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
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.
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.
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
The survival of the critically endangered orangutan and its forest habitat lies in the hands of Indonesia's youth. Their opinions, decisions and actions will determine its future existence in the wild. This is why awareness and capacity building is vital to the long-term conservation of this threatened great ape.
This month the Orangutan Foundation, and other local organisations, delivered a series of lessons to senior school, SMAN 3 Pangkalan Bun (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). Our Research Manager, Arie, talked about the importance of research and our work at Pondok Ambung Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park. The Orangutan Foundation's Forest Patrols Manager, Jakir, led an inspiring session about photojournalism.
Why is Pondok Ambung Research Station important?
Every few months our staff move camera traps to a different location within the research study site. Just some of the wildlife documented so far includes clouded leopards, sun bears, muntjac, crested fireback (forest pheasant), mouse deer, tree mouse, frogs and pig tailed macaques.
They also monitor tree phenology, recording which species of tree are in flower or fruiting and which consumer species are feeding from them and how often.
Our research station was renovated by last year’s volunteer team and is now much better equipped to hosted visitors. In January, 65 students visited. The students participated in wildlife observations, learnt field skills, watched and discussed a wildlife trade documentary and planted 500 tree seedlings, at Pondok Ambung’s forest restoration site.
The success of the event was due to the collaborative efforts of Orangutan Foundation staff and other organisations including; Bagas the Traffic / IUCN Redlist Ambassador for Kalimantan; Fajar from OFI, the FNPF, BTNTP and FK3I. The event was supported by the National Park’s tour operators and guides who provided a free klotok (longboat) as did FNPF.
Please donate to support our work - it is needed to secure a future for oranguans, forests and people. DONATE HERE
Below are some images taken from camera traps at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park. In 2017, Orangutan Foundation, awarded three research scholarships to Indonesian students. One of them is Reza Bayu Firmansyah. Reza is conducting research on the density and distribution of wild cat species to complete his Master's Degree at UGM - Gajah Mada University.
Around the Pondok Ambung Research Station area our staff and Reza think there are 3 individual clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) all from one family. A male, female and juvenile this based on their size and where they where and when they were photographed.
Clouded leopards are a threatened species and it is vital that we learn more about them. Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is located in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo and is run by the Orangutan Foundation in co-operation with Tanjung Puting National Park Authority.
From 28th November until 5th December you can DOUBLE your donation through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, at no extra cost to yourself. Click here to donate and double your impact to support our work.
This year our we are raising funds to inspire Borneo’s future conservationists. In this clip Arie, Research Manager of Pondok Ambung, our tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, explains why it is important.
We use camera traps to monitor the wildlife in the forests surrounding Pondok Ambung. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film!
To protect Indonesia’s biodiversity, future conservationists need to be encouraged and supported.
Our research station is a base from where Indonesian students and international scientists can conduct research. Take a virtual tour below:
Please help us to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
We are delighted to share this post written by Justin Wateridge, Managing Director of Steppes Travel.
“Can we hold one of the baby orangutans?”
“You can’t hold them. That wouldn’t be right. They need to be released into the wild when they are older and they must not become too habituated to people.” I beamed with pride at the grown-up and correct response from my eight-year old son.
Just hours earlier we had flown into Pangkalan Bun, the southernmost airport of the massive island of Borneo and the access point to Tanjung National Park, home to the man of the forest, the orangutan. Before journeying into Tanjung Puting we were fortunate enough to be visiting Lamandau Wildlife Reserve at the personal invitation of the Orangutan Foundation UK.
Yet at the time, standing at the dock in Pangkalan Bun, I sense the mood of the team was not one of being lucky. The vagaries of flight timings in a remote part of Indonesia and our misconceived western obsession with punctuality meant that we were late and tired. Our mood reflected the grey skies above. The four speedboats bobbing precariously in the water did little to alleviate the temper of the Mums, the drops of rain only further dampened spirits.
However, twenty minutes out of Pangkalan Bun we turned off the brown sludge of the wide and featureless Kumai River and headed up the much smaller and altogether more exciting Arut River. The speedboats raced along the black tannin river which was only several meters wide, hemmed in by a riot of vegetation. Slaloming through the foliage of the forest in the hope that the river did not have a two-way traffic system was adrenalin-charged. Parents likened it to the Bond film ‘Live and let die’ and children to Willie Wonka’s glass elevator; both found it exhilarating. Read more...
We are delighted that today's blog post is by Julia Cissewski founder of the German charity Orangutans in peril. Please take a few seconds to vote for Julia and help win €30,000 for orangutans.
On 14 July, I visited the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan. Our German charity Orang-Utans in Not e.V. (Orangutans in peril, www.orang-utans-in-not.org/en/) has been supporting the Orangutan Foundation's enrichment planting and forest restoration there for several years.
After a week of intermittent rain, we enjoyed a beautiful sunny morning and first travelled by boat from the town of Pangkalan Bun to Camp Rasak in the Reserve.
There we visited the enrichment planting area. I last went there in 2012 and now was delighted to see the progress that has been made. The little fruit trees will later serve to feed orangutans in the area.
Afterwards we went by boat to Camp Gemini to watch the feeding of released orangutans. The weather kept and it got rather hot. We thus were glad to reach the cover of the release site. At the feeding station we observed several females with their babies, a moving experience. The babies were born in the wild and show the success of the release programme.
On our way back to Pangkalan Bun we saw several Proboscis monkeys, watching us rather unimpressed from the trees on the river bank. We arrived in Pangkalan Bun when the sun was setting. It was a wonderful day and we gave our thanks to Pak Ade, the program manager, and the other Orangutan Foundation staff. They are doing such great work in Lamandau and we are very much looking forward to our future cooperation.
I suppose I should mention that I was accompanied by a film crew who were filming for the German magazine "Bild der Frau". This magazine each year awards prizes to five women running German charities. And in 2017 I am one of them. You can help us gain an additional award of 30,000€ (!) for the orangutans. This award is given to the organization that can raise most votes by October 21, 2017. Every vote counts:
Thank you very much for your support!
Ashley Leiman OBE, Orangutan Foundation Director, greeted the students at our research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). The students were studying Silviculture. The name comes from the Latin silvi meaning forest and culture as in growing.
Providing opportunities and the facilities for Indonesian students to study tropical forests is not only vital for the future of the country's forests and people but is for orangutans too. A recent article in the journal Nature Scientific Report stated that 'Orangutan populations on Borneo have declined at a rate of 25% over the last 10 years'. If we are to truly tackle this problem we have to think long-term. The future of orangutans ultimately rests in the hands of the Indonesian people.
Please donate to support our work - a future for orangutans, forests and people.
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.
Research and the Rainforest
To mark #RainforestLive2017, we explore the reasons why rainforest research is so critical to our operations in Indonesian Borneo. We share recent research on individual species, and an overview on other more general research which is ongoing.
Research provides the basis for making key decisions on the conservation of rainforests. Since 2005 the Orangutan Foundation has managed a tropical forest research station, situated on the Sekonyer river inside Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. Known as Pondok Ambung, it is used by international researchers, Indonesian students and university groups for wildlife and forest research.
Recently the field staff stationed at Pondok Ambung have been carrying out research on tarsiers, a species of primate, and false gharials (T. Schelegelii), a species of crocodile. These two species are found within Tanjung Puting National Park and both are threatened with the risk of extinction in the wild. Little is known about either species. It is important to learn more about their behaviour to learn how best to protect them.
You can learn more about our tarsier research here.
Field staff have been monitoring false gharial activity on the Sekonyer River, in Tanjung Puting National Park. Four have been caught and tagged in areas close by to Pondok Ambung, so that staff can monitor their behaviour long-term.
We also received exciting reports of the presence a very large false gharial in the area judging by the size of its footprint (twice the length of a pen!).
However, staff did not come across the creature during the survey.
Staff also conducted interviews with miners outside the park, who also reported sightings of 7 large false gharials in the surrounding area. More research will be conducted on why these crocodiles are living in areas of human disturbance such as this, but it is likely a result of a higher abundance of food.
Alongside recent research on individual species of wildlife, we also have a number of camera traps placed around Pondok Ambung in order to monitor the biodiversity of the surrounding forest. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film:
All this data provides important insights into the biodiversity which exists within the area we protect. It is vital we learn as much as we can in order to help protect and raise awareness of the important role each species plays in the rainforest ecosystem.
This is why the Orangutan Foundation takes part in events like Rainforest: Live, joining a global movement to spread the word and encourage action to protect the incredible biodiversity that exists within tropical forest habitat.
Follow us today on social media, using the hashtag #RainforestLive!
Rainforests once covered as much as 12% of the earth's landmass. They now only cover 5%, largely a result of human activity. Help us to protect the world's remaining rainforests, estimated to be home to as much as half of all species of flora and fauna found on earth, including the magnificent orangutan.
Join us tomorrow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest and please show your support for rainforest conservation by getting involved – follow the hashtag #RainforestLive and share, like, retweet and comment!
The Orangutan Foundation manages a tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo.
Pondok Ambung Research Station is used as a base from which our field staff, students and international researchers can learn more about the flora and fauna of Borneo’s forests.These studies are vital when implementing strategies to best conserve rainforest habitat in this area.
We’ve just received an exciting report from our research manager on tarsiers.
There are 10 known species of tarsier, all of which are found in Southeast Asia.
Tarsiers are the only carnivorous primate, primarily feeding on insects, but have been recorded to feed on small birds, bats, frogs, crabs and even snakes!
Tarsiers are small primates, averaging around just 13cm in length.
They are nocturnal, using their large eyes and ears to hunt for prey at night.
Their spines are specially adapted to allow them to turn their heads nearly 180° in each direction, perfect for locating prey.
Tarsiers move by leaping; Bornean tarsiers have been recorded to jump distances over 5m!
They are sexually dimorphic: males are larger than females.
Tarsiers have been known to live for up to 16 years.
They are generally found no higher than 2m above the forest floor.
They tend to live in small groups of around 3 individuals.
Tarsiers mark their territory with scent – using their urine!
A Tarsier is a primate which inhabits a range of different forest types. Their taxonomic classification is as follows:
The species our staff studied is known as the Bornean Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus boreanus). Bornean tarsiers are widespread throughout the island of Borneo. Listed by the IUCN as “Vulnerable”, Bornean tarsiers are threatened by the risk of extinction in the wild, as a result of habitat loss.
A population exists within the forests of Tanjung Puting National Park. Our field staff have conducted surveys to track this lesser-known species of primate. Locations where tarsier activity was identified were tracked using GPS. Our staff directly encountered two tarsiers, with 10 other indirect encounters from identifying their scent - left with urine.
All traces of tarsiers were found either near the river or in swamp forest, as this is where tarsiers obtain most of their food. Supporting other research, the two tarsiers spotted were found only in small trees, no higher than 2m from the ground.
Field staff reported heavy rain during tarsier observations, which made it difficult to spot and follow them in the dense vegetation.
It is vital we conserve these types of habitat for tarsiers by preventing human activity in this area of protected forest which leads to habitat loss. Limiting the amount of tourism in this area would also be beneficial so the area can be better managed.
Want to learn more about our research programme? Watch this short clip:
On Thursday, 26 January 2017, Orangutan Foundation field staff responded to a call about a sun bear being kept as a pet in a local town. Upon arrival, field staff met with the owner of the sun bear, which had been named Momong, to carry out the rescue. Momong turned out to be a young female sun bear of around 2 years old. Momong had been kept as a pet for just under a year, but despite being deprived of natural sources of food, the Foundation’s vet determined that she was in reasonably healthy condition.
Momong was taken to Camp JL in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo - where after careful monitoring and assessment to check she was ready, she was released. As proven with previous translocations, sun bears can wreak havoc around camp, and Momong was no different! The following week after release Momong kept trying to return to Camp JL, damaging camp facilities in the process.
The decision was made to recapture Momong and to release her 1km away from camp to prevent her returning, and encourage Momong to integrate back into the forest where she belongs.
Field staff are pleased to report the second release has been successful.
Watch footage of Momong’s release:
You can support our Animal Rescue and Release Programme here.
Here is a blog post by Azhari Purbatrapsila, the Orangutan Foundation's Reintroduction Manager. But, as you will see, it is not just orangutans that the Orangutan Foundation rescue and release.
On 12 January 2017, I and Jakir (Forest Patrol Manager) translocated one saltwater crocodile and one black-winged kite to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Translocation was done together with SKW II BKSDA Kalteng (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). The crocodile is about 1 meter in length and is in a healthy condition.
Unlike the crocodile, the kite was not in a good condition. It looks like the kite was kept in a small cage so its wings are really weak. Although its wing are full (no missing feathers), some of the feathers are not in good shape. The kite and the crocodile were handed over from the community.
After confirmation of the translocation, we left the Orangutan Foundation office at 10am and went to the BKSDA office to pick up BKSDA staff and the animals. We drove to the speedboat jetty and went directly by boat to Camp Buluh, within the Reserve.
Firstly, we released the crocodile, which swam away from us before it dived into the river and wasn't seen again.
After, we released the kite onto a tree which is usually used by soft-release orangutans who are learning to climb.
After several minutes of staying on the branch, the kite tried to fly. Unfortunately, the kite unable to fly properly and it fell into the swamp water next to the camp building.
We decided to put the kite in an empty orangutan enclosure and let the camp staff take care of it until its healthy and strong enough and can fly. Hopefully the kite's condition will improve quickly so it can be released and be wild again. We will keep you updated.
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.
Blogpost by Steven Daud, Orangutan Foundation vet, in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.
Yesterday, 14 December 2016, we go by speedboat to the Camp Siswoyo and Camp Buluh, in Lamandu Wildlife Reserve, as part of our regular visits. First, we stopped at the Post Teringin Lama to check on a Brahminy kite, named Jack. He was obtained from citizens in Sampit. Jack came to us with many missing wing feathers so Jack cannot fly far away.
Because of that, we decided to put Jack at Guard Post Teringin Lama and the staff at the Post have responsibility of taking care of Jack. At first, Jack only at around the Post jetty, but now Jack seen already getting used to roost in the forest near the Post.
After Post Teringin Lama, we went to Release Camp Siswoyo for checking the latest condition of Bruno and Satria. Bruno is a Bornean sun bear and already in Camp Siswoyo since October and seemed to have a skin problem, but due to treatment it’s much better.
Satria is an orangutan undergoing soft release. Rescued in June and is about 2 and ½ years old and he is in a healthy condition and doing well. To stop infection by the parasite, I give anti-parasitic drugs to prevent transmission of disease, which I suspect comes from Bearded Pig.
Here is a video of two other young orangutans, Jessica and Timtom, in our soft-release programme, made by Azhari, our Orangutan Reintroduction manager.
Steven - Orangutan Foundation vet
Please support our work in returning these critically endangered orangutans and other wildlife species back to the wild, where they belong. Click to donate.
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP