Second chance for blind orangutan

A blind Bornean orangutan, who was rescued from an oil-palm plantation, may have her sight restored and live in the wild again. The Orangutan Foundation have been caring for the orangutan, named Aan, since 2012 when she was found with 104 air rifle pellets in her, 37 lodged in her head. A three-hour operation removed 32 of the pellets but she was left blind which meant she couldn’t be returned to the wild.

Blind Bornean orangutan, named Aan, is currently blind in both eyes.

Blind Bornean orangutan, named Aan, is currently blind in both eyes.

An ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, visited Aan to assess the permanence of her blindness.  On examination, the ophthalmologist discovered there is a very high chance of restoring sight to one of Aan’s eyes.

 

Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan's eye Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan's eye

Ophthalmic surgeon examining Bornean orangutan’s eye

Ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, examines Aan's eye.

Ophthalmic surgeon, Claudia Hartley, examines Aan’s eye.

Claudia Hartley will return to Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, with colleagues and specialist equipment in February 2017. They will operate to remove a cataract and, if successful, Aan will be returned to the wild, despite still being blind in one eye.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan's skull, showing pellets. X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan's skull, showing pellets.

X-ray taken in 2012 of Bornean orangutan, Aan’s skull, showing pellets.

Aan is currently living in a purpose-built enclosure in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is where she will also hopefully begin her transition to living wild again.

Blind Bornean orangutan, Aan, in her enclosure, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

Blind Bornean orangutan, Aan, in her enclosure, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Borneo

The Orangutan Foundation actively protect the forests and precious wildlife within with guard posts and river patrols. This year, an extension to the Reserve was agreed by the Indonesian Government, adding an area the size of Guernsey to the protected forests. At a time when orangutans are critically endangered, due to habitat loss, this is a conservation success story.

Support the Orangutan Foundation and have your donation doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge from midday Tuesday 29 November to midday Friday 2 December https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/futurefororangutans

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

A big thank you from Borneo

Orangutan Foundation staff have sent a thank you message from Borneo to all those who helped to raise awareness and funds during Orangutan Awareness Week.

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A thank you message from Orangutan Foundation staff in Indonesia.

In particular, thank you to All Things Wild, who ran a Primate Week and hosted a talk by Cathy Smith from Orangutan Foundation. After the talk Cathy said “it was wonderful to meet people who had been out to visit or volunteer for the Orangutan Foundation in Borneo but it was also great to talk to many new and interested people, who turned out on a cold and wet November evening!”.

Rickshaw Travel helping to raise awareness and funds for orangutan Foundation.

Rickshaw Travel helping to raise awareness and funds for orangutan Foundation.

Thanks also to Rickshaw Travel for raising awareness all week and organising their own ginger bake off in aid of the Orangutan Foundation. Thanks to Sunnyside Primary School for going orange and to our dedicated member Steph Brown for her chocolate fundraiser.

The deadline has now passed for the Great Orangutan Bake Off #GOBO competition but thanks to those who entered. We will reveal the star bakers once our judges, Patrick Aryee and Ian Cumming have made their decisions!

Finally, save the dates!  29 November to 2 December. Your donations will be doubled through the Big Give Christmas Challenge and will help us to protect orangutan habitat.

Thank you!

The Situation Worsens

 

Kolam was found stranded by the roadside.

Kolam was found stranded by the roadside.

The Orangutan Foundation recently learned news of yet another orangutan found stranded with nowhere to go. Kolam, a male of around 10 years of age, is the ninth orangutan to have been found by the same stretch of road, built in the past few years to connect two towns. Before this road was built the only way to get to and from these towns was by boat, consequently people can now access areas of land they couldn’t before.

The road where many orangutans have become stranded.

The road where many orangutans have become stranded.

 

Kolam’s nest can be seen in the tree, with the road in the foreground.

Kolam’s nest can be seen in the tree, with the road in the foreground.

 The forest which once stood is being cleared and orangutans, trying to reach a fruiting tree which once grew, are finding themselves stranded, surrounded by roads and villages.

 

Orangutan Foundation staff translocated Kolam whilst sedated.

Orangutan Foundation staff translocated Kolam whilst sedated.

Blood sampling results showed the orangutan to be in good health and free from contagious diseases which meant Kolam was released back into the wild in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan.

 

Kolam has now been returned to the forest.

Kolam has now been returned to the forest.

Dr. Ade Soeharso, our Program Manager in Indonesia congratulated the hard work of the excellent rescue team.

The rescue team.

The rescue team.

Please consider a donation to support our ever-growing need for more facilities to support rescued orangutans.

(VIDEO) Rawit’s Release

Two days ago the reintroduction team of the Orangutan Foundation successfully released another orangutan back into the forest of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where she belongs.

Found tied up in a villager’s backyard just 2 weeks ago, this 5 year old female orangutan known as Rawit is now happily living back in the forest. A previously reintroduced female has taken her under her wing. Visit our blog for the story of her release.

We thank wildlife photographer and Orangutan Foundation supporter Ian Wood for documenting her release. For more information on Ian’s work visit his website http://www.agoodplace.co.uk

The Story of Rawit

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Rawit was found bound tightly to a tree.

Once again we are seeing what happens to orangutans when they are stranded in pockets of forest with oil-palm on one side and villages on the other. On 18th October, a female orangutan of around 4-5 years of age was rescued in Central Kalimantan. This is the story of Rawit, as sent by our vet just a few days ago.

BKSDA (Indonesian Nature Conservation Agency) staff received news from local police that villagers had a young orangutan in their possession that they wished to surrender.

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Foundation staff collaborated with staff from BKSDA and Indonesian conservation organisation Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) to rescue the orangutan, named Rawit.

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Confiscation of Rawit

 

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Members of BKSDA, COP and local police carried out the confiscation.

When the team arrived to confiscate Rawit, it was noticed immediately that her limbs were very swollen, especially her left wrist, as a result of being tied up.

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Rawit’s limbs were swollen from ropes used to tie her to a tree.

 

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Rawit in transit during the rescue.

Shortly after the rescue, Rawit was placed in the Foundation’s care. After a couple of days of being cared for by our staff, the swelling was significantly reduced and Rawit was able to grasp the side of her cage which she couldn’t before.

 

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Foundation vet carrying out health checks on Rawit.

 

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Rawit is now being cared for by the Orangutan Foundation.

 

Rawit has now joined our soft-release programme within the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve where staff will continue to monitor and support her progress until she is considered ready for release.

To help us provide Rawit and other orangutans on our soft-release programme with the very best care, please consider adopting an orangutan. All proceeds go directly towards supporting the Foundation’s soft-release programme.

A Race for Freedom

We recently received news from the field of a rescue which did not go as planned, but nevertheless resulted in success.

Last week, Orangutan Foundation staff received reports from the local village of Pangkalan Lima of a sun bear trapped in a villager’s well. The smallest of the world’s eight living bear species, the Malayan sun bear?is also the least studied, with little known about its biology or range.

The sun bear was trapped in a well.

The sun bear was trapped in a well.

Our vet first anaesthetised the bear in order for staff to be able to safely remove the bear without injury to either party. A net was used to lift the bear up from the well.

OF staff used a net to lift the bear out of the well

OF staff used a net to lift the bear out of the well

The Foundation vet took blood samples were taken to test for diseases which may have left the bear vulnerable following release. Test results later showed the bear to be in good health.

When managing the rescue and translocation of wild animals there is always a degree of unpredictability as to how the animal itself will react. The bear was placed within a cage whilst still sedated ready for translocation into the forest nearby.

The bear was placed in a cage until release

The bear was placed in a cage whilst sedated.

But after two hours, staff found the bear had escaped! It took a further two hours to successfully recapture the bear from BKSDA grounds, where it was swiftly moved to a stronger cage until its release.

Later that evening it was further transferred to a safer cage overnight, as staff were still worried he could bite his way through the second cage. The bear was clearly very wild and needed to return to the forest, and staff successfully released it the next day in camp Siswoyo in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

OF staff raise the door of the cage at the moment of release.

OF staff raise the door of the cage at the moment of release.

Foundation staff are encountering a rise in the number of animals in need of translocation as they come in increasing contact with growing human settlements. Make a donation to ensure the Foundation can continue to keep the surrounding protected areas free from human development so that animals we rescue such as this sun bear have forest to return to.

The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release.

The sun bear disappeared into the forest immediately following release.

Herni – another orangutan rescued and released.

We have just received a report from our reintroduction manager, Azhari, about a recently rescued orangutan.

Herni

Herni is a young female orangutan with a tremendous wild spirit. She was handed over to the Indonesian authorities by a local community, near Sampit (Indonesian Borneo), at the end of June.  Herni was taken to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, an area which the Orangutan Foundation actively protect with guard posts and patrols.  For three weeks Herni was looked after at Camp Siswoyo, one of six orangutan release camps, in the Reserve.

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Camp staff report that she doesn’t make the tidiest nests to sleep in and sometimes she adds branches to old nests to fix them and make them stronger. As you would expect from an orangutan, she travels well through the trees rarely descending to the forest floor. On the 26th August, the Orangutan Foundation staff decided that Herni was ready for soft release. This means being monitored and followed by the camp staff from dawn to dusk for 20 days.  Not as easy as it sounds!

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Reports so far show that Herni is doing really well, eating the correct foods and following adult females to learn from them what foods to eat. The daily ranging that Herni is doing is between 600m and 1km. The good news is while Herni follows the other orangutans, she rarely goes down to the ground. Sometimes, the staff lost her because she likes to move in the forest canopy, just like an orangutan should, whilst the staff are having to climb over tree roots and wade through swamps. Our staff are experts in the forests and so she doesn’t get lost for long.

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Please consider making a donation to support our ongoing work protecting this important forest reserve and its precious inhabitants.

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Thank you

Orangutan Foundation

Amazing orangutans pictures…

These wonderful photos have been sent to us from the field, all taken by Foundation staff in the protected Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. These re-introduced individuals, some who were re-introduced years ago, are now well known by the Foundation staff. Many of the females have had offspring since their re-introduction to the Reserve, living in a safe and healthy environment. With this window into their world, we can see how they are getting along…

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Mother Amoi with her one year old Alex

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Swinging Alex

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It is important that Alex learns quickly. Whilst she is with her mother, Amoi, she can afford to make a few mistakes, though obviously tree-navigation won’t be a problem!

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Alex being lifted to be put on her mothers back.

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Badut with her little one BB – BB is already ten months old!

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BB ; showing off the hair that is so characteristic of this red ape.

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Alex learning with mother Amoi. As she’s a year old, Alex is starting to learn which foods are good to eat!

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Luxi and with her little Luna. Although smaller, Luna is about the same age as Alex at one year old.

 

Camera trapping to save species

The Orangutan Foundation are proud to be partners of a groundbreaking Camera Trapping Project with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) – allowing us to document animals that have never been seen before in the remote and highly diverse area of Belantikan Hulu. Here, Susan Cheyne, co-coordinator of the project, tells us about the initial results…

Check out the stunning footage we got; sun bears here, an orangutan here and a pangolin here.

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

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Orangutan on the ground with offspring

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Confirmed sightings of Clouded Leopards

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

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

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Banteng – ungulate of the forest

Sambar deer Belantikan (26)

Sambar deer – another ungulate of the forest

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

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

Red langur Belantikan (1)

Red langur

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

Sun bear Belantikan (1)

Sun bears picnic?

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

Yellow-throated marten Belantikan (3)

Yellow-throated marten running speedily!

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

Pangolin Belantikan

The illusive and truly amazing Pangolin

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

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

More orangutan rescues, ensuring wild individuals stay wild!

Last July, the Orangutan Foundation team were called to a local palm oil plantation by the owner of the land to relocate an orangutan that had been seen in the area. The farmer wanted the orangutan removed to protect the quality of the crop and near by villages. Additionally, orangutans can be tempted into the nearby community and plantations by palm fruit as well as the more popular pineapples, grown in the village gardens.

Find out more about the importance of translocation on our website…

Less than an hour after receiving reports on the orangutan’s location… “the team arrived at the scene, and immediately followed the orangutan.” Dr Wawan tells us… “Due to the thick forest and tall shrubs, plus the swampy location, this is enough to cause the team a little trouble.”

The individual a few hours before release…

They were pursuing the individual until after sunset, and finally around 7pm the orangutan was darted and taken to the BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun were it was given a check up. The individual was a male around 9-11 years old estimated from the dental work… “From his physical condition looks healthy, still very wild, in a healthy condition and had good blood circulation and health.”  Having come straight from the wild and as it was in such good health, the Foundation’s vet recommended a hard release very soon.

The Orangutan Foundation has been supporting the orangutan reintroduction programme in the protected Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve since 2000. It is one of the few places in Indonesia where translocated and rescued orangutans can be released into a protected area.

The orangutan was successfully released in the area between Camp Gemini and Camp Siswoyo on the 17th – just last Friday! This site was chosen because the water level of the river is still very high, allowing the boat to access good release points. Dr Wawan was also able to put together some footage taken – watch a vital insight into our orangutan translocation work by clicking here ; “A ‘hard’ release on the 17th of July” (click this link to download short film here!).