Orangutan Foundation have been tackling fires only a few kilometres from the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to some 500 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and many other threatened species. Our committed team of Indonesian staff are working with the Indonesian Wildlife Department and the local community to extinguish the fires.
The threat of forest fires is returning as the dry season in Central Kalimantan continues and 2017 looks set to be one of the hottest years on record.
We are prepared and are on alert to ensure these fires do not spread. All of our guard posts store fire fighting equipment and we have supported fire fighting training.
We have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by fires. During October 2015, fires in Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve burnt through thousands of acres of forests. The clip below, with Indonesian text, highlights the problem.
This video shows the challenges faced by our staff when rescuing orangutans:
On the 3rd July, our staff received reports from the Wildlife Department (BKSDA) of yet another orangutan that had been found in community land. At that stage they had no idea of the difficulty of the terrain and where or what condition they would find the orangutan in. After preparing the anesthesia, our staff set off to the rescue location.
It soon became clear this was going to be difficult. They had to cut through dense undergrowth to reach the orangutan, which was high up in a tree. Our anaesthetist had to climb up a tree to get a clear sight of the ape before firing the dart gun. The staff, ready at the bottom of the tree with a net, caught the orangutan as it fell. Our vet was waiting to assess the orangutan, who was a female of around 20 years. Sadly though, he discovered previous injuries to her back and chest, which would require treatment.
The orangutan was named Karin and on returning from the rescue location she was examined and given treatment for her wounds.
After recovering from her ordeal, Karin was taken to Camp Gemini, an orangutan release site, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). Once Karin’s wound has healed she will be free to live back in the wild again.
We have seen two orangutan births in less than two months. Why is this significant and a reason to celebrate? Orangutans are critically endangered, a recent report found that orangutan populations on Borneo have declined by 25% over the last 10 years. A shocking statistic. However, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, orangutan numbers are increasing. Many orangutans now living in this protected forest reserve were rescued as their forest home was destroyed around them or they were orphaned because their mothers had been killed. With our supporter’s generous help we have been able to give them a second chance to live in the wild and they are thriving.
Volvo was born to rescued mother orangutan, Vania, at the end of May and our most recent newborn is Dublin (named after Dublin Zoo’s recent visit), born to ex-captive mother orangutan, Dedek.
On the 22nd May, Orangutan Foundation field staff teamed up with Orangutan Green Teams and conservation cadets FK31 to run awareness activities with Sekonyer Village, within Tanjung Puting National Park. The primary aim of the activities was to educate and support the villagers activities to help protect the critically endangered orangutan and its threatened forest habitat.
Community outreach is a cornerstone of the Orangutan Foundation’s work in Indonesian Borneo.
A variety of activities ensued, which included painting the village library and distributing books, as well as games for the children. The aim was to encourage members of the village to support ecotourism in the area as an alternative to habitat destruction.
As OF Research Manager Arie reports “We need more…to keep these activities running…support the people of Sekonyer Village! We stand together…”
It is vital we reach out to local communities around areas of protected tropical forest habitat in order to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.
Please donate today to support the Orangutan Foundation’s community work in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.
In September 2015, Central Kalimantan was hit by major forest fires. Many orangutans needed rescuing from areas of burning forest and community land.
One such orangutan was Vania, a 29 year old female orangutan, named after a student who was doing research on orangutans in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve at the time. Vania and her 6 year old offspring (named Venty) were rescued from an oil palm plantation and released by Camp Buluh in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Both are now in good health and are still frequently seen in the area. As shared yesterday, field staff have informed us that Vania gave birth on 25th May to an infant they have named Volvo.
Vania has been seen around camp since the birth to show off her new arrival.
Welcome Volvo to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve!
Would you like to play an active part in the protection of Volvo's tropical forest home?
Become a guardian of Lamandau and help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. Click here for more information.
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!
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.
As 2016 comes to an end, we have received news of yet another orangutan rescued from an oil-palm plantation - read our vet's blogpost below. Please support our vital work protecting orangutans and their globally important habitat - donate here
Yesterday we attended a meeting with BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency). Whilst we were there Pak Agung, the head officer, received a call from an oil-palm plantation, in the Sampit area, to rescue an orangutan. The Orangutan Foundation's rescue team immediately jumped into action to respond to the rescue call.
After a 4 hour journey we arrived at the location and were immediately met by the authorities from the plantation office, who directed us to the orangutan. We found the orangutan in a tree. We used a tranquilliser gun and once anaesthetised, the orangutan was identified as female, around 16 years old and her weight is around 30 Kg.
The condition of her body looks thin, maybe because she lacks food. After examining, I give de-worming drug and vitamins to help restore her health. As the orangutan came round after the anaesthetic, her behaviour became very aggressive and she was quite stressed.
She will be translocated to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in the next few days, where she will be released back into the wild as soon as possible.
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.
We bring you great news from Danau Burung, our guard post in the south-west of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve!
This area was badly affected by forest fires this summer, intentionally started by local inhabitants. In this area people started fires in the forest to quickly clear land of trees in order to encourage grass to grow, to attract deer and pigs for hunting. Fire is also used to clear land for "slash and burn" agriculture, in order to render it useful for farming. These forest fires caused widespread devastation throughout much of Kalimantan in 2015 following a lengthy dry season, causing them to burn out of control.
Thanks to two grants, from GRASP (Great Apes Survival Partnership) and Orang-utans in Not e.V (Orangutans in Peril, a German NGO) we were able to invest in a forest restoration project to enrich areas that suffered during the fires in 2015. Ubar trees (Syzigyum spp.) were chosen primarily to replenish the area. This is an endemic species to Kalimantan, which grows well in all forest types, and is less susceptible to burning than other species. The leaves and fruit are also a treat for orangutans!
Our partners from BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency, Indonesia) have provided us with a tree nursery, which our staff are using to plant and grow seeds into seedlings, which are then relocated to areas around Danau Burung. Our Orangutan Foundation staff have now planted 1,500 seedlings in the area to restore the now barren areas of land. Our target is to plant 5,000 seedlings in the Danau Burung area, and with this news we can successfully acknowledge that we are a third of the way towards reaching our goal!
Forest restoration is paramount to the long-term survival of orangutans. If forest habitats are lost, orangutans cannot feed or protect themselves, and populations will perish as a result.
To DONATE towards our forest restoration project, quote "FOREST" with your donation! All contributions are greatly appreciated!
At 5pm on the 4th of February, we received a moving and poignant photograph from the OF-UK rescue teams in Indonesia.
This orangutan was immediately visible, seen clinging to the top of a tall thin and burnt tree - the only tree in sight in an area overtaken by oil-palm.
A heart-breaking image like this perfectly sums up the extent of the devastation caused by habitat destruction in Indonesian Borneo. Rainforest habitat is rapidly dwindling, leaving orangutans to search for shelter on community land or in sparse and fragmented areas of forest. Fortunately this 15-year-old female was one of the lucky few: found, rescued and soon to be released.
The female orangutan, now named Narti, was examined by the OF-UK vet, Dr Wawan, and thought to have eaten palm-shoots as there was no other food around. The shoots from oil-palm plants are not healthy food for orangutans, and are a struggle to digest. Luckily after medication and given time being fed the right foods, Narti will be safely released back into orangutan habitat within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Though the flames that overwhelmed Kalimantan for months are now out, it seems the damage may have already been done. Since September, the Orangutan Foundation rescue team has rescued an orangutan from burnt and desolate forest on a weekly basis. Now, the fires may have come to an end but this rise in rescue activity has not.
Orangutans are elusive creatures, and provided they live in optimum habitat, are relatively difficult to spot (much to the grievance of orangutan researchers!). Yet this morning our teams rescued a young juvenile orangutan who could be seen at a distance, clambering the topmost point of an isolated tree just 500m from a main road. The proximity of this rescue to a public roadis evidence of the devastation that wild orangutans will continue to face thanks to three months’ worth of wildfire.
As you can see in the images below, the habitat where this young orangutan was found has been very badly affected by the fires. Thankfully, the orangutan himself appeared to be in good health and will be released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve right away!
Sometimes images are more powerful than words.
[video width="320" height="240" mp4="http://www.orangutan.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IMG_0838.mp4"][/video]
These fires have resulted in a surge of orangutan rescues. To follow all of our orangutan rescue and release activity, please visit us on YouTube and Facebook.
Orangutan habitat continues to be under threat. You can make a difference by donating towards the Orangutan Foundation's fire-fighting team, or by sharing this video with your friends and family to help us raise awareness for these difficult times.
Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP