Tag Archives: Rehabiliation

Progress of orphaned orangutan

Report just in from Pak Tigor, the Orangutan Foundation’s Orangutan Re-introduction Manager, about Steph the little orphan orangutan that was rescued from an oil palm plantation and taken to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.
“Steph is very healthy, energetic and  now wants to play all the time with carer.
orphan orangutan Steph playing in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

Orphan orangutan Steph playing in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve

At the end of October,  her  weight reached 5 kg. Every day activities usually start with a bath in the morning, eating and drinking and after that  Steph is taken by our field staff to play and climb trees in the forest.  And if possible they introduce natural food like young leaves or fruit.
Steph being bathed by Orangutan Foundation staff

Steph being bathed by Orangutan Foundation staff

Steph's "nest"

Steph resting

Steph in her cage.

Steph in her cage.

Orphan orangutan Steph waiting to go out into the forest

Orphan orangutan Steph waiting to go out into the forest

Sometimes when playing in the forest Steph was approached by a female orangutan (ex-captive) with infant. Upon seeing this our field staff went to leave in the hope that Steph can play with the other baby orangutan. But this wasn’t what Steph wanted as she looked scared and did not want to be approached and started Steph crying. The female orangutan also didn’t want to interfere with Steph. After this Steph was brought back to camp for a break.
When I visted Camp Rasak a few weeks ago Steph was playing on the branch of tree near the staff dining room “ruang makan”. Hongki, a male orangutan, came over and took Steph to the top of a tree and kept her until the afternoon.
Hongki, male orangutan who took Steph for the afternoon

Hongki, male orangutan who took Steph for the afternoon

Hongki then came down from the tree and allowed the Orangutan Foundation staff to take Steph back.  They checked her over to make sure she hadn’t been hurt and she was absolutely fine. It was just another experience for Steph and one which will hopefully help her as she grows up and attempts to survive in the wild.
We need your  support to ensure our vital work in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve can continue. Please donate to the Orangutan Foundation.
Thank you,

Pak Tigor – Orangutan Foundation Re-introduction Manager

Don’t forget you can make a donation through the Big Give Christmas Challenge – from 5th -9th December when your money can go twice as far. Matching funds are limited so please donate at 10am if possible.

Orangutans back to Borneo

Press Release

Wednesday 21st September 211

 Back to Borneo

 Endangered Bornean orangutans return home from Sumatra.

Two orangutans, which started their life in the wilds of Borneo, but ended up as pets in Sumatra have returned home.

Kevin and Bobby, are male Bornean orangutans. Their mothers were almost certainly killed at the time of their capture in Borneo (probably whilst their habitat was being clear-felled) and their previous “owners” obtained them in Borneo before returning home to the island of Sumatra. Fortunately for both Kevin and Bobby, they were subsequently rescued by the Indonesian government’s local Nature Conservation department (PHKA) and staff of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (implemented by the Swiss based PanEco Foundation and the Indonesian Yayasan Ecosystem Lestari and PHKA). Under Indonesian law it is illegal to keep orangutans as pets and to trade, harm or kill them. Kevin was rescued in 2006, aged a little over 2 years and Bobby in 2009 aged around 3 or 4 years old.


Bobby above and below – male Bornean orangutan

Bobby 3

Under the care of SOCP at the Batu Mbelin Orangutan Quarantine Centre near Medan, North Sumatra, both orangutans grew, gained weight and had excellent health. They were therefore very much ready for a return to a life in the wild. To do this, however, they had to be returned to the island of their birth. Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) are nowadays recognized by scientists as being two distinct and separate species. As such, Bornean orangutans must only be released on Borneo, and Sumatrans on Sumatra. Mixing the species on the two islands would be detrimental to the genetic viability of both species’ wild populations.


Kevin –  male Bornean orangutan

The Sumatran orangutan is already listed as Critically Endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the Bornean as Endangered. In fact there are estimated to be only around 50,000 Bornean orangutans left in the wild and as few as only 6,600 or so Sumatrans. The future for both is therefore already precarious enough.

For the above reasons, Dr Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation for the PanEco Foundation and head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, approached the Orangutan Foundation, a UK registered charity, to help get the two young orangutans back to where they belonged thus contributing to the long term conservation of the Bornean orangutans, “Kevin and Bobby deserve the chance to be wild orangutans once again and we have done everything we can to make sure it happens. If we can at the same time highlight the plight of orangutans on both islands and remind people that it is illegal in Indonesia to keep them as pets then that would be an added bonus.” said the British born expert.

The Orangutan Foundation’s work is focused towards Central Kalimantan, in the Indonesia part of Borneo. In collaboration with the Indonesian government’s local Nature Conservation department (PHKA), the Orangutan Foundation runs a release site for rehabilitated and trans-located wild orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.

On Saturday 17 September, the Orangutan Foundation team including their vet, Dr Fikri, flew to Medan, where the two orangutans were being kept together.  On Monday, after final checks, Kevin and Bobby began their journey home. First they flew to Jakarta, on the island of Java. Both orangutans seemed fine and not too stressed after the first flight and the Orangutan Foundation’s vet gave them some fruit. They then flew onto Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.   On arrival, back home in Borneo, both orangutans looked out curiously from their cargo crate. The Australian Orangutan Project, partners of both organisations, kindly agreed to help fund the cost of bringing the two orangutans home. 

Kevin and Bobby are currently resting and then they will undergo some additional final pre-release medical checks at a local government facility. They will then complete the final leg of their journey, by river on a longboat, to the 76,000 hectare.

Once at the reserve they will again be housed for a few more weeks in a large cage, but this time deep in the forest that they will soon be free to explore. This is to allow them to really rest up after all the travelling and to acclimatize to their new surroundings, the swamp forests of Borneo.

Their health and behaviour will continue to be closely monitored by Orangutan Foundation’s vet and once given the all clear and when the time is right, they will finally be freed and get their chance to live as wild orangutans once again. Even then, the OF team will continue to follow them and monitor their behaviour and health until such time they are confident they will survive with little or no more intervention.

The principle threat to wild orangutans on both islands is habitat loss, mostly as forests are cleared for conversion to agriculture, especially vast, monoculture oil palm plantations. Many of the orangutans in these forests die or are killed in the process. Some of the lucky ones manage to survive and end up as illegal pets. The luckiest of them all survive long enough to be confiscated and placed in a rescue centre, and are eventually returned to a life in the wild.

The general public can help support the Orangutan Foundation’s work in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve at http://www.orangutan.org.ukor 020 7724 2912.

For more information, high resolution images, or to arrange an interview,

call Cathy Smith on +44 (0)20 7724 2912 or email cathy@orangutan.org.uk

Notes to editors:

Orangutans are only found on two islands, Borneo and Sumatra and they are classified as two distinct species reflecting this geographic distribution.

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered with only about 6,600 in the wild. Bornean orangutans are endangered with only about 50,000 remaining. 

The Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Programme is a collaborative programme implemented by the Swiss based PanEco Foundation, Indonesia’s Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem) the Indonesian Government’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature

The Orangutan Foundation works in collaboration with The Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia (Ditjen PHKA).

The Orangutan Foundation is the UK representative of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

Lamandau’s orangutans – meet Amoi and her adopted son, Richard.

Amoi, female Bornean orangutan, was released into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve at Camp Siswoyo on July 14 2004. Recently Amoi is found in the vicinity of Camp Gemini, with her adopted son, Richard. Perhaps Amoi fancied a change of scenery or different companions!

Amoi has a very tame nature and when the Camp staff order her to leave camp and go to the forest, Amoi replies with a sound similar to a man crying “hink….hink…hink…”.

Bornean Orangutan Amoi and her adopted son, Richard

Amoi and her adopted son, Richard.

Last year Amoi “adopted” a three-year-old male orangutan called Richard. Richard’s mother Ruta died in February 2008. Camp staff tried to find an appropriate mother for Richard and the job fell to Amoi. Initially Amoi rejected Richard but the camp staff continued to present Richard to Amoi and eventually Amoi accepted him. Since March 2008 she has become his new mother.

Thank you,

Dr Fiqri

The Great Ape Debate

Please see below a summary of a press release by The Linnean Society of London and the World Land Trust.


On the 30th April 2009 at 18.00-19.00 British time, the World Land Trust and Linnean Society of London will host the widely anticipated ‘Great Ape Debate’. The debate will be streamed live onto the organisation’s websites allowing a huge public audience for what is expected to be a lively and informative debate.

The destruction of huge areas of orangutan habitat is now seriously threatening the species with extinction and leading conservationists in the field hold conflicting views on how best to ensure the survival of “the person of the forest”.

This debate will focus on the controversy surrounding Orangutan conservation and whether rehabilitation and reintroduction of rescued captive animals is a viable way of conserving Orangutans or would resources be better spent on the purchase, protection and recreation of their natural habitats? Experts are divided in their opinions, and this forum, consisting of conservation experts and scientists , will pool their views and open the debate to the floor in what should prove to be an intriguing and lively discussion. The issues raised will also be relevant to the conservation of other species.

The debate will be chaired by The Earl of Cranbrook, and making up the panel will be:

Dr Marc Ancrenaz – Director of Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project

Mr John A Burton, FLS – Founder and CEO of World Land Trust

Dr David J. Chivers, FLS – University Reader in Primate Biology and Conservation, Veterinary Anatomy Programme and Head Wildlife Research Group at Cambridge University.

Ms Ashley Leiman, OBE – Founder and Director of Orangutan Foundation (UK)

Mr Ian Redmond, OBE – Ambassador, UN Year of the Gorilla and Chief Consultant, GRASP – UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project.

The link for the debate is http://www.worldlandtrust.org/videos/great-ape-debate.htm or www.linnean.org.

Help Needed with Orangutan’s New Feeding Sites

Last week I asked for your help to buy a solar power set for Pondok Ambung, our research station, well I’d like to ask for it again.

New feeding 6 -mother & infant

In May I wrote about how we had changed the feeding system at Camp Siswoyo in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve (Feeding Orangutans – A New Approach). Instead of using a feeding platform as is done at all the other release camps, at Siswoyo we have hung cut-up and inside-out car tyres from trees. The orangutans’ food is then dropped into these heavy-duty “buckets”; the one tyre per orangutan system reduces competition, allows us to give an extra large portion to hungry or pregnant orangutans, or those with infants and the tyres eliminate the risk of disease transfer from the orangutans walking across a dirty feeding platform.

New feeding 1

In May, I said the system was not 100% perfect. We have tried tweaking it: some of the tyres have been lowered so the field assistants can get the food out quicker; and the tyres are now in more of a circular arrangement, rather than in a line, so the orangutans do not all congregate at the start. This week Tigor, the Lamandau Camps Manager and I reviewed the system. Our conclusion was that we should do it in the other five camps!

And that is why I am asking for your help.

We need an extra 80 tyres; for efficiency we will buy an angle grinder so we can cut up the tyres ourselves and a bore to make the drainage holes; we need steel cable to attach the tyres to the trees and step ladders. The total cost will be just over $500 (5 million Indonesian rupiah)

Thank you Mary H. for your donation of $15 on September 1st and Brigitta for your donation $20 on the 5th September- we really appreciate your support.

On a final note, I would encourage all of you to do as Sheryl suggested and sign the petition http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/anjelica_huston_video to end the use of great apes by the entertainment industry. In addition to the obvious welfare issues surrounding performing animals, I read recently “A survey conducted of visitors to Great Ape Trust and cited in Science magazine (March 14, 2008) showed that the appearance of apes in advertising and entertainment negatively influenced the general public’s perception of the conservation status of apes in the wild.”I hope you can help.

As always, I will update you as we progress and thank you in advance.