Tag Archives: palm oil

Injured orangutan rescued from oil palm plantation

Here is an update from our vet, Dr Wawan, on a young orangutan rescued in April.  Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation’s director, returned from a visit to Indonesia last week. Ashley managed to get some video footage, of the orangutan having her head stitched, during her visit to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo). We will share this with you shortly but for now, over to Wawan, who has written this post.

‘Melan, she is an orangutan that caught by villagers in an oil palm plantation area in Natai Raya village, close to the town of Pangkalan bun, Kalimantan Tengah Province. BKSDA (Conservation and Natural Resources Authority) rescued her from the village in with the Orangutan Foundation’s help.

Unfortunately she have a big wound in her head, like she has been sliced by knife or any other sharp object. We could see her skull because the wound is wide open, very pity little Orangutan. She is maybe 3 years old female orangutan.

I decide to clean and stitch the wound. I give her anaesthetic and I try to clean the wound with an Iodine solution and make it clearer from her hairs. After 30 minutes she woke up very suddenly. She is put in her cage at BKSDA office. I see the stitching is good enough and I give suggestion to keep watching on her whether she will scratch and or pull the stitches.


For a moment she is looks good by not scratch it hard, maybe just a gently touching, and some time she use leaves to cover her head to avoid flies come over. I think it is good and hope she will get well by a week.

Then 8 days after the stitching I saw unexpected thing!

Trying to prise the skin together on a head wound on a young orangutan

The wound become wide open again and wider than before I think. She is in the cage with another Orangutan, I see they were happy keep playing and playing. I suspect because of their playing intensity, they shouldn’t put in the cage together. BKSDA decide to move Melan to Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Camp JL. The following day I re-stitched her wound once she was at Camp JL.

I gave her another anaesthetic but his time is was harder as the skin was stronger now and its very hard to pull. But I have one good assistant to help and he keep pulling the skin while I was stitching. That second stitching took 30 minute but looks better and also I give such strong glue with the stitching to make the skin stay together.

Get well soon Melan…We will keep you updated with her progress,

Wawan (Bambang Setyawan)

Orangutan Foundation Vet

Please consider making a donation and support our essential work. Thank you.

Spare a few minutes to help save habitat of critically endangered great ape

Please sign this petition to the Indonesian President to halt the destuction of the Tripa Swamps, home to a few hundred critically endangered orangutans.

Press release from “Coalition to save the Tripa peat swamps”

Increase in fires burning in Tripa highlight Indonesian Government failing to cease deforestation; orangutan population doomed unless illegal activities halted immediately.

Tripa aerial flyover June 27 2012, 2pm

Another massive wave of fires currently sweeping across the Tripa peat swamp forests has highlighted the accelerating destruction and ongoing disregard of Indonesian National Law by palm oil companies inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem, despite a high level National Investigation launched months ago, which is yet to report on findings.

A recent spike in the number of fires was recorded by satellites monitoring fire hotspot activity in Sumatra, and confirmed by field staff yesterday who filmed and photographed numerous fires burning in the palm oil concessions operating right across in Tripa.

The five companies at present actively operating in Tripa have responded to the increased media scrutiny and current investigation by increasing security on their plantations. Some are even being guarded by military and police personnel stationed along access routes while illegally lit fires burn inside.

“The ongoing destructive activities of these companies during the investigation indicates their complete disregard for Indonesian law and the authority of the ongoing investigation, and the government is allowing this to happen.” Stated Kamaruddin, lawyer for the Tripa community.

“A direct Presidential Instruction is urgently required to bring an immediate halt to the rampant and illegal destruction of Tripa, not a speech telling the world deforestation is a thing of the past.” Kamaruddin added.

“There is no doubt that each of these companies is breaking several laws. Whilst we realize, and very much appreciate and support the investigation going on (by the Department of Environment), it’s proving to be too little too late. These companies simply have to be ordered to stop immediately, and that order to be strictly enforced, otherwise the Peat Forests and inhabitants of Tripa will be lost forever”, he added.

One of the five companies operating in Tripa, PT. Kallista Alam, was challenged in court and its concession area recently reinstated as off limits to deforestation and degradation in the 2nd revision of Moratorium Map on May 25th, 2012. This particular concession has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle as it clearly contravenes National Spatial Law No 26/2007 and Government Regulation 26/2008, since it was granted inside the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area for environmental protection, in which no concessions can be granted that damage the environmental protection function of the ecosystem, and in which all activities that do damage the ecosystem must be halted, and damaged areas restored.

Fires continued to rage late yesterday in the northern stretches of the PT Kallista Alam concession. Likewise, numerous obviously deliberately set fires were also observed in the concessions of PT. Surya Panen Subur 2, PT. Cemerlang Abadi, PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur , PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari and an area known as the PT Patriot Guna Sakti Abadi concession, even though the latter was never formally granted.

“The situation is indeed extremely dire” reports Dr Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. “Every time I have visited Tripa in the last 12 months I have found several orangutans, hanging on for their very survival, right at the forest edge. Its very easy to find them and we have already evacuated a few lucky ones to safer areas. But when you see the scale and speed of the current wave of destruction and the condition of the remaining forests, there can be no doubt whatsoever that many have already died in Tripa due to the fires themselves, or due to starvation as a result of the loss of their habitat and food resources”, he explained.

The Tripa peat swamp forests have received considerable international attention, much of it focusing on the fact that the burning of Tripa’s peat swamp forests made a mockery of a 1 billion USD agreement between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as the REDD deal, since the peat alone in Tripa sequesters huge amount of carbon that is being released into the atmosphere even now .

Tripa was also high on the agenda at the first meeting between the newly inaugurated Governor of Aceh and the European Union, just a few days ago. Furthermore, on June 13th at a global policy address on the future of Indonesia’s forests, ahead of Rio+20 summit, at CIFOR, President SBY himself proclaimed that “deforestation is a thing of the past” and “Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster.  That’s why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry.”

Yet the ongoing destruction witnessed by the coalition team in recent days is a clear indication that these are simply empty words, and that Indonesia is giving no reasons for its international commitments to be taken as anything more than mere rhetoric.

Dr Singleton also pointed out, “There is still a decent orangutan population in Tripa, however hard and fast it is being extinguished, and there are also large tracts of land that have been cleared of forests but never used. If these companies were immediately instructed to stop all their destructive operations while the legal investigation process continues, and then removed, ideally with prosecutions and appropriate punishment, Tripa, its orangutan population, and many of the contributions it once made to local community livelihoods could still be restored.”

“But without an immediate halt it will all be lost, to the ultimate benefit of only a handful of already incredibly rich people based elsewhere. This whole thing makes absolutely no sense at all, not environmentally nor even economically. It is simply greed, on a massive scale. A simply staggering scale in fact.” Stressed Dr. Ian Singleton. 

Notes for Editors:

Further Hi-res photos available on www.endoftheicons.wordpress.com

Please find map below with satellite monitored fires from the period 17/06/12 – 26/06/12 new data will become available over the coming days

For Further Press inquiries, Please Contact:


Kamaruddin (Bahasa Indonesian Only)

Tripa Community Lawyer



Dr Ian Singleton

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Mobile: +62811650491


Also, for further media statement, please contact:


Saud Usman Nasution

Spokesperson for Indonesian National Police

+62 811 979 2222


PT. Kallista Alam

  • Komp. Taman Setiabudi Indah II, blok V (ruko) No. 11-14, Medan 20133 Phone: 061 – 8216541

Fax: 061 – 8216532

  • Jl.Cycas II Blok UU, No.55 Taman Setia Budi Indah, Medan, North Sumatera

Phone: 061-800200, 812380

Fax: 021-812380


PT. Surya Panen Subur 2

  • Jl.Pulo Ayang raya,Blok OR Kav.1 Kawasan industri Pulogadung Jakarta13930

Phone: (021)4616555

Fax: (021)4616550


PT. Cemerlang Abadi

  • Central Plaza, 3rd Floor, Jl.Jend.Sudirman Kav.47 Jakarta 12930

Phone: 021-5255414,5255413

Fax: 021-520748


PT. Dua Perkasa Lestari

  • Rasuna Office Park ZO 10-11 Rasuna Epicentrum, Jakarta

Phone: 021-83703232, 031-5925239

Fax: 021-83704488, 031-5925387


PT. Gelora Sawita Makmur

  • LENDMARK Centre,Tower A, 8th floor,Jl. Jend sudirman No.1 Jakarta 12910

Phone: (021)5712790, 5712853

Fax: (021)5712716

Young orangutan rescued

Meet Sampito, a male orangutan who recently arrived at Camp JL, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Borneo.

Sampito, 3 year old male orangutan at BKSDA eating rambutan

Sampito, 3 year old male orangutan at BKSDA eating rambutan

Sampito is thought to be about 3 years old and was rescued by the Indonesian Government’s Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA SKW II) from a village near the town of Sampit.  Sampito’s mother was most likely killed as their forest habitat was cleared to make way for oil palm plantations or because she was considered an agricultural pest.

Dr Fikri with Sampito on speedboat to the reserve

Dr Fikri with Sampito on speedboat to the reserve

After a few days of checkups and monitoring at the local BKSDA office in Pangkalan Bun, Sampito was taken by the Orangutan Foundation’s vet, Dr Fikri, to the Lamandau River Reserve.

Dr Fikri arrives at Camp JL with Sampito

Dr Fikri arrives at Camp JL with Sampito

Sampito peering over Dr Fikri's shoulder at his new surrounding

Sampito peering over Dr Fikri's shoulder at his new surrounding

Samput being put into his holding cage.

Sampito being put into his holding cage.

Sampito eating rambutan and bananas

Sampito eating rambutan and bananas

Sampito with peeled rambutan in his mouth

Sampito with peeled rambutan in his mouth

When Sampito reaches his ideal body weight and is considered fit and healthy by Dr Fikri he will be gradually be allowed out into the forest to play and explore.  He will be returned to the holding cage at night.  Once the Foundation staff are happy that Sampito can find enough food to eat and that can make a nest to sleep in then he will no longer return to his cage. Field staff will follow and monitor Sampito to ensure he copes with living in the wild without his mother.

We would like to thank Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild Fund for their support of our Vet Programme.

More news  to follow soon….

Thank you,

Orangutan Foundation

Infant orangutan rescued

Dr Fikri, our vet sent through this report about the rescue of an infant orangutan.

At the end of July our Reintroduction Team received a called from Pak Anton, the head of the Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources, BKSDA SKW II. He had received a request from a large oil palm concession in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) about some orangutans isolated on the plantation, which will need to be trans-located.

Based on this, a team from the Orangutan Foundation and BKSDA planned to visit the plantation which is owned by Borneo Citra Indah.

Infant orphaned orangutan at an oil palm plantation

Infant orphaned orangutan at an oil palm plantation

Before leaving for the plantation, a ranger from Tanjung Puting National Park informed us about an infant orangutan, approximately one year old, on the plantation but in a different area.  According to the plantation staff, who had been caring for the orangutan for two days, it came from villagers living around the plantation. Apparently they found it without its mother.

Little orangutan Steph in the crate at the oil palm plantation mess

Little orangutan Steph in the crate at the oil palm plantation mess

BKSDA's pick-up driving through the plantation

BKSDA's pick-up driving through the plantation

After health checks at the local BKSDA facility it was decided the infant orangutan should be taken to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

Steph in boat with Dr Fikri, Orangutan Foundation vet

Steph in boat with Dr Fikri, Orangutan Foundation vet

In speedboat with Dr Fikri, Orangutan Foundation vet

In speedboat with Dr Fikri, Orangutan Foundation vet

Heading back into the forest - familiar sights, sounds and smells for Steph

Heading back into the forest - familiar sights, sounds and smells for Steph

The infant has been named Steph, after Steph Brown a long-term and commited supporter of the Orangutan Foundation. Little Steph will be cared for by our field staff at Camp Rasak. Considering Steph’s ordeal she is in good health.

Steph being offered milk at Camp Rasak

Steph being offered milk at Camp Rasak

Her weight at the end of September was 4 kg, a 1kg gain in weight since she was first found.

Please help us to safeguard this important protected area, provide care for these orangutans and ensure a future in the wild for these endangered great apes.

Thank you,

Dr Fikri and the Orangutan Foundation team

Can palm oil help Indonesia’s poor?

There has been much coverage of Indonesia’s palm oil boom over the last week in the UK press and media.  Here are some of the links.

Can palm oil help Indonesia’s poor? – This radio programme was broadcast on Radio 4 last night, but is worth listening to on iplayer if you get the chance.

Green fuels cause more harm than fossil fuels, according to report

Orangutan survival and the shopping trolley

The Orangutan Foundation prides itself on keeping to the facts and we avoid sensationalist arguments. We acknowledge there are some companies who are acting responsibly and we applaud their efforts. However, many companies aren’t and it is these and the Indonesian Government that must take action to stop the conversion of high conservation value forests into plantations.


Cathy – Orangutan Foundation UK office

Thank you for going orange for orangutans!

We have so many people to thank for joining in with this year’s Orange for Orangutan Day.  So far we have raised nearly £7,500 for our ‘Protect Me and My Tree Appeal‘ and this matches last year’s total, but the money is coming in daily so we hope to raise much more! Here are a few photos from the various orange themed events that took place. We really appreciate everyone’s efforts and their generosity.  Also, it’s not too late to help – please make a donation and help us to reach our target of £15,000. Thank you Lorraine G and Tal B for your donations.

Pam Swan organised a cappucinnos and cookies party and with her friends raised over £200.

Pam Swan -cookies and Cappuccinos

Pam even provided her dog Jake with an orange scarf so he could join in!

Pam’s orange day raffle

The raffle offered loads of prizes!

Pam’s cookies

Pam’s husband was in charge of the cappuccinos and serving the cookies (all baked with non-palm oil ingredients of course!).

Another one of our super members, Jacha, organised a dinner party for 40 people and raised over £1,000!

Jacha’s dinner party

Jacha’s dinner party with fabulous orangutan images on the walls.

Jacha’s dinner party

Orangutan Awareness: A Personal View

After my last my about the day at Camp Leakey I received a short email from the Office reminding me that I was supposed to be writing about Orangutan Awareness Week! Whoops.

Sally and the Yayorin team will be able to tell you of all the activities. I thought I would offer a simple, personnel view on why I have always supported the week.

orangutan in tree

we all need trees!

We all need trees.

We know how to save orangutans – you just stop chopping down the forest and hunting them. Leave them alone and they will be just fine. But that isn’t happening. The situation here in Borneo and in Sumatra is very bad. Just yesterday, we were told of a proposal to convert another 10,000ha (100km2) into an oil-palm plantation. Not all of that land is forest, but a lot of it is and I guarantee there are still orangutans, monkeys, hornbills and a host of other birds and smaller mammals living there.

Spot the difference

Spot the difference.

What lay behind the local government’s decision to give up more forest? There are a host of reasons but perhaps the ultimate explanation is simply that the return from logging and palm oil translates to cash whereas the returns from standing forest are often intangible. That is a balance that has to be rectified. Which is exactly why Orangutan Awareness Week is so important:

– The loss of orangutans and their habitat is irreversible.

– Consumers need to be aware of the true cost of the products they buy. The driving force behind the move towards sustainable palm oil is consumer pressure.

– National governments need to be aware of the impact of the trade decisions they make. The US is to be applauded for its recent amendment to the Lacy Act which will go a long way to stopping the import of illegally felled timber.

– Here, the local Government needs to be aware that floods which plague the riverside communities are linked to deforestation upstream.

– Farmers need to know that there are alternatives to slash and burn agriculture, that their household income can improve by better use of the land.

– There are huge ethical issues involved in the loss of orangutans as a species let alone the abhorrent killing of individuals. I feel this keenly and am sure many of you do too. However, climate change has now made the loss of their habitat an ethical issue too: tropical forests can play a significant role in mitigating against climate change. Truly, saving orangutans can now help humankind.

slash & burn

Without Orangutan Awareness Week how many people will know of the link between this smoke from forests and the rise in sea level? Without the work of groups like Yayorin how many people will learn it doesn’t have to be this way?

We all have to be involved in this and that’s why Orangutan Awareness Week is international. The bottom line is whether to destroy forests or to save them will remain a choice that many people will have a hand in making. Only with complete awareness will we all make the best choice and orangutans are the perfect flagship or ambassadors for the forest.



What we all need – forests “lungs of the planet”

There are half-a-dozen or so places, Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve among them, that are safer today than they probably have been at any time for the past thirty odd years. Saving them has been a battle and we are now working on securing the peace. We can be proud of those successes but they are not enough. Certainly, we can not be drawn into trading off a few parcels of safe forest for devastation elsewhere. As the 10,000ha mentioned above shows, the battle lines are still being drawn. That has to stop.

The battle lines

The battle lines

Male Bornean Orangutan

I was touched to see the blog by Art for Gorillas on the Wildlife Direct. ). If children in Rwanda can be galvanised to care for orangutans what can’t be done?

As always, thank you for your support,


Save The Tripa Swamps – Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Ian Singleton, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s (SOCP) Director of Conservation, has kindly written todays post for this blog to mark Orangutan Awareness Week 2008.

This last few years we, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), have been kept very busy trying to save the Tripa peat swamps on the west coast of Aceh. Our “normal” work tackles all aspects of orangutan conservation (SOCP photo gallery) in Sumatra including:-

1. Confiscation, quarantine and reintroduction of illegal pet orangutans
2. Research, surveys and monitoring of wild populations
3. Education and awareness raising
4. Habitat conservation, especially the Batang Toru Forests of North Sumatra and the remaining peat swamp forests of Aceh’s west coast.

The Tripa swamp forests probably harbored around 1,500 or more orangutans at the beginning of the 1990’s but in the years leading up to the fall of the Suharto government and the escalation of the Aceh separatist conflict much of these forests were allocated as oil palm estates. Some of these estates cleared their land, established drainage canals and even planted oil palms in parts of their concessions, but all were then left abandoned during the conflict between 1999 and 2005, during which time they became overgrown and drainage canals became blocked and stagnant.

Tripa Swamp - forest clearance (photo from SOCP)

Destruction of the Tripa Swamps (photo from SOCP)

Tripa Swamp -Digging drainage canals

Digging Drainage Canals (photo from SOCP)

Over the last year or two, however, some of them have resumed operations, meaning new forest clearance (logging, burning etc), new drainage canals, clearing some of the old oil palms and planting with new ones. Naturally, many of the activities of these estates is not consistent with existing laws. For a start, peat of greater than 3 m depth cannot legally be converted, and much of the area under these estates has been measured by SOCP and found to be up to 5 m deep or more. There is also a moratorium on all logging in Aceh, issued by the Governor in 2007, but implementation of this regulation in the field is still lacking.

Measuring depth of peat

Much of the peat due for conversion is more than 5 metres deep and stores huge amounts of carbon. (photo from SOCP)

The destruction of the Tripa peat swamps not only endangers the 250 or so orangutans still surviving there, but also has major implications for climate change and for local communities. The peat swamps store vast amounts of carbon, which will all be released to the atmosphere over the coming years if the clearance and drainage is allowed to continue. Drying of peatlands also results in subsidence of around 1 m in 20 years, extremely worrying in an area on the coast that is already only around 1 m above sea level. Given this, the development of these swamps makes no sense, not even economically.

Due to the urgency of this situation, SOCP has been working extremely hard to bring all these issues to public attention. We have been lobbying local and national governments and our education department has been focusing on the local communities in the area. The issue has already been broadcast on international TV programs and published in both national and international media. It seems now that people are beginning to take notice, but we must continue to be diligent.

For more information on this issue please visit our website and download the Tripa value report. Also see a recent article ‘Urgent Action Needed Over Sumatran Peat Forest Logging‘ in the Telegraph.

Thank you,