 years. Young orangutan kept as a pet is finally offered a lifeline

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It’s never a phone call we wish to receive, but in the same week that our team rescued a pair of wild orangutans from an isolated oil palm plantation, we received news of another orangutan being kept as a pet also in need of rescue. The owner had contacted government officials as they could no longer care for the ape, and therefore Orangutan Foundation staff were called upon to assist.

Arriving at the property where the orangutan was being kept in Central Kalimantan, Borneo, it quickly became apparent that the individual had been kept there a very long time. Our team tentatively approached a wooden crate with litter strewn on the ground surrounding it.

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The orangutan had been named Pegi by her owner. It transpired that Pegi was a female orangutan found as a 1-year-old in 2012 and incredibly had been living in her cramped wooden crate as a pet for the following 7 years on a diet of rice, noodles, fruit and sugary drinks. Certainly not a diet suitable for orangutans.

After obtaining as much information about the young orangutan as possible and informing the owner of the prohibitions around keeping wild animals’ captive, our team freed Pegi from her cage and transported her to a government facility (BKSDA) where her health could be inspected.

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Fortunately under examination Pegi seemed in good health, and as her blood tests received the all-clear, she was ready to be taken to her new home at Camp Buluh in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. It’s here that she’ll join another orphaned orangutan, Okto, in our soft-release programme, with the hope of one day being released into the wild.

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The early years of any orangutan’s life are the most important in order to learn how to survive in the wild. With Pegi’s traumatic start to her young life, and perhaps never even climbing a tree before, she will need encouragement to learn these skills in the best possible training ground there is- the forest.

Pegi is given some browse as a form of enrichment

Pegi is given some browse as a form of enrichment

Partnerships for Protection

Most people’s idea of orangutan conservation would evoke a picture of a life in the wild, tracking these charismatic apes through the forest, rescuing and releasing them into a sunlit canopy. While this is one element, the reality of our work is a much bigger picture.

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Release of orangutan back into the wild

Orangutan conservation must address the complex issues affecting the wider landscape and habitat, and this involves an in-depth understanding of land management and negotiation with government, communities, and private sector stakeholders. It sometimes feels far from the animals in the forest, but it’s fundamental to their future survival.

This week, Orangutan Foundation and the Central Kalimantan Wildlife Department (BKSDA) held a workshop on Management of Wildlife in Protected Forest and Production Forest Areas and a Forum on Orangutans and Oil-Palm Plantations.  There were more than 30 participants from parties including the Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Workshop participants including Directorate of Biodiversity Conservation (KKH), Ditjend KSDAE-Ministry of LHK, Central Kalimantan Orangutan Forum (Forkah), Central Kalimantan Forest Service, Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK Indonesia), Korindo Group, Wilmar Group, and Central Kalimantan BKSDA.

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

Forum on Orangutan and Oil-Palm Plantations

The big issue for the Bornean Orangutan species is that 80% of the population are extremely vulnerable, as they live in forest habitats with no active protection (i.e. not inside a national park or wildlife reserve).

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

Active habitat protection: Orangutan Foundation guard post monitoring the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo

These forests, which have been shrinking dramatically over the last few decades, and the animals that live there, are at risk as most of them are in active ‘concessions’ – areas where access to the land has been granted for some form of industrial use. There are many different legal designations, including natural timber concessions, industrial timber plantations and areas of forest still remaining inside oil-palm concessions, as well as forests on community lands. There are also areas of ‘Hutan Lindung’, Protection Forest, a special designation where the forest provides a wider ecosystem service to protect soils and water catchment. Proper management of these forests is crucial to mitigate conflicts between humans and wildlife and to reduce the number of isolated orangutans that end up needing to be rescued.

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At the end of the two days, all of the participants agreed to sign a joint commitment to implementing Best Management Practices focused on the protection of orangutans and wildlife in Production Forests and Protection Forests, as well as in oil-palm plantations. This is a vital step forward in securing the survival of the Bornean orangutan; and for this we are very grateful for the continued support from all our members and donors and in particular, to the Arcus Foundation.  The next step is to ensure these commitments made on paper translate to commitments on the ground.

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Wild Bornean female and infant orangutan. By Ian Wood

Rescued orangutan soon ready for release back to the wild

When Panglima was first rescued he wouldn’t use the tyre swing or browse in his enclosure - the team looking after him felt sure he would but it would take time for him to adapt to his new surroundings. They were right!

Panglima, a rescued wild Bornean orangutan is very wary of humans.

Panglima, a rescued wild Bornean orangutan is very wary of humans.

These images show Panglima using the swing and he gathers up browse (the branches and leaves he is given) and makes a nest.

Panglima using his tyre swing and browse

Panglima using his tyre swing and browse

He eats plenty of fresh fruit and is active and healthy. He is still wary of humans and moves away when someone approaches the enclosure, but this is behaviour we want him to retain.

Panglima is a wild orangutan and though he is quite young he will be released back into the wild in June. He’ll be followed by our post-release monitoring staff. If he needs it he will have access to supplementary fruit.  Watch this space for an update on his return to the wild.

Though still young Panglima is very wild and he will be better off living in the forest.

Though still young Panglima is very wild and he will be better off living in the forest.

Update on rescued 5-year-old wild orangutan

Yesterday our vet, Dr Dimas, and our reintroduction manager, Mr Azhari, visited Panglima, the five-year-old wild orangutan, who we rescued last week. Panglima is temporarily being kept in isolation at Camp Siswoyo, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

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The staff at Camp Siswoyo provide leaves and branches every day as an enrichment. He doesn’t use the tyre swing but we’re sure he will as he adapts to his new surroundings. Panglima rests on the enclosure floor but as soon as anyone approaches he climbs to the top of the enclosure. He is wild and it is good that he is wary of humans, which is something we want to maintain. He is eating well and this is also a positive sign.

Conservation of wild orangutans living outside protected areas

A very successful two day workshop was organised by our partners Yayorin (Indonesian NGO) and Orangutan Foundation to address the conservation issues facing 78% of wild orangutans, who live outside of protected areas. The focus was training in SMART technology to monitor and survey orangutan populations and prevent crimes against orangutans, wildlife and forests.

Certificate awarded for participating in SMART training

Certificate awarded for participating in SMART training

The workshop was well attended and all participating received practical training.

The workshop was well attended and all participating received practical training.

Workshop attendees included Yayorin, Orangutan Foundation, SKW II Balai KSDA Kalimantan Tengah, Tanjung Puting National Park Office, Sukamara-Lamandau Regional Forest Service Office (KPHP) , Seruyan Regional Forestry Service Office (KPHP), Nangamatu Village - Belantikan Raya and Pangkalan Bun Antakusuma University.

Workshop attendees included Yayorin, Orangutan Foundation, SKW II Balai KSDA Kalimantan Tengah, Tanjung Puting National Park Office, Sukamara-Lamandau Regional Forest Service Office (KPHP) , Seruyan Regional Forestry Service Office (KPHP), Nangamatu Village - Belantikan Raya and Pangkalan Bun Antakusuma University.

Thank you to Arcus Great Apes and Gibbon Program for funding this important initiative.

Orangutan Foundation celebrating International Orangutan Day in Central Kalimantan

International Orangutan Day (19th August) aims to increase global awareness about orangutans and their tropical forest habitat. This weekend, Orangutan Foundation, in Central Kalimantan, orangutan capital of the world, have a festival of activities arranged for hundreds of people. Members of the youth groups, Kalteng Indonesian Conservation Cadre Communication Forum (FK3I) and the Student Nature Lovers, throughout Kowaringin Barat Regency will join in. We’ll be celebrating orangutans and conservation with overnight camping and art activities. Five local kindergartens are taking part in a colouring contest. We’ve also organised a car-free day in the town of Pangkalan Bun to highlight this global day celebrating orangutans. Ensuring awareness is achieved here, means that a real difference can be made.

The overall aim is to increase community awareness about the environment and the presence of wild orangutans in the surrounding forests. Leaflets will be distributed informing people how to avoid human-orangutan conflicts.

This action is needed more now, than ever before.

Watch this space for news and images of how the festivities went.

Wild orangutan rescued and moved to safety

When our staff arrived at the oil-palm plantation they found the orangutan in an area of forest, on the riverbank of the plantation. We had been called in to help by BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun (government agency for wildlife) who had received reports from an oil-palm plantation of an orangutan in their plantation. It was decided to capture the orangutan and move her to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, to avoid potential conflict.

The orangutan, who they identified as female, had made and was resting in a nest. This made it easier to dart her as she wasn’t moving.

What our staff hadn’t anticipated was that she might just remain where she was and fall asleep, making it very difficult to then rescue her. This is just what happened!

One of our rescue team staff, Mr Nasibah, also an expert tree climber, shinnied up the tree to the nest. With huge effort he managed to lower the unconscious orangutan out of her nest.  Our staff on the ground, used netting to catch her, as she fell to the ground.

She was quickly transported to an open area where our vet Dr Dimas, examined her. Apart from a small scratch to her chest, she was in full health, weighing 45 kilos and was thought to be around 18 years-old. The scratch was cleaned and injected with long-acting antibiotics to prevent infection.

Two days later the orangutan was released in the Lamandau Widlife Reserve, on the opposite side of the river from Camp JL. We protect this forest reserve with guard posts and regular forest patrols to prevent and deter illegal activities.

 

As soon as the transport cage door was opened she actively climbed into the nearby trees and disappeared into the forest.This, we hope, is her last encounter with humans.

The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest and is home to a population of more than 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are stay safe. Please donate to our urgent appeal – DONATE TODAY

 

Protecting orangutan habitat

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.

With sincere thanks,

Ashley Leiman OBE Founder & Director/Trustee

Stop habitat loss, stop orangutans being killed

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.

If you can, please consider becoming a Guardian of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, from £16.50 a month (the equivalent of 55p a day) you can make a significant difference. Thank you.

We thank the West Kotawaringin Police, KPHP Kotawaringin Barat, and BKSDA Kalteng for their joint patrols. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vet's first orangutan rescue

The Orangutan Foundation is delighted to welcome Dimas Yuzrifar as its new vet, replacing Dr Steven, who has now returned to Bali. Being "thrown in at the deep end" is certainly how the first week has been for Dr Dimas!  Last weekend we received reports of a wild orangutan in village forest. This was passed onto the government agency for wildlife, BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun.

The orangutan was found close to oil palm, banana and rubber plantations owned by local residents. The villagers feared the orangutan would damage their crops and so BKSDA decided, in this case, to capture and move (translocate) the orangutan, to avoid any conflict arising. Dr Dimas managed to anesthetize the orangutan. After being caught the orangutan was identified as female with an estimated weight of around 25 kg.  The next day after checking the orangutan was well and active she was released into the safety of the protected Lamandau Willdife Reserve.

Watch this clip to see how quickly the orangutan leaves the transport cage and disappears into the forest.

After the busy weekend with the translocation, Dr Dimas also spent time meeting and checking up on the young orangutans in our release camps.  Here's a clip of young Satria playing in his night-time enclosure.

Wonder what the next week will have in store?

Thank you for supporting our work.

Donate to help us keep the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its precious orangutans and wildlife protected. Click here to donate - thank you. 

 

An Orangutan Foundation snapshot - 2017

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.

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

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.

DONATE to support our work

Challenging but successful orangutan rescue from beach resort

“As the pictures came through on WhatsApp and I saw an image of a beach I wondered what our rescue team had been up to!” - Ashley Leiman (Orangutan Foundation director.) A lone adult orangutan had been reported close to a beach resort where villagers were threatening to capture and harm it.

After receiving the call for help from the Wildlife Department (BKSDA SKW II), in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, our vet and rescue staff had to drive, for 5 hours, through the night, to the town of Sampit.

Orangutan Foundation pick up truck

 

The team made a rescue plan and set off at 3am to where the orangutan was last seen. They found the orangutan’s nest and traces of faeces, but the orangutan was nowhere to be seen.

After 10 hours of searching, the orangutan was finally spotted in a small patch of mangrove forest. No wanting to lose her again, Orangutan Foundation’s vet had a dart gun ready.

The orangutan was successfully darted, caught and then quickly examined by the vet for injuries.

Our vet gave her another examination and confirmed she was female, healthy and in a fit condition. He gave her vitamins and worming medicine and blood samples were taken.

She was then transferred into a holding cage, for the long drive back to Pangkalan Bun, to the Wildlife Department’s head office.

Bornean orangutans are critically endangered due to the destruction and fragmentation of tropical forests. As they lose their forest home they are forced into contact with humans, often resulting in injury or death for the great ape.

We have rescued many orangutans, but this is the first time an orangutan has been rescued from a nearby beach. Luckily, for this orangutan, she was taken by boat to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. As soon as the cage door was opened she clambered straight up the nearest tree and disappeared into the forest canopy.

The wildlife reserve, is home to an estimated 500 orangutans, and the Orangutan Foundation actively protects it with guard posts, forest patrols and conservation drones.

Please donate now to support our work.

 

 

Meet Aan the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work, but unfortunately, not all have a second chance in the wild. Aan

Aan, 2013. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan is a blind orangutan. She first came to us in 2012, having been found stranded on an oil-palm plantation, after being shot over 100 times with an air gun. The injuries sustained left Aan blind. You can read more about her rescue here.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

In 2016, we arranged for an ophthalmic surgeon to visit Aan to see if there was any chance of restoring her sight, with the hope that one day she could return to the wild. Aan underwent surgery but it soon became clear that the damage sustained was too severe and Aan would be permanantly blind.

Aan, blind orangutan. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan lives in a purpose-built enclosure at Camp Gemini, where our vet clinic is located, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Our staff give her the best quality of life that is possible, but sadly Aan can never return to the forest, where she belongs.

Aan in her permanent enclosure, with enrichment. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Aan’s story serves as a heartbreaking reminder that the threat to orangutans caused by habitat loss is a very real one. Please support our care of Aan during Orangutan Awareness Week by donating here.

Meet Kotim the orangutan

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

Kotim, February 2017. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

Kotim, 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

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

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

Acuy and Ariel. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

Please donate here.

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

Meet Bangkal the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work. Bangkal

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

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

Bangkal in 2000. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Holahonolulu the orangutan

To celebrate Orangutan Awareness Week, we are telling the stories of some of the orangutans who have been given a second chance thanks to your support for our work. Holahonolulu

Holahonolulu in 2015. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom in the wild

If you want something done, ask a busy person. This expression is especially true for Orangutan Foundation Director, Ashley Leiman OBE, who has just returned from a field visit to our programmes in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. One of the highlights was a tree planting ceremony to celebrate the planting out of over 22,000 seedlings in degraded forest habitat in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. The most memorable day though involved the return to the wild of seven different species. Captured from the wild and kept as pets, these animals had been confiscated by the Wildlife Department of Central Kalimantan (BKSDA Kalteng). The day was also a chance for Ashley to meet Bapak Adib Gunawan, the new Head of Wildlife for Central Kalimantan, who was overseeing the releases.

Staff from two of the guard posts in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve with Ashley Leiman OBE, Director of the Orangutan Foundation and Bapak Adib Gunawan, Head of BKSDA Kalteng. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

The animals due for release included two changeable hawk eagles, a hornbill, a pangolin, a slow loris, two reticulated pythons, a sun bear and a young orangutan.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, about to release a Changeable Hawk Eagle

The orangutan, a handsome young male of around one-and-a-half years old, had been kept as a pet in a nearby town. He was named Adib, after the new Head of Wildlife, and has joined our Soft-Release Programme at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where he’ll learn the skills to survive in the forests.

Adib the orangutan, named after the new Head of Wildlife

Adib the orangutan, a handsome male of around 2 years old.

Paddington the sun bear helping himself to a light refreshment. Credit Ian Wood

A playful sun bear, named Paddington (also a pet), was taken to Camp Siswoyo, where Orangutan Foundation staff will care for him until he is old enough to live independently. The slow loris, being a nocturnal primate, was released after nightfall.

The hornbill has a nibble pre-release. Image ©Ian Wood.

The changeable hawk eagles and hornbill were released from a guard post in the reserve, and Ashley opened the slide door to the crate of the pythons.

Changeable Hawk Eagle, post release. Image ©Ian Wood.

Close up of a Changeable Hawk Eagle. Image© Ian Wood.

One of the animals released was a large reticulated python. Image© Orangutan Foundation.

Over 3 meters in length, Ashley questioned why anyone would want to keep the snakes as a pet! We’ll post a separate blog on the pangolin, so watch this space.

Python released into the wild. Image ©Ian Wood.

Ashley pointed out that our work for these animals has only just begun. Through our habitat protection work we must ensure that the forests stay standing, so the wildlife stays in the wild.

OF Director Ashley Leiman OBE with Pak Adib, Head of Wildlife, Central Kalimantan. Image© Ian Wood.

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Thank you.

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.

The Plight of Pongo Pygmaeus

We would like to share this post written by Justin Wateridge, Managing Director of Steppes Travel.

On Thursday many young people - perhaps a child, grandchild, niece or nephew of yours - received their A level results, but what does the future hold for them? Perhaps not one with pongo pygmaeus.

To you and me that is the Bornean orangutan which is now feared to have less than 50,000 individuals and hence last year it was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the highest risk category. We hear much in the news about elephant ivory, rhino horn and the hunting of lions but little or nothing of the enigmatic man of the forest.

Yet every year orangutan populations are threatened because of their habitat, low-lying tropical rainforest, is being destroyed and converted to oil palm plantations. Orangutans and the majority of biodiversity supported by tropical rainforests cannot co-exist with oil palm plantations. The use of fire to clear land for plantations is an additional risk to an already serious threat.

An encroaching human population is adding to the orangutans' habitat loss. Last year the Orangutan Foundation rescued many more threatened animals than they have before - only half of these were orangutans, the rest were a diverse range of forest creatures including sun bears, leopard cats and slow loris.

Having just come back from Indonesian Borneo, I met with the inspiring Ashley Leiman on Wednesday to see what more Steppes Travel could do to support the Orangutan Foundation UK the only one of six orangutan agencies in the UK that has permanent projects of the ground.

Given that today is International World Orangutan Day I would urge you to think about what you can do to help, either directly via the Orangutan Foundation's website or better still by travelling with your family as I did to see orangutans in situ or join our revamped Orangutan Conservation tour.

Yes you can see orangutans in this country but only in a handful of zoos - Blackpool, Chester, Colchester, Durrell and Twycross and we believe there is no substitute for doing so in the wild.

Participants of the Steppes Travel Borneo group tour will be joined by an expert from the Orangutan Foundation, offering exclusive insight into our conservation projects taking place in Central Kalimantan.

Alternatively, you can support our Forest Restoration Programme in Indonesian Borneo by purchasing a copy of our book: "The Orangutan's World".  

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

This wonderful book provides a glimpse into the world of the orangutan through a collection of photographs of the flora and fauna found in Indonesian Borneo.