International Orangutan Day (19th August) aims to increase global awareness about orangutans and their tropical forest habitat.
This weekend, Orangutan Foundation, in Central Kalimantan, orangutan capital of the world, have a festival of activities arranged for hundreds of people. Members of the youth groups, Kalteng Indonesian Conservation Cadre Communication Forum (FK3I) and the Student Nature Lovers, throughout Kowaringin Barat Regency will join in. We’ll be celebrating orangutans and conservation with overnight camping and art activities. Five local kindergartens are taking part in a colouring contest. We’ve also organised a car-free day in the town of Pangkalan Bun to highlight this global day celebrating orangutans. Ensuring awareness is achieved here, means that a real difference can be made.
The overall aim is to increase community awareness about the environment and the presence of wild orangutans in the surrounding forests. Leaflets will be distributed informing people how to avoid human-orangutan conflicts.
This action is needed more now, than ever before.
Watch this space for news and images of how the festivities went.
We have just received these delightful images of Max and her newborn infant. Max and her mother Mantra, were released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2003, aged 16-years old, this is Max's pregnancy.
Max looks to be doing well but her infant seems quite weak. Staff will provide supplementary fruit and will follow Max for a week to monitor her and her infant during these critical early days.
When our staff arrived at the oil-palm plantation they found the orangutan in an area of forest, on the riverbank of the plantation. We had been called in to help by BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun (government agency for wildlife) who had received reports from an oil-palm plantation of an orangutan in their plantation. It was decided to capture the orangutan and move her to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, to avoid potential conflict.
The orangutan, who they identified as female, had made and was resting in a nest. This made it easier to dart her as she wasn’t moving.
What our staff hadn’t anticipated was that she might just remain where she was and fall asleep, making it very difficult to then rescue her. This is just what happened!
One of our rescue team staff, Mr Nasibah, also an expert tree climber, shinnied up the tree to the nest. With huge effort he managed to lower the unconscious orangutan out of her nest. Our staff on the ground, used netting to catch her, as she fell to the ground.
She was quickly transported to an open area where our vet Dr Dimas, examined her. Apart from a small scratch to her chest, she was in full health, weighing 45 kilos and was thought to be around 18 years-old. The scratch was cleaned and injected with long-acting antibiotics to prevent infection.
Two days later the orangutan was released in the Lamandau Widlife Reserve, on the opposite side of the river from Camp JL. We protect this forest reserve with guard posts and regular forest patrols to prevent and deter illegal activities.
As soon as the transport cage door was opened she actively climbed into the nearby trees and disappeared into the forest.This, we hope, is her last encounter with humans.
The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest and is home to a population of more than 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are stay safe. Please donate to our urgent appeal – DONATE TODAY
We only send out appeals when there is a real need for help – and right now, we urgently need funds to strengthen the protection of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan.
In January and February, our forest patrol staff detected and tackled fires, deliberately lit to clear land, next to the reserve. They prevented the fires from spreading and saved thousands of acres of peat swamp forest from going up in smoke. In March, we met with the provincial government to push for those responsible for starting the fires, to be held to account.
The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve totals 158,144 acres of tropical forest. The Foundation's staff put themselves at risk as they battled to protect the forests, home to a population of 500 orangutans. Half of these were reintroduced or translocated by the Orangutan Foundation and given a second chance of survival in the wild. We must make sure they are safe.
It costs a quarter of a million pounds a year to protect the reserve and the wildlife. A significant commitment for a small charity, but a relatively small amount considering the invaluable riches and services the forests contain and provide.
The Orangutan Foundation runs and staffs eight guard posts in and around Lamandau to deter and prevent access to the forests. Our staff, all committed local Indonesian conservationists, patrol on foot or by boat. We use conservation drones and GIS to map and document illegal activities.
The map below shows the guard posts (red triangle on blue).
In 2017, we stopped illegal mining inside the reserve and since the beginning of 2018, our forest patrols have detected and stopped two cases of illegal logging.
Yet, despite years of investment in successful community awareness, there remain a small few who want to exploit the forest for their own interests. As pressure for land increases our fight to protect standing forest, to stop it being logged or converted to oil palm, will only become more difficult. Protecting Lamandau is an ongoing commitment: we cannot temporarily close a guard post due to insufficient funds, in the hope that we might start up again next year. If we stop protecting the reserve, we know that we will lose it: the forest and its precious wildlife could be gone in an instant.
Bangkal is one of the orangutans at risk. Originally released into the neighbouring Tanjung Puting National Park, Bangkal was severely injured in 2000 when illegal loggers attacked him with boiling-hot oil. Following a long period of recovery, he was released into Lamandau, at Camp Gemini, one of our five release camps in the reserve. Bangkal, now strong, healthy and independent, has since become the dominant male.Aan, an adult female, was shot and permanently blinded in an oil-palm plantation. Foundation staff moved Aan to the Lamandau Reserve, where she now lives with round-the-clock monitoring by our staff and vet.
We also care for ten orphaned infant orangutans at our release camps - plus many dozens of reintroduced and translocated adults that are thriving in the wild under our protection. We owe it to these orangutans to keep their forest home safe.
Please DONATE SECURELY THROUGH OUR WEBSITE, by calling 020 7724 2912, or by sending a cheque payable to ‘Orangutan Foundation’ to Orangutan Foundation, 7 Kent Terrace, London, NW1 4RP. If you are unable to donate immediately but want to make funding pledge, whether through fundraising or a delayed donation, please contact us to discuss options – we will work with you however we can.
Sponsor the protection of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve
£15 protects 10 acres of forest for one year
£37.50 protects 25 acres of forest for one year
£75 protects 50 acres of forest for one year
£150 protects 100 acres of forest for one year
We must act today to secure the future for orangutans, forests and people.
We need your vote to win funding for our project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo. Click to vote, scroll down to our project and cast your vote for orangutans. It is quick and easy to do and will make a big difference to our work.
Last month our staff risked their lives to extinguish deliberately lit fires. They prevented them spreading into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to more than 500 orangutans. They could respond quickly because we have guard posts and patrol staff protecting the forests around the clock. Without this direct habitat protection, 1000's of acres of forest would have been destroyed. If you can't view the video below please click this link: https://youtu.be/p4lMApuJd2M
Fire is a major threat to orangutans, forests and people. Vote for us to help us prevent forest fires. Our project will run a public awareness campaign, fire fighting training and enable us to buy extra fire fighting equipment. Please vote to today - click here.
Vote for Orangutan Foundation - click here
Following a rigorous selection procedure, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has created a shortlist of projects to fund. We’re delighted to be one of them. It now goes to the public to decide who should receive funding! This is why we are asking for your help.
Voting runs from today, 9 March (00.01 GMT) to Friday 23 March (12.00 GMT) 2018.
If we win we will receive funding for our Project: Conserving Orangutan Habitat by Preventing Forest Fires, Borneo.The overall goal is to prevent the loss of protected peat swamp forest, habitat of the critically endangered orangutan, from fire. We know how devastating fires can be. Only last month, our staff had to battle fires around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. They managed to extinguish them preventing thousands of acres from going up in smoke.
The project will focus on Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, two protected areas in Central Kalimantan, which lost 103,000 hectares to fire, in 2015. EOCA funding will be used to create and distribute an awareness campaign ‘Stop kebakaran hutan dan lahan‘ (Stop forest and land fires). It will focus on the negative socio-economic impacts of fires including tourism losses and health costs.
Funding will provide annual specialist fighting fire training during the dry season to Orangutan Foundation and local authority staff. It will buy equipment for use by the Orangutan Foundation forest patrol staff in the National Park and for the villagers that are close to the Reserve, who attend the firefighting training.
Tujuan proyek: Tujuan keseluruhan proyek ini adalah untuk mencegah kehilangan kawasan lindung hutan rawa gambut yang merupakan habitat orangutan terancam punah akibat kebakaran. Proyek ini fokus di dua kawasan lindung di Kalimantan Tengah yang pada tahun 2015 hilang 103.000 hektar akibat kebakaran. Tujuan proyek ini akan mengurangi pembakaran hutandan lahan oleh warga masyarakat dengan melakukan kampanye penyuluhan, pelatihan, dan menyediakan peralatan pemadaman kebarakan untuk instansi terkait, masyarakat lokal, dan staf Orangutan Foundation.
Dana dari EOCA akan digunakan untuk melakukan kampanye penyuluhan ‘Stop Pembakaran Hutan dan Lahan’. Kampanye tersebut akan menyoroti dampak negatif kebakaran terhadap sosial-ekonomi termasuk kerugian wisata, serta biaya kesehatan. Proyek ini akan mengadakan pelatihan khusus pemadaman api pada musim kemarau dan pembelian peralatan yang dibutuhkan staf lapangan untuk memadamkan api di dua kawasan hutan tersebut, yang merupakan habitat orangutan.
Today is World Wildlife Day and so is perfect timing for us to announce the winning posters of our competition 'The Orangutan's World'!
Our annual competitions never fail to disappoint. Whether it is posters, designing T-shirts, cakes or writing stories, every year we receive hundreds of entries from talented young people, demonstrating their knowledge about wildlife and how much they care.
This year we were delighted to have wildlife artist, Gary Hodges and our patron, wildlife TV presenter, Patrick Aryee as our judges. On Thursday, they trudged through the snow to our HQ, where they had the unenviable task of judging hundreds of wonderful posters. Over to judge, Gary Hodges, for his feedback on the competition...
'On the huge table before us were displayed hundreds of artworks from supporters of the Orangutan Foundation. No ordinary supporters though, they were all drawn from the wild imaginations of children and young teenagers. The TV presenter Patrick Aryee and I certainly had our work cut out.
A couple of hours and lots of head scratching later, we had whittled it down to twenty five best ones. Eventually we picked our absolute favourites and they were all so good we decided to give five rather than three top prizes to these worthy winners. A further bunch of great poster people received highly commended prizes too. What a lovely day!'
The overall winner was Alana Quinn. Both judges felt Alana's poster showed great skill and really stood out. Alana's prizes include a signed Gary Hodges print of 'Majesty' Royal Bengal Tiger, Faber Castell art material and the photobook, The Orangutan's World - a photographic celebration of Bornean wildlife.
Here are the fabulous runner up posters:
Gary is also donating a selection of his postcard books to 20 highly commended posters.
A big thank you to all the children who entered and did their bit for orangutans. Thank you to our judges, Gary and Patrick. Thank you to Gary Hodges, Faber Castell and Usbourne Books for the prizes and to Animals and You magazine for helping to publicise the competition.
We are looking for a few more adventurous individuals to join our volunteer team in Borneo. This year's project is the renovation of a forest guard post in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Volunteers will be working and living on the site, which is a beautiful remote location in the middle of the forest. You will wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of the forest.
Orangutan Foundation does not allow any of its volunteers to have direct contact with orangutans and this is for the benefit of the apes. Most people understand this and can see the bigger picture of what they are doing. Watch Orangutan Foundation’s Cathy Smith talking at Compass Ethical Travel Conference about ethical volunteering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=213&v=3KM4ZBLvo38
If you want to spend a unique 3 weeks doing something worthwhile for orangutan conservation and see orangutans in the wild, then why not make this the year to join us? To find out more please click here or contact us.
Fires, deliberately lit next to an oil-palm plantation, have spread to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to over 500 critically endangered orangutans. This is the second fire this year. Please donate to help us.
The Orangutan Foundation's guard post staff spent yesterday evening and all last night fighting the fires. We can't thank them enough for their bravery and efforts to protect the Wildlife Reserve. The fire, as the map below shows, was on the other side from our Orangutan Release Camps and so our young orphaned orangutans and Aan, the blind orangutan, are safe. However, other wild orangutans and species will have been harmed by these fires.
We are alarmed that fires have been lit in the first place but are spreading so easily, especially at this time of the year. It is meant to be the wet season but the scrub land, just bordering the reserve, and the forest, inside the reserve, is unusually dry due to lack of rain. In 2015, an El Nino year, over 11,000 hectares of the reserve burnt. This cannot happen again.
At around 18.00 hrs yesterday our guard post staff at Post Vigilant Howe detected fires about 3 km outside the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. The fires are thought to have started near to PT Sampurna oil-palm plantation.
Our staff from Guard Post Danau Burung and Government Resort staff BKSDA SKW II from Guard Post Sungai Pasir tried to extinguish the fires for 3 hours using water jet pack shooters. At 20.00hrs they realised the fire was growing due to the wind and ready fuel of dried shrubs and grass. They informed the Head of BKSDA Resort SKW II, Mr. Sugih Trianto and requested extra help. Our staff from Guard Post Perapat and even our Forest Restoration Manager, Anto, went to help tackle the fires.
At around 03.00hrs the fire was eventually extinguished by an exhausted team, made up of Orangutan Foundation and staff of BKSDA SKW II.
At 10.00 hrs today our team returned to the location of the fire and extinguished any smouldering vegetation. The fires were very close to our Guard Post Vigilant Howe. Using GPS, the total area of the fire was 61 hectares, which is the equivalent to the area of 150 football pitches.
At a time when orangutan numbers are falling dramatically we need to ensure their habitat is safe. This is the second fire this year alone and we have also detected and stopped 2 cases of illegal logging. Help us to protect these forests and orangutans. If you can, please consider making a regular donation. Donate today
Our Vet, Dr Dimas, has been treating one of the young orangutans in our Soft Release Programme for a dry scalp. Dimas, has been applying a moisturising ointment and our staff will continue with this treatment.
All our young orphaned orangutans were also given vitamins and medication to prevent parasitic worm infections.
While going from Camp Siswoyo to Camp JL within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Dr Dimas and Azhari (Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) had to use a kelotok boat (flat bottomed) instead of a speedboat because the water level is getting lower. The dry season seems to have come early this year to Central Kalimantan, with very little rain.
There are worrying reports of more fires, right on the boundary of the Reserve. We'll keep you updated on this situation.
In the last month we have heard disturbing reports about the cruel and brutal killing of two critically endangered Bornean orangutans. Sadly, our staff care for the victims, of these sort of actions, every day. We're still caring for Aan, shot 104 times and left permanently blind. Little Bumi, rescued last year, 8 pellets removed, his mother must have been shot and killed.
We ask ourselves, how could someone harm these gentle, intelligent and peaceful beings?
The killing of an orangutan is a visible threat, rightly generating shock and outrage. The invisible threat that forces orangutans into increasing contact with humans, onto oil-palm plantations or village farms, is habitat loss. We use the term invisible because habitat loss does not elicit the same level of response as an orangutan killing.
In the last month our guard post staff have tackled illegally lit fires and prevented them spreading, but still 30 hectares burnt. This week, they detected the second case this year of illegal logging, right on the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. This is meant to be strictly protected forest, it has a population of over 500 orangutans. We need to keep it protected and the orangutans safe.
Why does the image of a fallen tree not also generate the same outrage? When forests are cleared, orangutans and hundreds of other species are harmed or even killed. Some survive, if they can move to another area of forest. This increases competition for resources and forces them into closer contact with humans. It is because we can’t see the immediate impact on orangutans and so our response is different.
We need your help now, more than ever. Our guard post patrol staff require ongoing support to prevent illegal activities and further loss of orangutan habitat. The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is huge, 158,144 acres of tropical forest (one acre is the approximate size of one football pitch). Our staff do a fabulous job patrolling such a large area but need to be supported.
Please help us to keep these vital forests standing and their precious inhabitants in wild. Please donate today.
We are delighted to announce the arrival of another baby orangutan born into the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo.
Our staff believe the orangutan was born on 26th January. Mother, Holahonolulu (Hola for short) was seen with her new infant at Camp Gemini's feeding site. We think the father is likely to be Bangkal, the dominant male, as they were seen mating on several occasions.
Both Hola and her baby looked healthy. Hola ate a lot of fruit, the extra energy needed for milk production. As yet, our staff could not tell what sex the baby was.
Hola was born in the wild in December 2004 and her mother was Huber. Huber was rehabilitated by OFI and was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in December 1999, but she has since passed away.
Our staff have yet to name Hola's new baby so we thought we would ask for your help. Send us your suggestions (leave a comment), it must start with an H and be a unisex name. We will decide on Monday 5th February.
The survival of the critically endangered orangutan and its forest habitat lies in the hands of Indonesia's youth. Their opinions, decisions and actions will determine its future existence in the wild. This is why awareness and capacity building is vital to the long-term conservation of this threatened great ape.
This month the Orangutan Foundation, and other local organisations, delivered a series of lessons to senior school, SMAN 3 Pangkalan Bun (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). Our Research Manager, Arie, talked about the importance of research and our work at Pondok Ambung Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park. The Orangutan Foundation's Forest Patrols Manager, Jakir, led an inspiring session about photojournalism.
Why is Pondok Ambung Research Station important?
Every few months our staff move camera traps to a different location within the research study site. Just some of the wildlife documented so far includes clouded leopards, sun bears, muntjac, crested fireback (forest pheasant), mouse deer, tree mouse, frogs and pig tailed macaques.
They also monitor tree phenology, recording which species of tree are in flower or fruiting and which consumer species are feeding from them and how often.
Our research station was renovated by last year’s volunteer team and is now much better equipped to hosted visitors. In January, 65 students visited. The students participated in wildlife observations, learnt field skills, watched and discussed a wildlife trade documentary and planted 500 tree seedlings, at Pondok Ambung’s forest restoration site.
The success of the event was due to the collaborative efforts of Orangutan Foundation staff and other organisations including; Bagas the Traffic / IUCN Redlist Ambassador for Kalimantan; Fajar from OFI, the FNPF, BTNTP and FK3I. The event was supported by the National Park’s tour operators and guides who provided a free klotok (longboat) as did FNPF.
Please donate to support our work - it is needed to secure a future for oranguans, forests and people. DONATE HERE
The Orangutan Foundation is delighted to welcome Dimas Yuzrifar as its new vet, replacing Dr Steven, who has now returned to Bali. Being "thrown in at the deep end" is certainly how the first week has been for Dr Dimas! Last weekend we received reports of a wild orangutan in village forest. This was passed onto the government agency for wildlife, BKSDA SKW II Pangkalan Bun.
The orangutan was found close to oil palm, banana and rubber plantations owned by local residents. The villagers feared the orangutan would damage their crops and so BKSDA decided, in this case, to capture and move (translocate) the orangutan, to avoid any conflict arising. Dr Dimas managed to anesthetize the orangutan. After being caught the orangutan was identified as female with an estimated weight of around 25 kg. The next day after checking the orangutan was well and active she was released into the safety of the protected Lamandau Willdife Reserve.
Watch this clip to see how quickly the orangutan leaves the transport cage and disappears into the forest.
After the busy weekend with the translocation, Dr Dimas also spent time meeting and checking up on the young orangutans in our release camps. Here's a clip of young Satria playing in his night-time enclosure.
Below are some images taken from camera traps at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park. In 2017, Orangutan Foundation, awarded three research scholarships to Indonesian students. One of them is Reza Bayu Firmansyah. Reza is conducting research on the density and distribution of wild cat species to complete his Master's Degree at UGM - Gajah Mada University.
Around the Pondok Ambung Research Station area our staff and Reza think there are 3 individual clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) all from one family. A male, female and juvenile this based on their size and where they where and when they were photographed.
Clouded leopards are a threatened species and it is vital that we learn more about them. Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is located in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo and is run by the Orangutan Foundation in co-operation with Tanjung Puting National Park Authority.
“When Adib, an orphaned infant orangutan, arrived at the end of October he was afraid of climbing in the trees. Within two months he is much more confident and now seems very at home.” said Azhari Purbatrapsila, manager of the Orangutan Foundation’s Release Programme. In this blogpost, Azhari shares his observations of some of the characters in soft-release.
The Orangutan Foundation run 5 release camps within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. Here, infant orphaned orangutans undergo a soft-release process, allowing them time to learn the skills to survive in the wild.
Adib: He can climb high to the tree top. Sometime he plays with orangutans Mona and Timtom but he mainly loves to play alone since the other orangutans are bigger and stronger than him. (Watch Adib's first climb)
Mona: Mona is making great progress. Just after she moved out from her sleeping enclosure, Mona climbed a tree and straight away started bending the branches. She made a tiny nest. Not long after the nest had broken with the branches springing back to their original position. She still doesn’t have enough strength to break the branches and make a firm nest. But still, this is a really good improvement from her!
Timtom: Like Adib, Timtom likes to play alone but she will play will Mona or Adib. She plays in the lower tree branches, even though she can climb to the top. Being cautious, she never ventures far.
Boy & Nyunyu: Boy and Nyunyu are two of the biggest and strongest of the orphaned orangutans, which explains why they are best buddies. They are very active and spend almost all their time playing together so much so that it is often difficult to get them back in at night! An encouraging sign though.
Please donate to support our work helping these orangutans return to the wild. Thank you to all our members and supporters for their ongoing support.
Here is a snapshot of the Orangutan Foundation’s year in the field, thanks to our dedicated Indonesian staff. Most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support. We truly could not do, what we do, without you.
January: Miners evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and mining equipment confiscated.
February: Attempts to restore sight to blind orangutan Aan sadly fail but her story galvanises support for her cause. We continue to care for Aan to ensure she has the best quality of life possible.
March: Infant orphans, Mona (top) and Nyunyu (below), are rescued and enter our Soft Release Programme, bringing it to 10 young orangutans being cared for.
April: Orangutan Foundation, active on Earth Day, involving young Indonesian’s in cleaning up rubbish in their local environment.
May: Publication of our new photo book promotes the wonders of the orangutan’s world and raises vital funds for forest restoration.
June: A new orangutan birth in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Venty shows off her new baby, Volvo.
July: Another birth! Dedek gives birth to a healthy baby, named Dublin. Orangutans Jessica and Ketty, are released back to the wild!
August: Orangutan Foundation staff help tackle fires and stop them spreading to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
September: Orangutan Foundation Patrols in Tanjung Puting National Park remove and destroy illegal fishing traps, which also pose a threat to other wildlife species.
October: Bangkal, an ex-captive rehabilitated orangutan, reminds all who is King of Lamandau!
November: 22,000 tree saplings planted out in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2017
December: A wild female orangutan is rescued from a beach resort and translocated to the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
And to finish off our year here's Adib, the latest orphan orangutan to join us in November, making his first climb at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
“As the pictures came through on WhatsApp and I saw an image of a beach I wondered what our rescue team had been up to!” - Ashley Leiman (Orangutan Foundation director.)
A lone adult orangutan had been reported close to a beach resort where villagers were threatening to capture and harm it.
After receiving the call for help from the Wildlife Department (BKSDA SKW II), in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, our vet and rescue staff had to drive, for 5 hours, through the night, to the town of Sampit.
The team made a rescue plan and set off at 3am to where the orangutan was last seen. They found the orangutan’s nest and traces of faeces, but the orangutan was nowhere to be seen.
After 10 hours of searching, the orangutan was finally spotted in a small patch of mangrove forest. No wanting to lose her again, Orangutan Foundation’s vet had a dart gun ready.
The orangutan was successfully darted, caught and then quickly examined by the vet for injuries.
Our vet gave her another examination and confirmed she was female, healthy and in a fit condition. He gave her vitamins and worming medicine and blood samples were taken.
She was then transferred into a holding cage, for the long drive back to Pangkalan Bun, to the Wildlife Department’s head office.
Bornean orangutans are critically endangered due to the destruction and fragmentation of tropical forests. As they lose their forest home they are forced into contact with humans, often resulting in injury or death for the great ape.
We have rescued many orangutans, but this is the first time an orangutan has been rescued from a nearby beach. Luckily, for this orangutan, she was taken by boat to the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. As soon as the cage door was opened she clambered straight up the nearest tree and disappeared into the forest canopy.
The wildlife reserve, is home to an estimated 500 orangutans, and the Orangutan Foundation actively protects it with guard posts, forest patrols and conservation drones.
No sooner had our speedboat arrived at Camp Buluh when the staff came running and excitedly told us to hurry up. I knew before I reached the end of the jetty by the noise of breaking branches that something was going on in the forest ahead.
It didn’t take me long to see one huge male being pursued by another, both cheek padded. The assistants told me that they were Yoko, who was often seen around Camp Buluh, and Darwin, who hadn’t been seen for a number of years.
The orangutans were face-to-face in open combat. They would grapple one another, no doubt inflicting some injuries. This would last for a number of minutes until one would go further into the forest and there would be a lull in the confrontation.
There were times when both came down to the ground, one aggressively pursuing the other, before going back up into the trees. What was interesting was that during the conflict they would occasionally stop to rest, so obviously this activity takes a lot of energy.
Long calls and branch cracking perforated the performance. This encounter went on for over two hours before Darwin, realising Yoko had the upper hand, made his way further into the forest and was not followed. That’s what I love being in the field, it’s never boring, it’s not every day one sees such excitement.
Become a Guardian of Lamandau today and help us protect the home of Yoko, Darwin and over 500 other critically endangered orangutans. Click here to find out more.
From 28th November until 5th December you can DOUBLE your donation through the Big Give Christmas Challenge, at no extra cost to yourself. Click here to donate and double your impact to support our work.
This year our we are raising funds to inspire Borneo’s future conservationists. In this clip Arie, Research Manager of Pondok Ambung, our tropical forest research station in Tanjung Puting National Park, explains why it is important.
We use camera traps to monitor the wildlife in the forests surrounding Pondok Ambung. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film!
To protect Indonesia’s biodiversity, future conservationists need to be encouraged and supported.
Our research station is a base from where Indonesian students and international scientists can conduct research. Take a virtual tour below:
Please help us to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.