Tag Archives: forests

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.

Alive and Giving – invite to free event to raise funds for orangutans

Thursday, October 14, 2010 from 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM (GMT), London.

Alive & Giving is a new and innovative charity fundraising website and to celebrate the launch of AliveandGiving.com we would like to invite you and your guests to join us at our charity fundraising event, Live to Give.

Please go along and support Cool Earth who are raising funds on behalf of the Orangutan Foundation. Thank you!

 AliveandGiving.com is about encouraging considered giving. To reflect this we have invited three amazing charities, Changemakers, Cool Earth (for orangutans) and Restless Development, to pitch for funding from the audience at our launch party.
We have raised a fantastic £15,000 as match funding for these charities, so for every £10 you donate on the night, £20 will go to your chosen charity.
The event is free to attend; there will be live music and free drinks, and plenty of reasons to give!

For more info please click here…


Orangutan Adoption Diary -Brian’s future is looking Rosy

Brian Diary, October 27th 2009 by Hudi WD

I am pleased to tell you that the adoption process between the female Bornean orangutan, Rosa and the infant orangutan, Brian is going very well.

 Orangutan Adoption - Rosa and Brian

Brian was confiscated from an oil palm plantation and was taken to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve where he was introduced to adult female orangutan Rosa (see post A Wild Life). Rosa immediately took to Brian, but Brian was a little bit nervous with the whole process.

Now Brian is looking healthy, really cool and smart! He is very active to move and play inside the adoption cage (Rosa and Brian are in cage just temporarily to help the adoption process).

 Orangutans Adoption -Rosa and Brian

Some times Brian is swinging in the cage and sometimes he reaches to Rosa if he needs attention from her.

 orangutan adoption 2 - Rosa and Brian

Tigor (the Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) said Brian has the real “wild instinct” and he will grow to be a leader. Brian has started to become closer to Rosa and this was shown when Utang (staff from Camp Siswoyo) tried to hold Rosa’s hand, Brian moved and tried to pull Rosa’s hand away. 

Orangutan adoption - Rosa and Brian

He has also started to imitate Rosa’s behaviour. He is very smart and really funny when he moved and copied just like Rosa did.

orangutan adoption - Rosa and Brian interaction 

Dr Fiqri (the Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) said the adoption process was in good progress and in approximately 10 to 15 days he hopes Rosa and Brian will be returned to Camp Gemini and living free out of the cage, we hope it will be done as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Hudi WD

Programme Co-ordinator -Orangutan Foundation

Promoting Forests at Sukamara Fair, Indonesian Borneo

From the 17th to 24th October 2009, our EC-Lamandau Programme, together with the Environment Office of Sukamara (town on the Western side of Lamandau reserve), has been participating in the Sukamara Fair 2009.

Our EC-Lamandau exhibition booth really stood out. It was a cheerful display with a drawing and coloring competition for children from the ages of 5 to 11 years old. 

 Children at Sukamara Fair

Children joining in at the EC-Lamandau stand at the Sukamara Fair

We had an enthusiastic response when the orangutan and deer mascots suddenly arrived. Both mascots told stories about their life in the forest and a lively conversation arose between the mascots and the visitors, including kids! At least 600 stickers and 200 Sumpitan bulletins (local magazine published by Yayorin) were distributed to exhibition visitors and for three evenings, films on conservation education were screened.

The progamme, also called the Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP) is funded by the European Commission to maintain functioning tropical forest ecosystems in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, which support sustainable rural development. The Partnership comprises the Conservation of Nature Resources Agency of Central Borneo (BKSDA), Yayorin and the Orangutan Foundation. 

  Hope Leaves  - Sukamara Fair 

 Leaves of Hope writen by exhibition visitors

The Head of Sukamara Regency, Ahmad Dirman listened to a brief explanation about our forest protection and community outreach work that has been implemented by Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin. He also wrote on a ‘leaf of hope’ which was hung on a branch in the exhibition.

Sukamara fair

 Ahmad Dirman encouraged the people of Sukamara to support any institutions that work on forest and environment conservation. He proudly accepted a framed orangutan photo (by Brian Matthews who was awarded highly commended in BBC wildlife photographer of the year 2009) brought from London by Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation Director. 

Thank you for your interest,

Astri – Liaison Officer

Fighting Wild Fires

This is what June (Orangutan Foundation Programmes Manager) reported yesterday.

The fires are about four hours from Camp Buluh, an orangutan release camp in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and they are about 10 hectares wide. Currently there are 12 “Manggala Agni” (Forest Fire Prevention Brigade) fighting the fires since they were reported on Thursday night. There are also three teams assisting from our EC-Lamandau Programme and Pak Jakir, Patrol Manager has also been with them since Friday. They are currently using three machines to draw out water from the river to put out the fires.

Today, June is in Lamandau with the fire-fighting teams and so hopefully we’ll receive an update on the situation when she returns.

Thank you Gerhard R, Helen N, Jenny O, Brigitta S, Tal B and Matthew K for your recent donations – your support is much appreciated.



Sebangau Forest Fires Threaten Wild Orangutans

Some images sent through from Dr Suwido Limin, Director of CIMTROP, Centre for International Cooperation in the Management of Tropical Peatland. The work that Dr Suwido and his team are undertaking is very dangerous and Suwido has to provide insurance for his team (also expensive and not easy to get). His men are working away from roads and operate 24 hours a day transporting heavy equipment manually or by motor cycle to where it is needed. It is even more dangerous in the dark. As Dr.Suwido Limin reports, this is a hazardous job. “Peat fires are unique as they spread below the surface, on average 20-30cm below ground but sometimes as deep as 60cm, which makes fighting them both dangerous and unpredictable. You can put out fire in one place and then flames suddenly shoot up behind you.”

Orangutan Foundation sent out £3,000 to CIMTROP last week. Thank you to Mara, of Hong Kong based Orangutan Aid, for your offer to donate US$200 and to thank you to Orangutan Foundation ambassador and member, Helen who donated £70 towards tackling the fires through Give As You Earn.  We will keep you updated this situation.

Sebangau Forest Fires

CIMTROP team tackling the fires. Photo by CIMTROP

Fire Fighting Sebangau

Fires at Sebangau Forest, Central Kalimantan. Photo by CIMTROP

Using motorbikes to carry equipment to fires -CIMTROP

Motorbikes are needed to carry equipment and access the fires. Photo by CIMTROP

Sebangau Fires 

Photo by CIMTROP 

For more information read the press release below.


Forest fires are breaking out in the Sabangau peat-swamp forests in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, threatening the lives of the estimated 8,000 wild orangutans living here.  This is exceptionally worrying during times of extreme drought caused by El Niño. This year Borneo is once again firmly in the grip of such a drought. During previous El Niño years several hundred thousand hectares of primary rainforest burnt in this area, destroying the habitat of thousands of orangutans and other endangered plants and wildlife. According to Dr. Suwido Limin, Director of the Indonesian peatland conservation organisation CIMTROP, management of the forest by forestry companies over the last forty years has led to the loss of forest rights for local people. In order to restore the local community’s engagement with the forest, these rights need to be returned.

Dr. Limin has witnessed out of contol fires many times before and is concerned that 2009 will see a repeat. He has spent the last twenty years studying and protecting this unique ecosystem and knows very well the risks involved. “These fires have started as a result of human actions; newcomers to the area have attempted to follow traditional Dayak farming methods for land clearance but they lack the experience to control the fires they start. When peat dries out it burns very easily and at great temperatures. Once these fires take hold, they burn and burn and can be almost impossible to put out until the rains come again. In that time huge areas of forest and irreplaceable peat deposits may be lost”.

Peatland fires are not only a major threat to the natural environment and the many species that live here but also to the health of the local population due to smoke inhalation. Nationally, huge clouds of smoke are blacking out the sun, affecting air and sea traffic and potentially causing millions of dollars of lost revenue. On a global scale, they are one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to rising global temperatures and hence climate change.

To try and prevent this happening, CIMTROP run a rapid-response fire-fighting team (locally known as the Tim Serbu Api, or TSA) to tackle fires as soon as they are reported and before they get out of control. The team monitors an area of 100,000 hectares and is made up of local people who have received training and equipment from CIMTROP and are ready to be called upon when fires break out. But, as Dr. Limin reports, this is a hazardous job. “Peat fires are unique as they spread below the surface, on average 20-30cm below ground but sometimes as deep as 60cm, which makes fighting them both dangerous and unpredictable. You can put out fire in one place and then flames suddenly shoot up behind you.”

One fire hotspot is Kalampangan which borders both the NLPSF (the Natural Laboratory for Peat Swamp Forest), an international research site established by CIMTROP, and Sabangau National Park – home to the world’s largest orang-utan population. CIMTROP’s fire-fighting team have been battling fires in Kalampangan non-stop for the past ten days and will continue to monitor the fires until the rains come. Local residents report the fire took hold incredibly quickly, raging through the tinder-dry vegetation, decimating all in its path and burning down into the peat. Here orangutan sleeping nests can be seen in trees shrouded in smoke and rhinoceros hornbills fly through the haze overhead. On the ground, the TSA create fire breaks and pump water from nearby canals and bore-holes onto the fires. Bore-holes often need to be twenty meters or more deep to access sufficient water to tackle the fire, taking up to six hours and teams of three or four trained workers to dig. Extinguishing just one square metre of burning peat takes two to three hundred litres of water.

Alim, a long-term TSA team member, is enthusiastic to talk about their work and what they need. “We use water pumps and special fire-fighting hose to carry water from the water bores and canals to the burning areas. At the moment, we have twenty TSA rapid-response fire suppression team members, all fully trained specialists in fighting peat fires. They work alongside ten more people split between the River Patrol Team (Tim Patroli), which carry out daily patrols along the boundary of the NLPSF using the Sabangau river, and the TSA Ground Patrol Unit who use motorbikes to monitor the forest from the land. All our teams keep in contact with each other using two-way radios. Of course, it would be great if we could have more equipment so we can cover more ground. Ideally, I would like sixty permanent TSA members so we can set up more fire-fighting points working simultaneously in this fire hotspot while also allowing the team to get some rest! We need more water pumps, lots more hose and permanent bore-hole sites so we can channel water to burning areas more easily. Unfortunately, one of our patrol bikes was destroyed in the Kalampangan fire making patrolling much harder.”

Dr. Limin is proud of his team and their dedication in such difficult conditions. In 2006 they battled successfully for five months to save an area of pristine forest, and he expects a similar commitment this time around. But he echoes Alim’s calls for more equipment and personnel. “It is difficult to maintain funding for the TSA over the long-term because major fires occur maybe once every three or four years. We need to have the capacity to guarantee income and operational costs for the TSA and Tim Patroli and have funds permanently available for immediate use when fire hits. Disasters do not wait while mitigation strategies are discussed and put in place; they hit hard and fast, with little warning. We rely on donations, and are very grateful for the financial support we receive, but at the moment we simply don’t have the resources we need to tackle all the fires that are starting.”

Lamandau’s orangutans -a healthy growing population!

Thanks for your recent questions and sorry for the slow reponse!

News straight from the field is that Lady Di is healthy and is well enough to be released this Saturday!  I visited her last week and took these pictures.

Bornean Female Orangutan -Lady Di and baby

Borneo female orangutan -Lady Di and infant (photo:Orangutan Foundation) 

Bornean Female Orangutan 

Dr Fikri and the camp staff have taken really good care of Lady Di and while she has had to spend nights in a cage so that she doesn’t go off and cause further damage to herself, the staff let her out during the day and they keep a close watch on her! 

Regarding who is the father of Sawit’s offspring. We know that it’s a wild male, but he doesn’t stay around camp. Dr Fiqri is delighted to report that Sawit has given birth to a healthy baby girl (Sawit was more pregnant than we suspected!). Our Field Assistants are looking for name suggestions for Sawit’s new infant. It has to start with S and to be Indonesian. Please leave suggestions as a comments.



Programmes Manager

Protecting Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve’s Buffer Zone

Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP) recently helped facilitate meetings in order to increase protection to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve Buffer Zone Area.

  Meeting of BKSDA and oil palm company

 Meeting between government and oil-palm companies faciliated by Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (funded by the EU).

Finally, on July 13 2009, the Indonesian Government Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources of Central Borneo (BKSDA) and two oil palm plantation companies, which have their plantation area close to or on the border of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve area, signed the Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Agreement, witnessed by Kotawaringin Barat and Sukamara District Government. The two companies are Sungai Rangit, Co. Ltd. and Bumitama Gunajaya Abadi, (BGA) Co. Ltd. 

According to Chief of BKSDA of Central Borneo, Mr. Mega Hariyanto, the memorandum is  the first Memorandum of Understanding in Indonesia on a conservation area’s buffer zone, that has been established by government and private sector.

signing MOU buffer zone 

The companies, BGA and Sungai Rangit, are willing not to plant and do any business activities within a radius of 500 meters outside of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer area. This is also very important as the reserve is a government designated orangutan release site. 

Below is a translated quotation from a local newspaper, Borneonews, on the memorandum assignation:  

BKSDA and Company made MoU on Conservation of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve Thursday, July 23, 2009 |

‘Borneo News Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve which is situated at Kotawaringin Barat, Central Borneo is a conservation area which needs a protection. Related to its conservation, the management of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve under coordination of the Indonesian Government Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources has made a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two companies which operated side by side with Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  Namely, Bumitama Guna Jaya Abadi (BGA), Co. Ltd which is situated at Kotawaringin Barat and Sungai Rangit, Co. Ltd. which is situated at Sukamara District are the two companies.  There are six important points that concluded within the agreement. Which are: BGA and Sungai Rangit are prohibited to do land clearing for plantation or any purposes in surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  BGA and Sungai Rangit is willing not to plant and doing any business activities within radius of 500 meters outside of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer area.  Both BGA and Sungai Rangit have to cooperate and accompanied by BKSDA to prevent forest fire in surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. BGA and Sungai Rangit are obligated to make a report to BKSDA on the existence of orangutan and other protected wildlife if they were entering in plantation area.  BGA and Sungai Rangit also support BKSDA of Central Borneo socialization activity to community, and both companies should report to BKSDA of Central Borneo if there are any indication of illegal activity arround of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve appears.  Chief of BKSDA of Central Borneo Mega Harianto explained that one of reason to establish the agreement is issue on emission reduction caused by global warming that will harm environment.  “This understanding and agreement is an initial point in building socialization on environment awareness surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and both companies” Mega said.  Continued by Mega, the agreement is necessary established since management of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve has been doing more effort to handle problems within its area, compared to manage Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve natural resources it self.  

In the other side, Second Assistance Regional Secretary of Kotawaringin Barat Regency, M. Sayrifudin emphasized that rules on area are necessary built by government at province or higher level in order to keep Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve from residence.’

Thank you,


Orangutan Foundation Liaison Office

Reforesting Orangutan Wildlife Reserve

Recently I accompanied a logistic run to one of our guard posts, Pos Danau Burung (or Bird Lake Guard Post – where the the recent fires were), in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Logistics run to guard post

Getting supplies to Pos Danau Burung

We also had a surprise for them – lots of cake, from our previous meeting with government officials at nearby town of Sukamara. They were very happy with the impromptu tea!

Plant Nursery at Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Post Danau Burung also happens to be one of our plant nurseries for reforestation at the Reserve. Our Reforestation Manager, Pak Isem, recently bought more seedlings from local villagers, totalling to about 20 different indigenous species of plants, including fruiting trees that will eventually help feed the orangutans and other wildlife in Lamandau.

Nursery Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

As you can see from the photos, the seedlings are doing very well. Currently, we are waiting for the wet season so we can plant these seedlings.

As well, we do need your support to help run our various programmes in Lamandau. With only US$15, you ensure that our field assistants are well-equipped. A donation of US$30 strengthens morale in our camps, with staff uniforms. Take a look at our donation box, and see what you would like to support! Thank you very much Matthew K, Brigitta S and Tal B for your monthly donations.

Thank you,


Kampung Konservasi January Blog – Sustainable livelihoods for communities living close to areas of orangutan habitat.


One of the alternative income-generating activities that Kampung Konservasi offers the local communities is low-impact fish farming. On Kampung Konservasi ground, we have three very simple fish ponds, which are – literally – just “big holes” on the ground.

Fishpond - Kampung Konservasi

Fishpond 2 - Kampung Konservasi

Fishpond 3 - Kampung Konservasi

The three different styles of simple fishponds demonstrated by Kampung Konservasi.

Because our ground is naturally “wet” (mostly peat swamp), we do not have to do much to regulate the water flows. We just worked with the land contour and designed our ponds so that they are as low maintenance as possible. This way, local farmers can easily duplicate our methods and feel interested to try because it does not require much commitment from their part. To fortify the walls, we used simple materials such as bamboos, sand bags and polybags filled with vegetable seedlings.

We then put two species of fish in our ponds: one is nila, a consumption fish species that originally came from Africa but has become very common all over the world; another one is patin, a local Kalimantan species that has also become a very common consumption fish species. Both have been doing very well in our ponds, although our patin grow a little better and faster in semi-peat swamp water.

Fish harvesting

Encouraging community participation and the uptake of this low-impact fish farming.

Patin - common species of fish found in Kalimantan.

Patin – common species of fish found in Kalimantan, Borneo

Just recently Kampung Konservasi decided to empty its fish ponds because we wanted to fix the walls. We did not expect that there will be so much fish! In only this one harvest, we managed to sell 56 kilograms of fish to the local housewives and restaurants. In 2008 alone, our alternative fish farm produced more than 200 kilograms of fish and sold well in the local market. Once again, Kampung Konservasi have proven to the local communities that fish farming is another potential income-generating activity for this area.


Sally (Yayorin)