Tag Archives: conservation

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

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 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.


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!


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.


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


Thank you

Orangutan Foundation

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

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

Gagah – wild male orangutan rescued and released. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

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

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

Examination of Gagah by Orangutan Foundation vet, Dr Fikri – photo by Orangutan Foundation

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

Transferring Gagah’s cage from speedboat to the Reserve. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

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

Gagah released and running for the nearest tree. Photo by Orangutan Foundation
Male orangutan Gagah disappearing into the forest. Photo by Orangutan Foundation

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

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

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



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.

Orangutans and Food – Blog Action Day 2011

Today is Blog Action Day 2011 and the theme is food.  So what does food have to do with orangutans? Quite a lot.   Our production of food, to feed a growing human population, has a huge impact on tropical forests, biodiversity and also on the great red ape.

Our last post told about an infant orangutan that was rescued from an oil palm plantation.  These subjects, palm oil and orangutans, seem to go hand in hand now days.  The issue is highly sensitive, emotive and complicated.  Palm oil, which is extracted from the oil palm kernel, is used as a fuel or is a common ingredient in soaps, candles and numerous cosmetic products. It is also found in many different processed foods.  For example, in Europe, it is found in up to half of packaged food products.

The balance between the need to feed our planet’s increasing human population (Indonesia is already well past the 230 million mark, China and India, both major importers of palm oil, have a combined human population of over 2.5 billion) and the need to safeguard the carbon-rich lowland forests of Indonesia and Malaysia (the two countries which produce the most palm oil) is a huge challenge. But it is one we must tackle if there is to be a future for orangutans, forests and people.

The problem can feel overwhelming. But in order to make progress it has to be looked at properly,  broken down and dealt with piece by piece. For example, a small yet effective initiative that the Orangutan Foundation support is the promotion of small-scale agro-forestry by  an Indonesian organisation, Yayorin.    By encouraging local farmers to adopt a sustainable, organic way of farming, as oppose to traditional  forest clearance by slash and burn or instead of farmers selling their land to an oil palm concession, forest loss has been reduced and orangutan habitat saved.

Consumers can also play their part by choosing which products they buy.  For example, avoiding those with palm oil or only buying if the the palm oil contained within is certified as sustainable.  A recent campaign we were involved with saw the European Parliament vote in favour of compulsory labelling of palm oil in food products in Europe.  This now allows consumer choice but will also help drive demand for certified sustainable palm oil.

Small-scale agro-forestry and wise consumerism are small but important steps being taken to address the problem.

Find out more about our work at www.orangutan.org.uk

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

Comings and goings in Tanjung Puting National Park

In July, we said goodbye to Devis, our Tropical Forest Research Station Manager. Devis had worked for us for five years and though he will be greatly missed we know Pondok Ambung will remain in good hands.

Devis hug-farewell low res

Devis in the middle being hugged by Pak Hudi, our Programme Co-ordinator

Arif the Candidate of PA TFRS manager field visit to Pondok Ambung

Arif (in green t-shirt), our new Manager of Pondok Ambung

We are delighted to welcome Arif Nugroho.  An avid birdwatcher and nature lover – Arif has so far seen a Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), Western tarsier (Tarsius bancanus)…



…as well as the many of the beautiful bird species found in the park.

Red-headed tailorbird (Ashy Tailorbird)

Red-headed tailorbird (Ashy Tailorbird)

White rumped Shama

White rumped Shama

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Brown-throated Sunbird (Plain-throated)

Brown-throated Sunbird (Plain-throated)

Since his arrival in August, Arif has given the field station and its klotok (long-boat) a fresh look, repairing rotten boards and adding a new lick of paint. Though the bad news is the klotok only has about 6 month of life left in it, at the most!

Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is a joint collaboration between the Tanjung Puting National Park Authority and the Orangutan Foundation. Researchers or Universities in interested in studying here should contact the Orangutan Foundation.

Don’t miss Hope4apes

Ian Redmond OBE, Chairman of the Ape Alliance, delivered an open letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg earlier this week.  The letter urges Cameron and Clegg to ensure necessary measures for the mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) are finalised at the UN climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico.

apes outside Downing St

Above and below, Nick, the Orangutan Foundation’s mascot, helps to deliver a letter to the Prime Minister with two other apes a gorilla and human, Ian Redmond   – Photo by Nico Dattani

Apes giving letter to PM

In freezing weather Ian Redmond arrived outside Number 10, with volunteers dressed as an orangutan and gorilla, traveling on i-Scoot electric scooters to demonstrate that environmentally friendly, sustainable personal transportation is a part of the solution.

Don’t missed the Hope 4 Apes event, on Monday 6th December, at The Lyceum.  Ian Redmond will speak alongside Sir David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall DBE, Chanee (Aurélien Brulé), Dr Birute Galdikas and Dr Jo Thompson. All ape species being discussed are either endangered or critically endangered. Funds raised will support ape conservation.

Hope 4 Apes takes place at The Lyceum, Wellington Street, London, on Monday 6th December at 7pm. Tickets can be booked at the theatre (box office 0844 412 1742) or online at www.4apes.com/hope/

Read an interview with David Attenborough and Jane Goodall in the Telegraph.

An adventure of a lifetime


18th September – 30th October


 This programme offers volunteers a unique opportunity to visit the remote area of Danau Sentarum National Park (DSNP). DSNP is a wetland of interconnected lakes surrounded by peat swamp forest in the upper Kapuas river basin, the most threatened habitat remaining for orangutans in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan). The Sentarum lakes and surrounding peat swamp wetlands are unique in Kalimantan, as they are Borneo’s oldest inland peat swamps at 12,000 years old. This really is the heart of Borneo. Threats in the area are the rapid conversion of orangutan habitat to oil palm plantations, as well as hunting, forest fires and illegal logging.

This project will focus on constructing a guard post to protect critical areas inside the park. There will be chiseling, cementing, sawing, nailing and hammering, plus some digging, so this is no mean feat but crucial to ensure orangutans can have a life in the wild where they belong.

The situation facing orangutans in the wild is critical. All populations are under threat from habitat loss caused by conversion of tropical forest to commercial plantations, primarily oil palm, plus illegal logging and mining.

 Working as part of a team of up to 12 volunteers, this 6-week programme gives unrivalled experience of essential conservation work in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Our programme promises exciting opportunities for adventurous individuals to participate in conservation fieldwork that really makes a difference.

Only 3 spaces left! For more information please contact Cat Gibbons at the Orangutan Foundation on 020 7724 2912 or email [email protected]

Participants must be over 18 years old.