Category Archives: Other wildlife

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.

Birds and biodiversity for the Orangutan Foundation team!

The core of the Orangutan Foundation’s work lies in habitat protection.

One way that the Orangutan Foundation are currently protecting orangutan habitat is via supporting guard posts. Guard posts located in vulnerable areas, from which the Foundation’s staff patrol the near by area for any illegal activities or unregulated human presence. The Orangutan Foundation currently supports two guard posts within the Tanjung Puting National Park and four guard posts within the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

The Danau Burung lake

The large Lamandau reserve not only protects the area in general but also specific ecological and environmental features within the area. One particular guard post – named Danau Burung, is in a very remote area. Our staff sometimes then travel even further – another 5km by motorbike and 3km walking to reach a specific, important location – the lake “Danau Burung” or literally “Lake bird”! The guard post took its name from this important ecological site – here we learn more about why sites like this are so important…


The Danau Burung Guard post

Lakes such as this are vital for the surrounding wildlife, offering an oasis in a very variable habitat. The lake is an important rest site for birds during their long annual migrations. OF’s team recently traveled from the guard post to check up on the lake. When they finally arrived at the lake, a fantastic site awaited them.




Lakes such as this are vital for the surrounding wildlife, offering an oasis in a very variable habitat. The lake is an important rest site for birds during their long annual migrations. OF’s team recently travelled from the guard post to check up on the lake. When they finally arrived at the lake, a fantastic site awaited them. These curious and dubious birds are great egrets- Egretta alba. The nest has three fast growing chicks and the two parents are still hanging around. 

The Great Egret is partially migratory, with birds in the north moving south to avoid cold winters. The species breeds in colonies and prefers to breed in trees which are close to large lakes that have reed beds or inside extensive wetlands. Evidently, this family are using theDanauBurungLakeas it is perfectly suited to their ecology. It’s fantastic for the Foundation to see bird species such as these up close, especially when it gives an insight into their breeding behaviour. These photos were taken in May this year, giving a good reference point for the seasonality of this species migration and breeding.

When the newborns were first found, they were still pristine white eggs. The fact that a mating adult pair use this lake as a nesting site reinforces how pristine and protected this area is – they feel safe enough to nest there. The Great Egret feeds in shallow water or on land, feeding on fish, frogs, small mammals, and the odd small reptiles and insects if needed.

Now the eggs have hatched and the chicks grown through a pink, bald stage into a white fluffy stage – we hope to see more of these individuals as they grown and prepare to fly the nest!

Now white and fluffy…

… previously they were more vulnerable.

Birding in Borneo

This wonderful photo was taken by Arif, the manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, which is run by the Orangutan Foundation in cooperation with the head of Tanjung Puting National Park, (Indonesian Borneo).

Black Naped Monarch Flycatcher in nest taken at Pondok Ambung

The bird in the nest is the Black Naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea. It is a small species of flycatcher and the female is different in having a brown back.

The park authorities have invited stakeholders to work together to produce a book on the bird species found in the Park. The whole project will be a joint effort, from collecting photos to designing the layout. Arif attended the first meeting to share ideas and discuss the book’s content.

In 2009, we gave a research grant to Harri Purnomo (Bogor Agriculture University), an Indonesian student, whose study of the diversity of birds at Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, found 107 species. It is thought that over 200 bird species are found within the Park. We will be helping to identify the different species of birds in photographs that are to be included in the book. Watch this space for news on the book.

Steppes Discovery are running Orangutan Conservation Tours to the National Park, which includes a visit to the Pondok Ambung Research Station. For more details about this once-in-a-lifetime trip click here.

Belantikan’s big ape count

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

Bornean orangutan by Ian Wood.

Bornean orangutan by Ian Wood.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin (Belantikan Conservation Programme)


Clouded leopard cub back in his natural habitat

Last month we blogged about a clouded leopard cub that was rescued at the end of April.

We are happy to tell you he is doing very well.  It was touch and go when he was first rescued and we thought he had a problem with his hind legs.  The leopard, who is now about 4 months old,  is healthy, active and playful and has put on a kilo since he was found.  The villagers, who discovered the cub named him Bombom and we have kept that name as it seems to suit him.

Pak Tigor, the manager of our activities in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, arranged to have a temporary enclosure built for the cub.  It is at Camp Gemini where we also have a small vet clinic.

Above and below – Bombom, being transferred to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve by speedboat

The enclosure not only gives him space to play but also allows him to get re-united with his natural surroundings. As soon as Bombom was in his enclosure he ran about and climbed all over it. Clouded leopards are thought to be predominantly nocturnal and so a member of the camp’s staff has been assigned to keep an eye on him at night.

Photos above and below – Bombom in his new temporary enclosure




Photo above – a playful Bombom

We hope to bring you more news on Bombom soon but in the meantime please consider a donation to support our vital work in Borneo.

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation





Update on clouded leopard

Quick update on the baby clouded  leopard that was rescued a few weeks ago. Our vet, Dr Fikri, is currently keeping it in his house with him being the only human that the leopard has contact with.

The cub is very healthy, its hind legs have fully recovered and it always wants to play! A simple enclosure is being built for the leopard at Camp Gemini in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and once it is finished the cub will be moved there.

Hopefully more news and photos to follow soon.

Thank you for your support,

Orangutan Foundation


Sunda clouded leopard cub rescued

On Saturday April 28, we received information from our partners, Yayorin, that there was a baby Bornean clouded leopard,  or Sunda clouded leopard as it is now known (Neofelis diardi), which had been hit by a car in the village of Bayat, district of Belantikan Raya, Lamandau regency in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

The Orangutan Foundation team left the port town of Pangkalan Bun late morning and arrived at the village of Bayat four hours later. After some discussion with the villagers we saw the leopard cub which was being stored in a cardboard box and was silent and motionless.

 Dr Fikri, the Orangutan Foundation’s vet, examining the cub being held by villagers

Information obtained from the villagers was that leopard cub was found at night on the road leading to the iron ore mining site.  They saw the mother clouded leopard walking across the road carrying her cub in her mouth.  When the iron ore vehicles passed they must have startled the mother who dropped her cub and ran away.  It is thought that the vehicle hit the cub, though very lightly.  The iron ore mining vehicles were heading to the port of Pangkalan Bun.

The people of Bayat village had been looking after the cub for 2 days before we arrived.

Orangutan Foundation vet with the cub

Baby clouded leopard weak and silent

Cub not able to walk


The good news is that the cub is progressing well and is in pretty good health. Initially it was always unsteady when standing and its walking wasn’t normal.  It had problems with both hind legs. This pain seems to have now gone and its walking is normal and sometimes it even climbs the wall of its cage.

Cub alert and seems healthy


It is eating and drinking. Its current weight is ± 2 Kg. Looking at the husbandry manual on the Clouded Leopard Project website this suggests its age may be between 60 and 90 days old.  It is still very early days for the cub.  More news to follow soon…

Thank you

Orangutan Foundation

Please consider a donation to support our work by visiting our website or bid on a Gary Hodge’s print that is being auction in aid of the Foundation. Thank you!


White-rumped shama – a beautiful bird in Borneo

This post has been written by Wawan, our Finance Manager from our Indonesian office in Pangkalan Bun,  Central Kalimantan Borneo about his visit to Pondok Ambung.

Experiencing Beautiful ‘Shama’

Its  such interesting experience when you go through the deep of Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan. You can enjoy an unforgetable long river journey to reach Pondok Ambung Research station, about 30 minutes down river from Camp Leakey.

I went to Pondok Ambung Research Station by Orangutan Foundation’s Speed boat as routine duty delivering fresh logistic from Kumai market on 15 April. Staying one night just sensing to be closer to the wildlife habitat there. Butterflies, birds, squirrel, and even little dragonfly can be found easily.

One bird was my interest, I see beautiful bird having long-black tailed and white rump, orange bellied, black head and black eyes as well. Its body size maybe only same as a little coffee cup but looking a bit thin because of its long tailed and neck. It kept jumping between branches, and some times stepping to the ground. Once it jump and step on the ground getting little worm by its beak, and suddenly swallow it.  After swallow the worm, it flew to perch on little branches and singing! Such beautiful long time duration sing.

Moments were capture by my camera, I though that I got some good pictures, not bad at all before it vanish away. Unforgetable and beautiful bird, I know the name is White-rump Shama (Copsychus malabaricus) from book literature, it residence mainly eating worms but occasionally ants and other insect, very clever often immitating other bird calls. Its threated by illegal hunting for their rich chuckling songs, people using this bird for Bird singing competition, now we see it free from threaths because they living in protected area Tanjung Puting National Park.

I think this is just a little story that representing my experience to be closer to wildlife especially birds.  I hope any of you like it. Thank you  Orangutan Foundation UK and Tanjung puting National park and also thanks for Arif Nugroho the manager of Pondok Ambung Research Station.

I hope You will get more interest from this little experience, thanks.

Wawan  (Bambang Setyawan)

OF-UK Finance Manager

Want to visit Tanjung Puting National Park? Visit our

Video footage of baby freshwater crocodile

Watch this short clip of a baby tomistoma crocodile, also known as the false gharial. It was taken at Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo by Wawan, the Orangutan Foundation’s Finance Office, who was on a logistic run to the field site.  This species of fresh water crocodile is listed as endangered on the IUCN Redlist.


Orangutan Foundation

Universities interested in study at Pondok Ambung please contact Orangutan Foundation

Borneo’s Enchanting Forests

As the UN Year of the Forests 2011 draws to a close Arif Nugroho, the manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical forest Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park (Central kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo), has sent this interesting report (which is almost poetic in parts) with images about some of the rarer treasures of the rainforest. Over to Arif …….

Welcome the rainy season, welcome beautiful colorful mushrooms

At the beginning of rainy season, we felt spoilt when walking in the forest. There were many different colorful mushrooms, some with striking colors such as bright yellow or orange. They looked like little umbrellas in the ground – so beautiful.

Mushrooms found at Pondok Ambung

Mushrooms found at Pondok Ambung

Mushroom found at Pondok Ambung - Tanjung Puting National Park

Mushroom found at Pondok Ambung - Tanjung Puting National Park




While collecting data on the vegetation with Mas’ud Ashari, a student from the Forestry Faculty at Gajah Mada University, Jogjakarta we found many species of mushrooms. We couldn’t identify them but took images of them. Classification of fungi is always suffering from contradictions because there is a lack of complete knowledge about all the fungal organisms. There is little information reported about mushrooms in Borneo, especially in Pondok Ambung. So the aim of the present investigation was to identify the wild mushroom in Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station. We found at least 12 different species of wild mushrooms, even if we didn’t identify yet. (Please leave a comment if you can help!).

Frogs: Wildlife under canopy

Night tracking. Walk slowly into forest. Smelling the soil after the rain and listening to nature’s voices. So peaceful. Light your torch around you and find some eyes glowing. Yup, that is way to see a beautiful frog, wildlife under canopy.

Rough-sided Tree Frog

Rough-sided Tree Frog

Dark-eared Tree Frog

Dark-eared Tree Frog

Collet's Tree frog

Collet's Tree frog

Butterflies Covering the Ground

Tanjung Puting National Park (TNTP), has peat swamp forests and  orangutans are a key species. The National Park attracts many tourists mainly to see the orangutans. But there is still lots of other biodiversity. We  are trying to explore  and the more we do we discover awesome wildlife.

Idea Hypermnestra

Idea Hypermnestra


This month looks like a butterflies’ moon. They are so easy to find and watch. On a river bank, among the leaf litter and twigs of trees, there are  various kinds of colorful butterflies. I watched one. Flapping its wings occasionally to shift places, then pauses as if she were sipping something from the soil. I crawled over. Trying to enjoy every detail of its beauty. Wings have colorful patterns and sometimes seem complicated. Some of them show a striking hue. Others are just black and white only. But the pattern remains fascinating.

Based on my observations, the butterflies are very easily found on the edge of the river. Precisely on lands moist but still exposed to sunlight. Several others were observed at the lower canopy of trees or perched in the foliage. I also found butterflies gathered in soil doused with smelling material, like soapy water or rotten fruit.


Check my article (In Bahasa Indonesian) about butterfly of Pondok Ambung TNTP in Biodiversitas Indonesia Magazine Vol. 1 No. 2 Th. 2011. Magazine can be downloaded for free here.

Researching Western Tarsier in Pondok Ambung

Masud  Ashari,  the student from Forestry Faculty, Gajah Mada University, Jogjakarta is at Pondok Ambung to research the population and distribution of the Western Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus Horsfield, 1821) in the lowland forest habitat of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station and Tanjung Harapan, Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan.

Tarsius bancanus at pondok Ambung

Tarsius bancanus

Over 15 days he made 11 transects line and 23 plots of vegetation analysis and recorded 8 points of Tarsiers. This wasn’t actual observations but encountering their smell. Tarsiers produce a secretion from a gland aroung their genitals for marking their homerange. Each point recorded shared similar characteristics. Sapling trees up to pole size, moderate to high vegetation density, temperature between 24-27 ° C, and humidity between 60-65%. Tarsier prefer this habitat because the conditions allow for easy locomotion (leaping between treest), feeding, playing, perching to prey etc.

Thank you,


More news on orangutans later this week…

Please support our work by making a donation today via our website or by calling 0044 (0)20 7724 2912 – thank you.