The Cost of Being Cute

SLOW LORISES SUFFER BOOMING ILLEGAL PET TRADE - Spring 2015 e Release Slow loris in Camp JL 11 June 2014DSC_3489

Much like the orangutan, the slow loris, also native to South East Asia, enjoys a moist peat swamp forest habitat. It is nocturnal and perfectly adapted to life in the trees. Despite the increased loss of critical forest, this is not the greatest threat that slow loris populations face. As well as being used in traditional medicine, slow lorises are being taken from the wild in their thousands every year to be sold as pets.

All five loris species are now recognised as either vulnerable or endangered and are listed as species threatened with extinction on Appendix 1 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Though the trade of slow lorises has been banned both in South East Asia and internationally, the trade system is increasingly active, widespread and being carried out fairly openly, indicating a lack of effective law enforcement. For example, in Japan, slow lorises are advertised publicly for sale, with individual animals fetching between £1000 and £3000.

A recent spate of YouTube videos, presenting slow lorises as cute, cuddly pets, is partly to blame for the demand. There is no denying that the loris’s large bulging eyes, soft furry coat and tiny button nose are pleasing to the eye. But the millions of viewers on YouTube are oblivious to the trauma and suffering of lorises involved in the illegal pet trade.

slow lorises cage

Forced to live diurnally, in wire cages that rip at their hands and feet, it comes as little surprise that a large proportion of captured lorises don’t make it to market. Furthermore, according to Anna Nekaris, a loris specialist based at Oxford Brookes University, lorises’ teeth are extracted so that vendors can claim they are infants – the preferred pets.

Interestingly, the slow loris is the only primate in the world that is poisonous, producing a toxin that can be fatal to humans by combining saliva from the mouth with oil from a gland on the upper arm. This defence mechanism is transmitted through a bite, further encouraging the cruel methods by which a loris’s teeth are removed in order to make them desirable pets.

When loris infants are captured and separated from their parents, they are unable to clean themselves – their fur is constantly covered in urine, faeces and oily skin secretions – and between 30 per cent and 90 per cent die in transit.

Towards the end of last year, the Foundation was able to release a single slow loris into a protected forest. It is hoped that new loris populations will eventually be able to grow safely within these protected boundaries.


Why 'Rainforest: Live'?

By Rowan Sharp What’s so special about rainforests? How do they distinguish from other forest types? Why should you care about protecting them?

Rainforests, found in regions close to the equator where temperatures are highest, are thought to contain as much as 75% of the world’s biodiversity!  Countless invaluable species, medicines, food sources, energy resources and much more are found within these dense wet forests, and yet very few of us get the opportunity to see them for ourselves.

I have been fortunate enough to spend time in both the Amazonian rainforest and the wet Indonesian rainforests of Borneo, and doing so has been completely life-changing. Growing up immersed in books and films about primates, I spent my childhood dreaming of life in the rainforest, and I have never been disappointed.

Dense Jungle StephenB photos 09-04

Nothing compares to the feeling of riding in a klotok (a wooden long-boat), coasting the surface of the sheen black rainforest rivers, breaking your way through dense mangroves and buttress roots. Looking up, tall and vibrantly green trees shade you from the sun - the light of which merely sparkles through the leaves, leaving you to feel enclosed within or engulfed by the forest. I spend most of this time watching the ripples in the water, eagerly mistaking small logs for crocodiles. The oil-coloured surface of the water tells no secrets of the mysteries lurking beneath, and you can’t help but feel that we’re only learning half of the story travelling above ground.

On land there are no clear paths; instead the ground is ridden with thick roots forcing you to clamber around and hold on to hanging branches for support (only after quickly confirming that they are indeed branches), which reminds you how very far you are from human civilisation. This distance (both psychological and literal) from my metropolitan lifestyle is perhaps why it’s so easy for me to find comfort in the rainforest. That’s not to say the rainforest is a source of peace and quiet – far from it. Nowhere are the cicadas louder nor the birds more active; every break of a twig hints to some life beyond your line of vision. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of orange in the tree-tops, and argue with your companions over whether it was an orangutan or a maroon langur monkey (or, more often than not, some cruel trickery of the light).

Dr Mark Fellowes

Rainforests are often referred to as the ‘lungs of the planet’ (with their trees producing a large percentage of the world’s oxygen), and I must say…you can feel it. The constant moisture in the air just adds to this undeniable feeling that life is all around you; this is an environment where nature flourishes – where any measure of life can grow and evolve freely.

Of course not all rainforest life is a joy to encounter. As someone whom mosquitos seem to have a certain proclivity for, I can’t pretend the experience is purely luxurious. You’ll sweat off your repellent within minutes and your clothes will never feel properly clean again. However this does nothing to deter me from returning to the rainforest - particularly at a time when the world is undergoing a mass extinction event, with human activities largely to blame.

It’s now more important than ever that people take an active interest in rainforests all over the world and fight for change in the current rate of habitat destruction. That is why I myself and the Orangutan Foundation take part in events like Rainforest: Live, joining wildlife conservation organisations across the world to raise awareness and encourage action in the general public to protect these fragile rainforest ecosystems.

 Join us on social media and be a part of Rainforest: Live.


Follow the hashtag #rainforestlive all day TOMORROW (June 3rd) to see what we’re all posting LIVE from the rainforests all over the globe!

You can catch the Foundation’s live updates directly by following us on Twitter (@OrangutanFndn/https://twitter.com/OrangutanFndn) or keeping an eye on Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/orangutanfndn/).

Baby Boom!

Amoy-and-Alexi for baby story



Time for some most exciting news! In the past six months six babies have been born to reintroduced orangutans. One of them is Amoy, released ten years ago in Lamadau River Wildlife Reserve.





She appeared in June at Camp Gemini with her two-week-old infant, named Alexi by field staff.


Badut, another ex-captive, was seen on 24 August carrying an infant, recently named BB, and was followed by staff to make sure all was well. Then at Camp Buluh, a wild female orangutan was also seen carrying a baby. She didn’t like being close to humans and so was only followed for two days. We hope for long and healthy lives for these babies.

Those born to the ex-captives are a sign that released orangutans are able not only to survive in the wild but to able to reproduce. Most of their long childhood is spent without playmates of the same age. An infant clambers around on mother for the first few years, and she might play a little, but apart from an occasional encounter with another mother, for example at a heavily laden fruit tree, young orangutans simply don’t have the opportunity to play with friends of the same age.

Please find out more about the Foundation here!

More trees for another orangutan in Borneo...

On the 1st of November a member of a local village reported to BKSDA that there was orangutan in the land behind his house. This is a quite a residential location with not many trees within a small degraded swamp area, so BKSDA and the Foundation staff where a little surprised to hear about this lost individual! The team traveled there immediately but still arrived late in the evening and in the dark. According to the owner of the house, that is the only time he’s ever seen an orangutan nearby – it is certain that this individual traveled there because of the amount of encroachment and decreasing suitable areas of good forest habitat.

On arrival the team conducted a site analysis – getting to know the area and the terrain before trying to get to the orangutan. As it was dark and rather swampy, the team had to return early the next morning whilst the orangutan was just waking up, so they could locate the individual – orangutans tend to move more in the middle and at the end of the day so that is always a good plan! So at 4am the team were back with a torch and made note of some routes through the trees so that they can get to – and if needed chase – the orangutan safely. At 5.30 the orangutan was found just waking up, so the team started to encourage the orangutan toward a more isolated section of trees to ensure the individual wouldn't be able to get away or cause the rescue to be any longer than needed. By 8.15 in the morning, the team had got the orangutan into a suitable tree and when at a suitable height in the tree, were able to dart the orangutan.

After a quick vet check at a base camp, noting the orangutan was a male around 10 years old, the individual was released into a proper forest home. From only a few tall trees to a whole forest of them – that’s got to result in one happy orangutan.

Awards galore…

As we continue to successfully release orangutans in Borneo, Foundation staff and trustee also had some great news this week. Wawan and Ian Redmond both received prizes this week.

Wawan is one of the Foundation’s excellent team members in Borneo. Not only is he our financial officer, our skilled vet but also a very accomplished photographer.This week, we heard the fantastic news that he had been shortlisted with just eleven other entries in the Society of Biology annual photo competition. Based in London, the learned society had to pick just these twelve photos from almost 600 entries, all entered within the theme of ‘Feeding Life’.

wawan competition

His entry was entitled ‘Fight for live circle’ for which he received a special mention! Ashley Leiman was able to attend the Award Ceremony in October and acknowledge Wawan’s special mention. The photo and shortlisted entries will now be displayed at the Royal Institution during Biology Week and at the Society of Biology’s Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons, as well as being printed in the Society of Biology’s 2014 calendar, which you will be able to view on their website soon. You can see the overall winners and read more on their website here.


Secondly, our friend and Foundation Trustee Mr Ian Redmond OBE won one of IFAW’s annual Animal Action Awards. The ceremony, presented by naturalist and broadcaster Bill Oddie, was hosted at the House of Lords by Baroness Gale. Working for over 30 years as a tropical field biologist and conservationist, with gorillas, elephants and apes, his efforts are well known. This week, these efforts were further acknowledged by receiving this ‘prestigious awards for their outstanding work from the International Fund for Animal Welfare’. Ashley Leiman attended the presentation with him… “The presentation went well and the award is very well deserved.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 09.51.11

It’s always exciting when friends of the Foundation are recognised with awards. We hope all the friends of the Foundation will be recognised for their support of orangutans and their habitat in some small way. We can’t wait to congratulate the winners of our photography competition, running from the 11th up to and including the 17th of November – Orangutan Awareness Week! The 13th is Orange for Orangutans day, so take as many orange, awesome photos as you can and get them in to us via info@orangutan.org.uk – the winner will be announced before the end of November, to be acclaimed orangutan-photo royalty.



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

First images of newborn orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

Dr Wawan, our vet, has taken some fantastic photos of two female orangutans with their newborn babies, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, an orangutan release site, in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

Dr Wawan writes "Female orangutan Amoy was moved from the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility, run by Orangutan Foundation International, to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve ten years ago, in July 2003.  Her infant was sleeping on her neck when we visited Camp Gemini Release Site at the beginning of June. Field staff told us its just two weeks old and is female (is called Alex just in case!). The baby could barely lift its head it was so young. Orangutan Foundation field staff keep an individual book for every orangutan in Lamandau so we could find easily its history, when the first time they were released  and any offspring etc.
Bornean orangutan, Amoy, with her new infant, named Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female Bornean orangutan, Amoy, with her newborn infant Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Amoy, with newborn Alex. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

The other orangutan is Luxi, she was hanging on to a tree and looking for food with her infant, Luna, attached on her waist. It’s maybe 3 or 4 weeks old, older that Amoy’s baby. Luxi was moved from OCCQ facility to the wildlife reserve in April 2005 and she was also released at Camp Gemini.

Sadly, last year, her first baby disappeared and nobody knew where or why. Now she looks healthy with an new infant and we all hope this baby will survive. We must keep monitoring her, making sure she get the best feeding in order to produce good nutrition for the baby.

On that day we were all fascinated and excited to witness that two orangutans have babies. It is a real evidence that prove it is possible to have a better life by living in the wild."

Female Bornean orangutan, Luxi, with baby. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Luxi and her infant. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Female orangutan, Luxi, and her infant. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos Dr Wawan!

Please help us to keep these orangutans and their habitat safe. You can support our work by making a donation here or simply text APES05 £X to 70070 (where X is the amount you would like to donate, e.g. text APES05 £20 to 70070 to donate £20).

Thank you for your support,

Orangutan Foundation

New cages for rescued orangutans

When orangutans are rescued from oil palm plantations or farmer's land the Indonesian Government's wildlife department, the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA), take the individual apes to their headquarters, where they are officially recorded and their health assessed.  The orangutans and other wildlife species are temporarily held at BKSDA while the authorities decide what should happen to the individual animals. For example, are they able to be released back to wild and, if so, is there a suitable release site? The facilities at the BSKDA office in Pangkalan Bun, the area where we work, are basic and the current holding cages inadequate.

The Orangutan Foundation is assisting BKSDA to build new holding cages for the orangutans, which will help to alleviate suffering and stress.

Here is a recent photo of Aan (the blind orangutan who was rescued from the oil palm plantation) in her cage - she is very active and openly displays her dislike of humans approaching her enclosure.

We are very aware that building new enclosures and holding cages, whilst helping alleviate suffering and improving welfare, isn't solving the problem of orangutans ending up in oil palm plantations.  Yesterday and today the Orangutan Foundation hosted a workshop Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, specifcally focusing on oil palm plantations.  We will bring you an update on how the workshop went this week.

Thank you for your continuing supporting which enables us to work for a future for orangutans, forests and people.

Orangutan Foundation - www.orangutan.org.uk




Video: stitching head wound of rescued orangutan

Below is the video clip of our vet, Dr Wawan, stitching Melan's head wound for the second time.  It is quite gory so not for the faint-hearted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9hvrHDGcQs

This week Dr Wawan sent an update on Melan saying that her wound still looks wide, but there is tissue growth which is starting to cover the bone. Iodine, rivanol (antiseptic) and antibiotic powder will be applied until it is fully recovered. He is hopeful that it will heal.

Thank you for your support.

Orangutan Foundation

Injured orangutan rescued from oil palm plantation

Here is an update from our vet, Dr Wawan, on a young orangutan rescued in April.  Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation's director, returned from a visit to Indonesia last week. Ashley managed to get some video footage, of the orangutan having her head stitched, during her visit to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). We will share this with you shortly but for now, over to Wawan, who has written this post. 'Melan, she is an orangutan that caught by villagers in an oil palm plantation area in Natai Raya village, close to the town of Pangkalan bun, Kalimantan Tengah Province. BKSDA (Conservation and Natural Resources Authority) rescued her from the village in with the Orangutan Foundation's help.

Unfortunately she have a big wound in her head, like she has been sliced by knife or any other sharp object. We could see her skull because the wound is wide open, very pity little Orangutan. She is maybe 3 years old female orangutan.

I decide to clean and stitch the wound. I give her anaesthetic and I try to clean the wound with an Iodine solution and make it clearer from her hairs. After 30 minutes she woke up very suddenly. She is put in her cage at BKSDA office. I see the stitching is good enough and I give suggestion to keep watching on her whether she will scratch and or pull the stitches.


For a moment she is looks good by not scratch it hard, maybe just a gently touching, and some time she use leaves to cover her head to avoid flies come over. I think it is good and hope she will get well by a week.

Then 8 days after the stitching I saw unexpected thing!

The wound become wide open again and wider than before I think. She is in the cage with another Orangutan, I see they were happy keep playing and playing. I suspect because of their playing intensity, they shouldn’t put in the cage together. BKSDA decide to move Melan to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Camp JL. The following day I re-stitched her wound once she was at Camp JL.

I gave her another anaesthetic but his time is was harder as the skin was stronger now and its very hard to pull. But I have one good assistant to help and he keep pulling the skin while I was stitching. That second stitching took 30 minute but looks better and also I give such strong glue with the stitching to make the skin stay together.

Get well soon Melan...We will keep you updated with her progress,

Wawan (Bambang Setyawan)

Orangutan Foundation Vet

Please consider making a donation and support our essential work. Thank you.

Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction - BBC2 9pm 27 March 2013

Please see our press release below about our Trustee's new film, Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction, showing tonight on BBC2 at 9pm.


Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction

BBC2 9pm Wednesday 27 March 2013

Terry Pratchett hears the orangutans’ long call

Sir Terry Pratchett, fantasy author and Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, returns to the forests of Borneo to see what hope there is for the endangered orangutan whilst facing his own personal challenges.

Sir Terry Pratchett encountered wild orangutans for the first time in 1994 whilst filming Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest.  One ape, Kusasi, who was the dominant male “king of the jungle” at the time, left a lasting impression that would, almost two decades later, entice Terry back to Borneo.   In his latest film, Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction, to be aired on BBC2 9pm on 27 March, Terry explores not only the fate of the endangered orangutan but also his own fate as he battles with a rare form of  Alzheimer’s.

Terry Pratchett is best known for his hugely popular Discworld novels, a fantasy series, which feature the Discworld character The Librarian, who was transformed into an orangutan. This prompted Terry’s curiosity about the great red ape, which he has described as “having a face like a surprised coconut”, and led to his long-term support of the Orangutan Foundation, a UK charity, of which he is a Trustee.

Whilst filming Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction last year, Ashley Leiman OBE, the Orangutan Foundation’s Director, invited Terry and the film crew to accompany the charity’s vet and rescue team to a proposed oil palm plantation, where an adult male orangutan was reported to be crop-raiding.  The devastating threat of oil-palm plantation expansion to the endangered orangutan’s habitat required little explanation.

Ashley, who was also on Terry’s first adventure to Borneo, recounted “Back then, the chainsaw was our enemy. This time, we were confronted with the real threat: oil-palm plantations had replaced swathes of forest – the orangutans’ home. We drove for more than three hours through unrelenting monoculture. There was nothing but oil palm”.

The Orangutan Foundation increasingly has to rescue stranded or injured orangutans. Only last year, a female orangutan, considered a pest, was shot over 100 times. She miraculously survived but was left permanently blind and will never return to the wild.  To address this escalating issue the charity is working on a new project Mitigation of Human-Orangutan Conflicts in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo which is bringing together local government, oil palm growers and farmers to find a solution.

The Orangutan Foundation’s Director Ashley Leiman is positive about the future for orangutans “I felt privileged to be part of Terry’s latest film but I recognise that when faced with the stark reality of the situation, stranded orangutans and such forest loss, it can be hard to remain positive. Yet Terry visited some local communities who, with our assistance, are finding alternative ways to generate an income without having to destroy the forest.  There is active local support for conservation in Borneo but as we know it only takes the actions of a few to undo the good work.   I hope Terry recognises that his generous support over the past years has made a difference and that all is not lost.”

For more information or for interviews, please call Ian Redmond, Orangutan Foundation Trustee, on 01453 765228 or email ele@globalnet.co.uk or info@orangutan.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

High resolution photos and additional images are available here: http://bit.ly/XB5iyE

Further details about the Orangutan Foundation its activities are available on the Foundation’s website www.orangutan.org.uk

The Orangutan Foundation works in Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra to protect endangered orangutans by protecting their tropical forest habitat, working with local communities and promoting research and education. It recognises that orangutan habitat is unique in its richness of biodiversity and is crucial for local communities, who are as dependant on the forest as is the orangutan.

The Orangutan Foundation work in areas of critical orangutan habitat in Central Kalimantan, in the Indonesia part of Borneo. Additionally, In collaboration with the Indonesian government’s local Nature Conservation department (PHKA), the Orangutan Foundation runs a release site for rehabilitated and translocated wild orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

Sir Terry Pratchett, Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, is one of the most popular authors writing today. He is best known for his hugely popular Discworld novels, a fantasy series, which feature the Discworld character The Librarian, who was transformed into an orangutan. This prompted Terry Pratchett’s curiosity about orangutans and his long-term support of the Orangutan Foundation. In 1995 Terry visited Indonesian Borneo with Orangutan Foundation to see orangutans in the wild and film Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest for a Channel 4 television documentary and he returned in 2012 to film Terry Pratchett Facing Extinction for BBC2. Terry has won numerous literary awards, has received four honorary doctorates, was appointed OBE for services to literature in 1998 and he was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Ms Ashley Leiman OBE is Director and Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation, which she founded in 1990. Ashley has been actively involved in Asian conservation for over 30 years. Her initial involvement was with the Natural History Society and Conservation Society in Hong Kong. In 1985 she was on the organising committee of the New York Rainforest Alliance. In 1986, after spending time in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo,  Ashley set about establishing the Orangutan Foundation in the UK. In 2006 Ashley was appointed OBE for her services to Orangutan Conservation. Ashley is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UNEP’s Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).

Threats to orangutans

The biggest threat to orangutans is habitat loss. Orangutan habitat is being destroyed and degraded by oil palm plantations, illegal logging, acacia plantations, fire, mining and small-scale shifting cultivation.

The destruction of tropical forests affects the global climate and is one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. For orangutans the situation is critical.

The principle cause of habitat loss is the conversion of forests to agriculture, especially  vast monoculture oil palm plantations.

Palm oil is produced from the kernel of the oil palm plant and is the world’s most popular vegetable oil, primarily produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. Often labelled  as just vegetable oil, palm oil  is a hidden ingredient found in up to half of packaged food products across Europe, it is also used in cosmetics and increasingly as a biofuel.  A new EU regulation, requiring all vegetable oils to be labelled individually, will come into force in 2015.

Oil palm plantations expansion is not the only threat. Deforestation for mining (both legal and illegal) has the potential to be just as devastating. Illegal mining has been found within the boundaries of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  The Orangutan Foundation is protecting this area of critical orangutan habitat with guard posts and patrols.

Images – high resolution versions can be downloaded from the Orangutan Foundation Photo Gallery from this link http://bit.ly/XB5iyE

To donate to the Orangutan Foundation please click here or text  APES05 £X to 70070 and put whatever amount you would like to donate where the 'X' is. For example, to donate £20, text APES05 £20.  Thank you!

Photos of orangutans' rescue

Here are the photos of the rescue, of a mother and infant, which we blogged about last month. Now, they are both safely in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.


Please consider a donation (donate here) to support our vital work.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation


Petition: Save Aceh's forests - home to orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants

Over 1.2 million hectares of forest in Aceh, in the north of the island of Sumatra, are planned to be used for development (roads, mining, oil palm plantations and logging). These forests are home to orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers - critically endangered species. These forests are also vital for our own species' future.

To find out more information and sign a petition - http://www.change.org/saveaceh

Thank you.



The wonders of life – help save forests and orangutans!

Needed: 12 adventurous individuals for 6 weeks volunteer work in Borneo. Your mission: to build a guard post that will strengthen the protection of a wildlife reserve that’s home to the endangered Bornean orangutan, gibbon, clouded leopard and thousands of other amazing species.

You must be healthy, fit and ready for a challenge. A sense of humour is a must and, unlike orangutans, you must be able to work and live in a group!

Find out more: email cat@orangutan.org.uk or call 020 7724 2912



New enclosure for blind orangutan, Aan

We are pleased to report that blind orangutan, Aan, has a new enclosure. It allows her greater freedom of movement and more sunlight gets through, which reduces the dampness and make it fresher. We would like to thank everyone who donated in response to Aan’s incredible survival story.

Aan remains scared of humans and she tried to bite one of our staff as they tried to transfer her to her new cage. Therefore, she had to be sedated to minimize her stress and the risk of injury to our staff.

Once considered safe, the vet took the opportunity to have Aan weighed. She is now 26 kg and so she has gained 1 kg seen her rescue.

Aan was still sedated as she was placed into the new cage on a shelf covered with leaves as bedding. Within a few moments of waking up, she started playing and eating.

Our staff regard Aan as a clever orangutan. She is surviving well by relying on her senses of hearing and taste. She is still selective about food. If given fruit which is a bit past its best or maybe sour, Aan will rejected it or even throw it away.

Please help with a donation to help us care for Aan.

Thank you for your support.

Orangutan Foundation

Update on Aan, orangutan who was shot over 100 times.

Dr Fikri has sent the update below on how Aan, the female orangutan who was shot over 100 times, is recovering. Aan has been living in a temporary enclosure in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. We are currently building a permanent and larger enclosure for her. However, we still have meet the costs of her day to day care and we need to secure additional funds to assist us with this. Please consider a donation to help us (click here to donate). Update from Dr Fikri

'In general, Aan's health has improved. She is always on the move and loves playing with the ropes and tyres in her cage. She rarely goes down to the floor of the cage, especially if there are other orangutans outside or in the evening when pigs might come near the cage.

When camp staff have to enter the cage to clean it, Aan always moves away to the far corner. She often moves by holding the walls of the cage so the camp staff think she looks like Spiderman.

Aan is totally blind having lost her sight to air gun pellets that were fired at her. Despite having several pellet still lodged in her ears, thankfully Aan can hear. In fact as she suffered blindness, the ability to hear seems better and tends to be more sensitive than other healthy orangutans. Therefore, for now, we have decided not to undertake further surgery to remove the pellets.

When feeding, the camp staff will call her name while sometimes knocking the cage wall to encourage Aan to come closer. Unlike the other orangutans, Aan is very picky about food. She often leaves unripe or less mature fruit. If the fruit given is ripe, Aan will definitely eat it. She really likes mango and pineapple. If both fruits are available, Aan will not eat bananas instead she will throw them away.'

On behalf of everybody at the Orangutan Foundation I would like to thank you for your support this year.

Season’s greetings,


Ashley Leiman (Founder and Director Orangutan Foundation)


Rescued orangutan, Joson, adapting well to her new forest home.

Here's is an update about infant orangutan, Joson, from our vet, Dr Fikri, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Joson, a young orangutan stationed at Camp Siswoyo since October 12 2012, is undergoing a 'soft-release' program. She is keeping in good health. She is agile and cheerful like a young wild orangutan. Every day Joson is released into the forest and she is more confident to climb trees and move between trees, adventuring further away. She also makes nests in the trees.

One afternoon, Joson was resting in a nest that she has made. The nest was quite high so Edi, a member of camp staff, couldn't see her. Joson stayed in the nest a while with Edi waiting under the tree. However, after a long time, Joson's nest  looked motionless. Edi called to her but Joson didn't appeared. Concerned, Edi then climbed a nearby tree and then saw that Joson was laying in the nest, glancing at him in his tree. Feeling deceived by Joson, Edi finally laughed. He thought that he had lost track of her.

Every morning after eating and drinking in a cage, around 07.00 am, Joson is taken to the forests to learn through playing. She has been introduced to edible forest fruits and tubers. Now it is often seen that Joson eat some kind of fruit such as fig and guava. Joson also often go down to the swamp to take forest tubers. Joson also looks not afraid when she met with Baung, adult female orangutan, who has a male child named Alcatras. Joson kept busy with her own activity and did not seem concerned with the presence of Baung and Alcatras.

After Joson seems finished with playing in the afternoon, around 3 pm, she will return to the camp and go into her cage. Before bed Joson is given fruit and a drink.

Joson has shown a lot of progress. When Joson was first taken out of her cage and raised into a tree near camp, she was very slow while climbing. Before coming to the Reserve, Joson had stayed for quite a lot long time in a cage being kept as a pet by a villager. Her body was also rather fat. With her distended belly, Joson often look funny when slowly trying hard to climb trees.

At the beginning of her acquaintance with the trees in the forest, Joson often hesitated when climbing. Some time shortly after being up in the trees, Joson go down and walk on the ground and then climb another tree. . However, the direction of movement was often to return to the cage where she was staying.

Joson has undergone remarkable progress in soft-release program. It did not take long for Joson to climb proficiently, to be able to make a nest and find her own food. We have great hope that Joson someday will total release into the wild and be able to survive in nature.

Thank you,

Dr Fikri,  Orangutan Foundation Vet.

Keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild

Double your donation this Thursday 6th December at 10am,  at http://new.thebiggive.org.uk/project/HabitatProtection, and you can be assured that you are helping to keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild. A common excuse used by people who are found acting illegally inside protected areas is that they didn’t realise they were within the borders.  To counteract this problem in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesia Borneo), the Orangutan Foundation and BKSDA Central Kalimantan (Conservation and Natural Resources Authority) are currently ensuring that the Reserve’s border is correctly marked. This involves patrolling the entire border, the reserve is approximately twice the size of the UK's Isle of Wight, and using GPS to check that makers haven’t been moved and also replacing any markers that are missing.

The Reserve, which is critical orangutan habitat, is also a government designated orangutan release site.  It is where orangutans such as Bangkal, Rosa and Brian and Aan (female orangutan who was rescued after being shot in October) are all living.

Maintaining this basic habitat protection is vital.  Yet it comes at a cost that the Orangutan Foundation has to meet.  Please help us tomorrow, Thursday 6th December, and if the matched fund has already been used up then please try again on Friday or Saturday or until the fund has finished.

We really appreciate your support.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation




Wild male orangutan, Gagah, moved to safety of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

Support our work and have your donation doubled at 10am on the 6th, 7th and 8th December at http://new.thebiggive.org.uk/project/HabitatProtection

The wild male orangutan, who was captured last week in the village of Pendulangan (read previous post), has now been moved to the safety of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  Our vet, Dr Fikri, and our Reserve Manager, PakTigor, said the orangutan (who they have named Gagah - meaning handsome) was very agile, nimble and smart and so trying to dart and capture him was very challenging. Fortunately, Pak Uduk, our Assistant Manager, is a very able tree climber and is a good shot with the anaesthetic blowpipe. Eventally, he darted Gagah at the top of a tree. After a few minutes, when Gagah started to look weak, Pak Uduk and the team approached and managed to reach the orangutan's hand. They led him slowly down from the tree.

The next day, Gagah was examined by Dr Fikri at the BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun. Gagah is thought to be ± 20 years old and his cheek-pads are about 7 cm wide.  He is certainly one very handsome orangutan!

Gagah was given a clean bill of health and it was decided to release him in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. During the journey Gagah looked nervous, often sound and shaking the cage, the whole time looking at the surrounding forests.

By late morning, the team had arrived at Camp Buluh, the site where Gagah was to be released. Due to heavy rains, Gagah had to wait in his cage for a few hours. Eventually the rain eased off and Gahah was finally released.  He immediately ran, very fast, to a tree and then moved to a more distant tree to leave the release team behind. In a very short time he was out of sight.  

Please help us safeguard the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve to ensure a future for Gagah. Your donation can be worth double with the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2012!

Save the date: 10am (UK time) 6th, 7th and 8th December 

Your donations can only be doubled, online, at the link below: