Yayorin

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.

...With a lot of help from our friends...

More can be achieved by working together...Collaboration and partnerships are how we extend the reach of the foundation. Working with groups who have similar aims, we raise funds to support our team on the ground, funding research and education. The training courses we administer enable local people to continue to live sustainably within forest environments.538839_10150788342383993_1920120953_n

GRASP - The Great Ape Survival Partnership, working with its partners UNEP and UNESCO - comprises of the great ape range states that work together to lift the threat of imminent extinction facing apes in Africa and Southeast Asia. The Orangutan Foundation is on the GRASP Executive Committee.

4apesThe Ape Alliance is an international coalition of organisations and individuals working for the conservation and welfare of apes. The Foundation is a founding member of the Alliance. Here Sir David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall and other speak in a panel discussion with Ape Alliance Chair and Foundation Trustee, Ian Redmond OBE at Ape Alliance's 'Hope for Apes' evening in 2010 at the Lyceum Theatre

Hope-4-Apes-Panel-Discussion

Both these groups provide a forum for discussion, campaign for public awareness and help information exchange between groups, including the coordination of events. The Orangutan Foundation works with these groups to ensure our experience of working for forest protection over 24 years has the maximum effect across the globe.

Yayorin - Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Indonesian Orangutan Foundation) — is our partner organisation. Our work with Yayorin contributes on their  Education and Awareness Programme, supporting and promoting their projects. This has included helping with Kampung Konservasi, the conservation village that provides a learning centre for the local community, teaching sustainable agricultural techniques.

We also collaborate with Yaryorin on research in Belantikan (click here to learn more) — a remote forest that is home to the world's largest population of orangutans in an unprotected area. We’ve mentioned the work of the Mobile Education and Library unit previously (click here) – another project Yayorin run with our support.

The Foundation and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry work together under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This is vitally important for our ongoing work in Indonesia and all our efforts in collaboration with the Ministry, which now spans over ten years.

k Alex DSC_3834These relationships allow development and new achievements. Together, we can plan for the future and take our own roles in leading proactive work plans, safeguarding wild habitat and promoting the protection of the great apes. We thank all our friends and partners who work with us. Achievements so far have made a big difference, so these groups are have laid good foundations to continue with fantastic projects for great ape conservation. To keep up to date with our work and our friends - sign up to our Email Updates by clicking here!

Camera trapping to save species

The Orangutan Foundation are proud to be partners of a groundbreaking Camera Trapping Project with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) - allowing us to document animals that have never been seen before in the remote and highly diverse area of Belantikan Hulu. Here, Susan Cheyne, co-coordinator of the project, tells us about the initial results... Check out the stunning footage we got; sun bears here, an orangutan here and a pangolin here.

"July 2014 sees the end of 2 years of camera trapping in 6 forests across Kalimantan. 160 camera traps were set out covering at total of almost 700km2 of rainforest. The final forest to be surveyed was started in February 2014 in collaboration with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and the Orangutan Foundation UK (OFUK).

Orangutan Belantikan (5)

Clouded Leopard Cam C21 20-03-2014 0457h

The Belantikan-Arut area in Central Kalimantan, whose core area is Belantikan Hulu, is a spectacular landscape spanning 5,000km2 hectares across Central and West Kalimantan, is known to contain the largest single population of orangutans outside of protected areas.

The results of this work are very exciting. Not only were Sunda clouded leopards confirmed in this forest but also the elusive banteng. The banteng is a large and rare wild cattle species and is endemic to Borneo but is not widespread across the island.

Banteng Belantikan  (21)

Sambar deer Belantikan (26)

Of course orang-utans featured on the camera traps, adding to the recent information that the man of the forest in fact spends a lot of time on the ground. Not only were large males caught on camera but juveniles and mothers and infants travelling on the ground.

Of great interest is the number of deer and bearded pigs especially the majestic Sambar deer, largest of the 5 species on Borneo. Good eating for a clouded leopard!

Red langur Belantikan (1)

The white-fronted langur (see closely related species - the red langur - pictured above) is normally swinging up in the canopy, but like many primates, also comes to the ground. This species has a very patchy distribution across western Borneo and confirmation of the presence in Belantikan is important new information.

Sun bear Belantikan (1)

Sun bears are the smallest of all the world’s bears and have the longest tongue of any bear! Females generally have 1-2 cubs each year. We were fortunate to have surveyed during the time of year when cubs are venturing out and about with their mother and captured some wonderful photos and videos of their interactions.

Yellow-throated marten Belantikan (3)

The little yellow-throated marten is apparently widely distributed throughout Borneo but not much is known about these animals. Living alone or in pairs, they are active at both day and night. Although listed as IUCN Red List Least Concern, nothing is known about the population numbers on Borneo.

Pangolin Belantikan

Camera traps provide an amazing and unique view into the wildlife of the forests we are working to protect. Almost each photo provides new information about behaviour, distribution or activity of these animals."

Check out our recent blog for more amazing photos, or get in touch about any of our projects!

Fish lend a helpping... fin!

Fish are helping both the orangutans and Orangutan Foundations work...Only when we know what ’s there can we monitor what's happening to it. Now the focus is on the life-giving Sekonyer river in Tanjung Puting...

Gold mine run off pollution in the Sekonyer River. The health of the fish depends on the quality of the water.

Gliding through the waters of the Sekonyer River, one of the natural borders of Tanjung Puting National Park, many a traveller with the Orangutan Foundation has been entertained with stories of what lurks beneath their boat. But it’s not just the crocodiles that deserve our attention. One of the three research grants given by the Foundation and the national park in 2012 funded an investigation into the variety of fish species in the Sekonyer and one of its tributaries, the Sekonyer Kanan. Despite being part of the same river, the water conditions offer a strong contrast. The main Sekonyer suffers from pollution from an illegal gold mine in the park, visible even to the untrained eye in its far muddier, more opaque colour. From the six sampling sites, three in each section of the river, 42 species were identified, through body shape, length and height, the type and colour pattern of the scales and the shape of the fin and tailfin. Sketches were made of each fish and compared to those in guide books or previous research. Such research allows us to see the effect of water conditions on the fish – and therefore on the river ecosystem, which in turn affects the park itself.

Additionally, the education and outreach has been expanded and further contributes to capacity building via the fish ponds, built at Kampung Konservasi...
Aquaponic Demonstration Plot

These are the 'patin' fish that are very good to it.

The Foundation has always committed to ongoing community development. As part of this, Yayorin (Indonesian NGO and longer time partners of the Foundation) decided to develop an aquaponic demonstration plot on Kampung Konservasi’s conservation village. Aquaponics by definition is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics.

The making of the fish pond using sand sacks

 

Since the construction, the ponds have been improved with bamboo guttering. The ponds have a high capacity to sustain a medium sized population grew well.

the finished fish pond complete with filtration system

The main reason Yayorin did this was because there was quite a large area of peat swamp behind Kampung Konservasi - so the ponds seemed like a very good idea. Rice and vegetables wouldn't grow in that type of soil...

"As we already had two fish ponds, we thought an aquaponic demonstration plot was an ideal new development. The water that the fish live in becomes very rich in nutrients. It is then pumped from the fish pond into an organic bed, where plants growing extract the nutrients from the water. The water then drains back into the fish pond cleaned of excess nutrients and freshly oxygenated. It was a new concept of agriculture and would be something very interesting to try." Says Eddy , Yayorin staff.

the staff collecting the proportion of the population to be sold at market

This is where the filtration occurs

Children learning about the fish crop

From this, people are learning and later adopting these techniques on their own land. On average so far, 15 groups or individuals have taken the lessons learnt and put them into (continuing!) practice in their respective locations. The facilities at Yayorin now have a fantastic reputation within the local and surrounding communities. How amazing that fish , with a little hard work, can provide such a helping 'hand'.

 

What is Kampung Konservasi and why did we fund them?


Education continues to be highly important to Orangutan Foundation which is why we are exceptionally proud to be supporting an innovative project that appeals to both children and adults on the outskirts of Pangkalan Bun. Here, Yayorin (our long term Indonesian partners) have established their Conservation Village or Kampung Konservasi, a large, dynamic environmental education complex. There is a covered outdoor learning centre (made from coconut trees), alternative agricultural demonstration plots, fish ponds, a nursery, medicinal plant garden, a small children’s camping ground and composting facility.

The fantastic news is that having funded Kampung Konservasi from it's inception in 2006, through to 2012, the project is now sustainable. Funding the Foundation receives can go on to develop Yayorin's work based outside of Kampung Konservasi. This sustainability shows how much the local communities needed and now highly value Yoyorin's resources and outreach.

Yayorin run three integrated programmes based around Kampung Konservasi: Conservation Education, Alternative Agriculture and Sustainable Fish Farming. The Conservation Education Programme incorporates the library, puppet shows, theatre, field trips, school partnerships and extra curricular activities. There have been many visits from local schools where they grasp concepts such as rubbish recycling and they are encouraged to decorate the theatre with “hope leaves” with well wishes to the surrounding environment.

The Alternative Agriculture programme has introduced concepts such as basic agriculture using the demonstration plots reflecting Yayorin’s commitment to finding alternatives to current traditional farming methods which are still essentially based around slash and burn agriculture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small-scale vegetable production (their tomatoes have proved incredibly popular!) and full-scale sustainable agriculture have been developed. There is also an Aquaponic Demonstration Plot introduced following a visit to a Sumatran NGO project. Two fishponds pump nutrient-rich fish water from the fishponds into an organic plant bed where plants/vegetables extract the nutrients from the water. Then the water, cleared from excessive nutrients and freshly oxygenated, drains back into the fishpond. Some claimed fish could not be farmed in acidic peat-swamp water, however, these fish are growing fast. As Kampung Konservasi’s manager, Sally Tirtadihardja, says, “One of our biggest successes has been proving people wrong!”

Funded by various groups, Kampung Konservasi support the implementation of educational activities and facilitate the provision of learning activities and the environment and sustainable agriculture. In the period from January to May 2012, Kampung Konservasi created strategies to optimize the learning environment as an arena so that more people receive the benefits of this project. Relationships with local universities in  Pangkalan Bun, a forum and invite students from schools assisted or not to discuss and address many areas of conservation, to enable more regular classes with a fresh approach to learning methods, as a speaker at one of the agencies local government, as in activities of the cadre West Kotawaringin Environment Body and Adiwiyata School (School-based environment) held West Kotawaringin Environment Body.

We can't wait to hear what Yayorin get up to next at Kampung Konservasi !

 

Yayorin's mobile conservation bus

We recently received a comment from Dwi Triyanto asking about Yayorin's mobile bus. Eddy Santoso, from Yayorin, has sent this short update. You can find out more about Yayorin's inspiring work on their Facebook page.

'Yayorin's Mobile Bus has been busy ferrying various organisations including the Indonesian Forestry Department's fire-fighting agency (Manggala Agni), Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA Kalteng SKW II) and students from the Conservation Club of 3 high schools in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.  The groups all assisted with reforestation in Tanjung Keluang Natural Tourism Park, where hawksbill turtles and green turtles lay their eggs.

In April and May of this year the bus transported the public to plant trees as part of Earth Day and also took students from a local school to the forests of Tanjung Puting National Park. Last month, the bus transported 180 student from Pangkalan Bun to Yayorin's Sustainable Integrated Agriculture Learning Centre at the village of Sungai Sintuk for a 3 day field trip. The bus is out and about spreading Yayorin's message 'People need the forests, forests need orangutans'."

If you are interested in sponsoring Yayorin's mobile bus then please contact us for further information or visit their Facebook page.

Thank you for your continued interest and support,

Orangutan Foundation

Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

One hundred invitations were sent out for the workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The conference room was booked for a capacity of 80, we didn’t want the room to look empty in case there were a number of ‘no shows’. I watched as the room began to fill, more chairs had to be brought in, numbers were now up to 90, a good start already. There was a stir of anticipation, as everyone took their seats.

The workshop began with opening remarks by myself, the head of BKSDA (Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources) and the Bupati’s (Mayor) office. I welcomed the participants by acknowledging we were at the workshop because we recognised the issues of human – orangutan conflict which affects both orangutans and humans and hoped by the end of the day we would have addressed these problems and have workable recommendations for the future. I used the story of Aan, an orangutan who was shot and badly injured in an oil palm plantation, as the catalyst for the campaign.

The morning was taken up by presentations from: Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Organization, Forina, National Forum for Corporate Social Responsibility , representatives from Oil Palm plantations and the Ministry of Forestry (PHKA).

In the afternoon the participants broke into two working groups which presented an opportunity for different points of view to be exchanged (of which there were many) and to make recommendations. At this point I don’t believe anyone knew what would come next. As each group presented their finding it became obvious there would be some agreement here. The workshop went far beyond agreement, as the moderator called out the recommendations, there was applause after each one!

Finally it was the moment of the signing. It is one thing to verbally agree, but in Indonesia it is a different matter to put your name to something. At the start of the day no one would have expected to accomplish so much in such a short time. Pak Ade (the moderator) asked, “who will sign?”, slowly one hand was raised and then another, very quickly we realised this was going to be a landmark moment. See the signatories below.

Naturally we had high hopes for the day but this was beyond anyone’s expectations. I closed by thanking all participants (thank you to Rob Stuebing for participating) for their confidence in the Foundation, Yayorin and BKSDA to carry this process forward.

Thank you to The Rufford Foundation for their support and commitment.

Ashley Leiman, Director/Trustee Orangutan Foundation

CONCLUSION

WORKSHOP ON MITIGATION OF CONFLICT BETWEEN HUMAN AND ORANGUTAN IN AND AROUND PALM OIL PLANTATION Pangkalan Bun, June 4, 2013

1. Protect orangutans in the concession area is the company's policy which must be supported by adequate facilities including with an increase in human resources in oil palm plantation (eg the formation of the Task Force) and supported by the Government, in this case Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

2. Agreed to form Communication Forum to follow up Workshop on Human-Orangutan Conflict Mitigation in and around the oil palm plantation which was formed by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, which is facilitated by Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, which consists of plantation companies and related stakeholders;

3. Every company is expected to be able to develop a system on Wildlife Database in the oil palm plantations, which form issued by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan;

4. Minutes and Conclusions of the Workshop will be sent to each company and will be reported officially by Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan, Orangutan Foundation UK and Yayorin, the Director General of Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry, Directorate General of Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, West Kotawaringin District, and the governor of Central Kalimantan. On behalf of the workshop participants: 1. PT. Gunung Sejahtera Ibu Pertiwi 2. PT. Bumitama Gunajaya Agro 3. PT. Citra Borneo Indah 4. PT. Mustika Sembuluh, Wilmar Plantation 5. PT. Sampoerna Agro 6. PT. SMART Tbk 7. PT. Globalindo Alam Perkasa 8. PT. Indotruba Tengah, Minamas Plantation 9. PT. Union Sampoerna Triputra Persada 10. PT. Surya Sawit Sejati 11. Direktorat Konservasi Keanekaragaman Hayati, Ditjen PHKA, Kementerian Kehutanan 12. Komisi Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia, Ditjen Perkebunan, Kementerian Pertanian 13. Forum Nasional CSR Kesejahteraan Sosial 14. Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Kalimantan Tengah 15. Balai Taman Nasional Tanjung Puting 16. Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Daerah Kotawaringin Barat 17. Forum Orangutan Indonesia (FORINA) 18. WWF Indonesia 19. ZSL 20. BOSF 21. Orangutan Foundation International 22. Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia 23. Orangutan Foundation UK

Belantikan’s big ape count

Determining wild population sizes of orangutans and gibbons, both highly arboreal (tree-dwelling) apes species, is a conservation challenge. But, over the years, scientist have come up with methods that enable accurate estimates. For example, with orangutan their nests are counted and with gibbons, it is their songs that are recorded and used.

We are trying to find out more about the wild ape populations of the Belantikan Hulu region which is part of the greater Belantikan Arut – a spectacular landscape spanning 500,000 hectares across Central and West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). The Belantikan Conservation Programme (BCP) is a joint initiative of Yayorin (an Indonesian NGO) and ourselves.

The Belanitkan Hulu comprises primary and secondary lowland forests, including both recently logged forests and post-logging forests that have since recovered (over the last 35-40 years). The area has ravines, rivers, cliffs and logging roads – all synonymous with Borneo.

There is a large wild orangutan population, which was first surveyed in 2003, and a gibbon population, whose size is unknown. In 2012, The Rufford Foundation awarded funding to the BCP to build a small research station and to commence surveys of the ape species. The research station is now in use by BCP’s field researchers and by a team of biologists from the National University of Jakarta.

Our initial surveys indicate there has been a continuing decrease in the orangutan population over the years. This population was estimated to be the largest population of orangutans existing in the wild outside of the protected area system. In fact, more than 70% of the total Bornean orangutan population in the wild is found outside of designated conservation areas. Hence, it is important to determine the size and distribution of the Belantikan population accurately, and to be able to monitor the current apparent population decline, so that appropriate conservation actions can be taken.

The gibbon survey estimated a density of just over 3 groups per km2, which is considered high. The BCP will conduct further research to determine how orangutans adapt to living in logging forests and to the varying degrees of disturbance. Further studies on gibbons will also survey the wider area and the estimated territory and cruising areas, study group composition as well as changes in habitat conditions between seasons.

We hope to provide you with new and exciting findings from Belantikan as we start to find out more about its forests and what lives within.

We are extremely grateful to The Rufford Foundation and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Great Ape Conservation Fund for supporting this research project, and to the Arcus Foundation for supporting the on-going conservation project.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin (Belantikan Conservation Programme)

 

Environmental Education in Indonesia

Over the past year, the education team has been extremely busy. It ran education and conservation programmes for 34 schools, 12 villages, 7 government agencies, and one oil palm company. The activities, which are part of our EC-funded programme,  highlight the need to conserve the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve for all stakeholders, including the younger generation.

 

School visits around the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve
School visits around the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

© Orangutan Foundation 

Each school visit was evaluated with a quiz for the students to gauge how much information was absorbed. With this knowledge, the aim for 2010 is to concentrate on selected schools to give more thorough attention and time for each conservation education programme. One component was about learning how to separate waste for composting (bins were given to selected schools).

 One school (SMK N 1 Sukamara) was selected as a model to test out a new subject called ‘Ecological farming’ that puts emphasis on sustainable farming, using organic methods. Our community officer, Pak Roji, taught this subject for several months in this school upon approval from the local education district.

 education -testing

Encouraging student participation in environmental education © Orangutan Foundation. 

Soon there will be a meeting with the teachers to obtain their feedback, and to evaluate the effectiveness of this newly introduced subject. The new syllabus will be planned together with the teachers according to their needs.

Thank you to our regular donors, Matthew K, Tal B and Brigitta S - your continued support is more vital than ever. As our field costs (e.g. for running guard posts & patrols, orangutan monitoring and rescues, support for sustainable livelihoods and educational activities etc...)  increase we must maintain our commitment to these important programmes.

If you haven't already done so please consider making a donation to the Orangutan Foundation. 

With many thanks,

Cathy (Orangutan Foundation)

Orangutan Awareness in Borneo - ‘planting trees for the future’

Togu Simorangkir, director of Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia), our local partners, sent through some photo’s of their Orangutan Awareness Week activities.  Yayorin's theme for Orangutan Awareness Week 2009 is ‘Planting trees for the future’. They are targeting villages surrounding areas of orangutan habitat.

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia -school campaign

School Presentation - photo © Yayorin

Their school campaign involves presentations, mobile library, film show, quiz and games.

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - school campaign

 Quiz and games - photo © Yayorin

Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - Mobile library

Mobile library - photo © Yayorin

At the community level they have organised an exhibition, puppet show and film show. 

 Yayasan Oangutan Indonesia - Village campaign

Film show - photo © Yayorin

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - Puppet show

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - puppet show

Puppet show - photo © Yayorin

On Sunday 15 November, Yayorin we will be planting trees in Tanjung Putri village and in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer zone. In total about 1500 trees will be planted by students and communities. 

 Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia - tree seedlings

Seedlings to be planted - photo © Yayorin

Yayorin will also be promoting “cheap in your own land” - a campaign to change the slash and burn agriculture method to sustainable permanent agriculture. 

 Yayorin OAW 2009 badge

Yayorin's Orangutan Awareness Week 2009 badge 'planting trees for the future', which they produce and give away for free.

We'll post about what we've been up to in the UK tomorrow, Orange for Orangutan Day - go on, go orange and support our work, it's not too late!

Thanks,

Cathy

Orangutan Foundation - UK office

Promoting Forests at Sukamara Fair, Indonesian Borneo

From the 17th to 24th October 2009, our EC-Lamandau Programme, together with the Environment Office of Sukamara (town on the Western side of Lamandau reserve), has been participating in the Sukamara Fair 2009. Our EC-Lamandau exhibition booth really stood out. It was a cheerful display with a drawing and coloring competition for children from the ages of 5 to 11 years old. 

 Children at Sukamara Fair

Children joining in at the EC-Lamandau stand at the Sukamara Fair

We had an enthusiastic response when the orangutan and deer mascots suddenly arrived. Both mascots told stories about their life in the forest and a lively conversation arose between the mascots and the visitors, including kids! At least 600 stickers and 200 Sumpitan bulletins (local magazine published by Yayorin) were distributed to exhibition visitors and for three evenings, films on conservation education were screened.

The progamme, also called the Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP) is funded by the European Commission to maintain functioning tropical forest ecosystems in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, which support sustainable rural development. The Partnership comprises the Conservation of Nature Resources Agency of Central Borneo (BKSDA), Yayorin and the Orangutan Foundation. 

  Hope Leaves  - Sukamara Fair 

 Leaves of Hope writen by exhibition visitors

The Head of Sukamara Regency, Ahmad Dirman listened to a brief explanation about our forest protection and community outreach work that has been implemented by Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin. He also wrote on a ‘leaf of hope’ which was hung on a branch in the exhibition.

Sukamara fair

 Ahmad Dirman encouraged the people of Sukamara to support any institutions that work on forest and environment conservation. He proudly accepted a framed orangutan photo (by Brian Matthews who was awarded highly commended in BBC wildlife photographer of the year 2009) brought from London by Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation Director. 

Thank you for your interest,

Astri - Liaison Officer

Orangutan Foundation Volunteer Programme

You're probably aware that the Orangutan Foundation runs a Volunteer Programme (see Categories for past posts)  This year's programme has been different in that we are working closely with our partners Yayorin on a water purification project in the Belantikan Arut region of Central Kalimantan. Belantikan is home to the largest remaning population of orangutans in an unprotected area and is a biodiversity hotspot. 

Our strategy involves community empowerment, education and agricultural management to help villagers protect their forests. This year’s Volunteer Programme fits in by working with the local communities and further improving our relationship with them, whilst gaining their respect and providing villagers with a cleaner, safer water-source.  Each team will work in a different village. At each village, a natural spring has been identified as an alternative source to the river which is currently used for transport, bathing, washing and as a toilet. The teams build a dam to harness the spring water and then a pipe system takes it down to the village.

Volunteers return to camp after a hard days work

Climbing back up to the jetty after a hard days work 

Team 1 ended on 13th June and the village of Nanga Matu (home to Yayorin’s basecamp) now has taps providing clean water from a natural hillside spring on the other side of the river. The construction was no mean feat and massive thanks go to the hardworking volunteers and Volunteer Co-ordinators who made the project succeed.   Team 2 is already well into their work in the village of Bintang Mengalih and I was there to see the project commence. The team are living in a small community house where personal space is non- existent, and the movements and activities of us visitors is of most interest to the locals.

Volunteers are treated to a traditional party at one of the villages 

Volunteers are treated to a traditional party by a local village 

Whilst there, I encountered leeches, a scorpion, poisonous millipedes and lots of peat. Bathing is in a nearby river and we dug a long-drop toilet behind the accommodation. Before work began we had to go the village hall and formally meet the village head and some local villagers.

Village children keen to “hang out” with volunteers 

Local children were keen to "hang out" with the volunteers. 

The village were so appreciative of our work that they provided us with four local people to help on the project. They really were very excited and grateful about the work of Orangutan Foundation.  By 8th August Bintang Mengalih will have clean water to drink at the turn of a tap!!

Thanks, 

Elly (UK Volunteer Co-ordinator)

Our Earth Day Celebrations.

On the 22nd April Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin celebrated Earth Day with students from various schools at Sukamara, which lies close to the western part of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Earth Day

Together with the Yayorin Education Team, the school children took part in a full-day of activities, starting with ‘socialization’ or getting to know each other through a series of games, stickers and magazine were distributed. As well, it wouldn’t be Earth Day without any seedlings being planted! Together, the students planted 60 seeds from four indigenous plants at the Danau Burung Post.

Earth Day

The day ended with a film screening open to all, regardless of age, of various environment-related films, including a popular local film called “Laskar Pelangi” or Rainbow Warriors.

Environment related film screenings

Environmental film screenings

Thanks,

June

“If you had to know about me” by June Rubis (Orangutan Foundation’s Programme Manager)

The blog powers-to-be, who with an iron fist, gently encourages me to update on a regular basis, has informed me that a blog post featuring myself would be ‘interesting’. Alas, dear readers, because our vet has been busy in the field, and has not written new blog posts for a few weeks (which reminds me, I need to show him my own iron fist), and Stephen has left, leaving a vacuum of wrestling with crocodiles and dancing with orangutans blog posts, you now have to learn more about me. Born and raised in Malaysian Borneo, I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged a love of reading. We had subscriptions to the National Geographic, Asiaweek, etc, all of which opened my mind to various global points-of-views. This was vital after all, I was living in a very government-controlled media, and the internet was still birthing. In the early 90’s, western environmentalists descended upon Sarawak to protest against logging. They chained themselves to tractors, they waved banners, and told us to save our rainforests. The local media mocked them, and made comments about their ‘obese size’. I, in return, was fascinated by the non-rebuttal the local media had, against these westerner’s claims.

I knew early on in my teens, that I wanted a career in conservation. If you would ask me what my defining moment was, I would say that it would be the early 90’s furore of early environmentalism, of the world’s spotlight onto Sarawak and its logging practices, and treatment of indigenous peoples, particularly the Penans.

After my BSc. studies (in Biological Sciences) from Simon Fraser University, I was fortunate to be selected for a summer internship at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. I missed my graduation for this opportunity and have no regrets! However, I knew then that I wanted to return home and work in conservation, particularly orangutan conservation.

When I returned to Sarawak, I started working for Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia, as a field assistant, and working my way up to full-time researcher. I worked for WCS for over seven years, of which most of those years was spent surveying wild orangutans in Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary. Orangutan Foundation UK by the way, was responsible in giving my first grant to survey wild orangutans! I am grateful in coming full circle with this organization.

I was also very interested in the human face of conservation, other than wildlife research, so spent those same years, volunteering for a local nature society. Over time however, I became more sympathetic of the indigenous peoples struggles to save their lands from encroachment, and often being displayed as the bad guy by both sides! It was also personal because my peoples are the Krokong Bidayuh, which is a very small minority of Sarawak’s ethnic groups. My family’s continuing work to help preserve our culture through documentation, inspired me to seek other conservation opportunities, where there is a sincere collaboration with the local peoples.

I’ve always kept an eye on the Orangutan Foundation (OF), and its growth over the years. One thing that intrigued me was its close partnership with a strong local community organization, Yayorin. I value that OF recognizes its strengths, but also acknowledges that it can’t do all well hence entrusting the community work to a strong, committed organization. Believe me, Yayorin is a wholly equal partner to the work that we do, and I am fascinated that despite the seemingly clashing differences (i.e. conservation and locals people's needs), OF and Yayorin are able to work as one, for similar goals. This was the opportunity I was searching for after I left WCS Malaysia (a wonderful and strong research organization by the way), and am thusly very grateful.

These last couple of months with OF have been very fulfilling and educational, and although I haven’t had the chance to jump in crocodile-infested rivers (although according to my culture, the crocodile is one of our ancestors so technically, I ought to be ok) or have other exciting field stories (current work demands my time at the OF office, and government offices), I promise perhaps one day, I'll tell you about the time I was chased by a sunbear and came face-to-face with a 3 metre albino python. Or the time where I was less than a metre away on being grabbed by a wild male adult orangutan in the wilds of Lanjak-Entimau, Sarawak. The time I almost danced with an orangutan.

Saving orangutans in Indonesia

Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin recently hosted Jason Houston and William deBuys, photographer and writer for the conservation organisation RARE and below is a blog about their visit to Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Kampung Konservasi and the surrounding village communities. http://www.rareconservation.org/blog/

Kampung Konservasi (March/April) - A new mobile library!

On Tuesday, 24 March 2009, Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia) received a wonderful donation of MOBIL BACA (mobile library) from PT Hino Motor Sales Indonesia (Hino) to support its education efforts, in areas close to orangutan habitat, in Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo. Bus - mobile educational unit and library

Mobil Baca - Kampung Konservasi's new bus.

Hino has already donated similar buses to other NGOs in Indonesia, and this year Yayorin was chosen as one of the recipients. The bus was specifically made to suit Yayorin’s need, and is equipped with seats in front and book shelves at the back.

The hand-over ceremony took place in Sampit, a bigger city, which is a four hour drive from Pangkalan Bun. Mrs. Aulia Reksoatmodjo, a board member of Yayorin and Togu Simorangkir, Yayorin Director attended the ceremony. Hino presented Yayorin with a symbolic key, while Yayorin showed its appreciation by giving Hino a carved orangutan wood statue.

Key Presentation

Presentation of the symbolic key to Yayorin.

Presentation parade

Presentation parade

The bus will hopefully start operating this month. We are looking forward to getting out on the road and distributing our conservation education message and materials to the local population.

Kampung Konservasi bus with Togu and Mrs. Aulia Reksoatmodjo

Mrs. Aulia Reksoatmodjo (on far left), a board member of Yayorin and Togu Simorangkir (far right), Yayorin Director.

Thank you,

Sally -Yayorin

Kampung Konservasi February Blog - Garbage!

The smoke from garbage burning started to hurt our eyes...million of flies swarmed around us...and the unmistakable aroma of garbage welcomed us as we drove into this local waste collecting location. A trash-picker moved quickly passed us toward the incoming yellow garbage truck; he wanted to be the first to find anything inside that he could sell. Garbage

Burning garbage at Pasir Panjang waste collection centre.

Student participating in Yayorin's environmental extracurricular activity seemed a little bit bewildered this afternoon. The main subject of today’s discussion was garbage – its role on the environment, its problems and management. It was obvious that they had never seen as much garbage in their lives and probably felt quite overwhelmed by it.

Most of the students did not even know that such place exists in their city. Many could not even say where the garbage they produced at home or at school went to. In the beginning, they were not happy being ”dragged” into this disgusting place and could not stand the smell. With the passing of time, though, they started to understand why we brought them there and involved entusiastically in the learning process.

Garbage

In this meeting we asked them to identify the types of garbage they could find in an area of 1m x 1m. They then had to identify which ones were organic and which were inorganic. They were also asked to pay attention to how the garbage was collected, transported and managed.

Garbage

The Pasir Panjang Waste Collecting Location is the largest in this city and its surrounding areas. This is where all of the waste of the city finally goes to. Unfortunately, like most garbage collecting locations in Indonesia, the concept of garbage management is through burning. What was ironic was the big sign we saw there that clearly said "Do Not Burn the Garbage"!

The students had a tour around the Location. They found an abandoned composting house, filtering pond and a monitoring well. The well was located about 50 meters from the collection area, and the water inside was quite clean. It was supposed to mean that the soil water was in good condition.

Garbage

The students took home with them a valuable learning experience. We hope that now they realise where their garbage goes, and how the waste can put a really heavy burden on the environment. Next time they want to throw their garbage on the street or anywhere else inappropriate, we wish they will stop and remember their unique experience at the ”garbage place”.

Thanks,

Riyandoko and Sally (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesian www.yayorin.org)

Volunteering in Belantikan - A Dayak Perspective

During our time in Belantikan we were also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have some long conversations with some of the older villagers about their way of life. We visited the ladang of Pak Taryom outside the village of Nanga Matu, to see the new crops he is cultivating with Yayorin’s help and find out how their new methods are bringing benefits to the area. Pak Taryom

Pak Taryom in his ladang near Nanga Matu, cultivation here has been much changed with Yayorin's help

Pak Taryom also explained to us about the traditions and ceremonies of the Dayak people. His brother, Pak Maju, is the last man of Nanga Matu refusing to convert to one of the five state approved faiths of Indonesia and still clinging to Kaharingan – the traditional Dayak religion. He is also the father of Yayorin’s cook Ani, the youngest of his seven daughters.

Pak Maju lives outside Nanga Matu and, on our last day in Belantikan, we went to visit him at his ladang tucked away inside the forest. He’s 58 years old and still working in the fields. We found him sat under a tarpaulin sheet in the centre of his ladang, a thin line of smoke twisting to the sky from the fire he was sitting by chewing tobacco rolled in leaves, a rifle and a long knife by his side. I got a little perturbed at one stage during our conversation when he turned to me and mimed pulling off my head and drew his knife. Although it turned out, via translation, that he was just explaining that when a Dayak is angry they can pull off an enemy’s head with their bare hands without recourse to a blade.

Pak Maju

Pak Maju - Nanga Matu's last adherent of the Kaharingan religion in his ladang

Pak Maju also told us how the villagers of Nanga Matu and Bintang Mengalih still come to see him and ask him to summon the spirits to grant their wishes. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that he could accept the end of the Kaharingan culture, religion being in his mind a matter of personal choice. He could not, however, accept the destruction of the forest. When we asked him what he thought of it he told us that the balance of life has been upset and ‘when the trees and the hills are all gone [to logging and mining] the people will all die.’. The world around Pak Maju is changing so fast that his fears for the forest, and everything that lives within it, could be realised within his lifetime.

We left Belantikan full of great memories. The work of the Orangutan Foundation, Yayorin and the local communities to protect this area for the benefit of people, orangutans and the forest continues.

Thank you,

David

Volunteering in Belantikan - Working with the forest

The Dayak people of Belantikan have lived with the forest as subsistence farmers for centuries and still it thrives. They carve out their small field (ladang) in the forest for cultivation and occasionally venture into the interior to hunt and gather other food to supplement their diet. However, some of their other practices for example, traditional slash and burn agriculture, unnecessarily destroy patches of forest annually. As the amount of available primary forest shrinks year on year due to the incursions of logging, palm oil and mining, it’s more and more important to ensure that the agricultural methods of the people living in the forest are as sustainable as possible. Therefore, Yayorin is working to introduce new practices for the benefit of the forest and the people, showing the villagers how they can continue to use the same field year on year. Introducing the cultivation of rubber, which takes five years to mature, means that the villagers cannot simply burn the field after they have harvested their vegetables, and this benefits the forest. The production of rubber is also beneficial to the people as it provides them with a long-term continuous income source. The vast majority of farmers across the three villages have already started to cultivate rubber, significantly reducing the use of slash and burn.

Rubber Training (Photo: Yayorin)

Rubber Training - Photo: Yayorin ("We do not have full-scale rubber cultivation. What we do is agroforestry with rubber as main plants. In the agroforestry system, we mix different plants in one area like vegetables, fruit trees, gaharu and rubber. This way, the community can enjoy the short and long harvest" - Togu Simorangkir, Chairman of Yayorin).

Yayorin’s community development and empowerment work is also helping the villagers to recognise that the long-term value of the forest is more precious than the short-term rewards that could be gained by surrendering their traditional land to those who would destroy it in the interests of quick profit. The benefit of this strand of Yayorin’s work was shown in June 2006, when the villagers of Kahingai chose to reject an astounding offer of 30 million rupiah per family to sell their land to a palm oil company.

Volunteering In Belantikan - An Absolute Pleasure To Teach

As part of Yayorin’s programme of conservation and community empowerment they are also prioritizing improving education generally for the villagers. It’s this aspect of the programme, and the communities’ request for English language teaching, that led us to go to Belantikan to work in the village schools. Living in Belantikan for one month was an absolute privilege and teaching the children an absolute pleasure. They were a joy to work with, keen and enthusiastic, and seeing them go in one month from speaking no English to confidently expressing themselves in their new language showed the enormous potential they have. Teaching in Belantikan

Class 3 and 4 in Bintang Mengalih after English class.

It was also funny to hear how the children of these remote villages picked up touches of our distinctive Liverpool accent in their spoken English, which might sound a bit odd to any future English visitors who stop to chat to them. The children also seemed to really enjoy the lessons, although some of their teachers looked a bit bemused watching their students dancing around outside class singing “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” or the “happy days theme tune”.

When we were leaving Kahingai after our last lesson there some of the children followed us down to where our boat was waiting on the river. We asked them if they’d rather leave the village behind and go to live in England and they said no. I think their quality of life here, living in this beautiful forest is better, I hope it remains that way.