Tag Archives: Rehabilitation

Bornean orangutans back home in the forest

We have received news from Pak Tigor, our Orangutan Release Manager, that the two Bornean orangutans, Kevin and bobby, who were brought back from Sumatra last month, have been released back into their forest home.

They have been in holding cages at Camp Gemini, in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, since they arrived back in Borneo.  Last week after being closely monitored, Dr Fikri and field staff decided that they should be allowed out of their cages.  At around 16.30, an hour or so before it gets dark, the doors to Kevin and Bobby’s cages were opened.

Bobby (Bornean orangutan) staying close to his cage door

Bobby (Bornean orangutan) staying close to his cage door

Kevin immediately went onto the top of his cage, looked around taking in the situation. He eventually climbed off and gathered some branches which he took back to the top of his cage where he then made a make-shift nest.  We waited until about 18.30. Kevin stayed sleeping in his nest all night. The next day two field staff stayed close to Kevin, following him as he moved off into the forest. At the end of day he made a nest in a tree and went to sleep. He seems very at home back in the forest.

Bobby in climbing in trees after his release Bobby in climbing in trees after his release

Unlike Kevin, Bobby was more hesitant to leave his cage.  He just sat on the cage door, then climbed down to the ground and walked around the cage, back and forth for quite a while without any obvious purpose. He did try to climb into a tree, but as he did so he fell back and then returned to his cage door.

Bobby returns to the security of his cage Bobby returns to the security of his cage

The Orangutan Foundation team waited until 18:00 and decided it was better for Bobby to go back into his cage for the night because is very dangerous for orangutans to sleep on the ground due to wild boar in the surrounding forests.

The next day Bobby was taken to the feeding site, where supplementary food is offered. Bobby climbed the trees and moved between them. Bobby did eat fruit from the forest but only one type.

Bobby playing with ex-captive orangutan Amoi and her infant Bobby playing with ex-captive orangutan Amoi and her infant

He also interacted with ex-captive orangutans, Ebony a female adolescent and Mantra a female orangutan with infant, spending a long time playing. Bobby didn’t attempt to make a nest and so he returned to his cage again for the night. We will continue to take Bobby out and hope that he will eventually become fully independent.

Bobby getting used to living up in the trees Bobby getting used to living up in the trees

We will have more news on Kevin and Bobby soon and hopefully some video footage too (so long as the internet connection remains good!).

Please support our work in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve by donating today.

Thank you.

Orangutan Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Workshop

Tomorrow sees the start of a 3 day workshop on orangutan rehabilitation and reintroduction at the Bogor Agricultural University, on the island of Java, Indonesia. The workshop will be attended by all stakeholders related to orangutan conservation issues but with a particular focus on those involved with rehabilitation and reintroduction. This includes, government agencies, private sector, academics, N.G.O.’s and individuals.

Pak Hudi, (our Programme Coordinator), Pak Tigor (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager), Dr Fiqri (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) and Pak Uduk (Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Camp Coordinator) left Kalimantan today to attend on behalf of the Orangutan Foundation. They will share the Foundation’s experience of successfully reintroducing and translocating orangutans into the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. We are also sponsoring the participation of Pak Eko Novi (Head of section II of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency of Central Kalimantan) whom we work closely with in the Lamandau reserve. 

Hudi will bring news on how the workshop went. We’d like to thank Lisa B for her donation of $50 and Matthew K for your monthly donation of $35 – thank you for your continued support!

Keep sending us your comments and questions,

Cathy -Orangutan Foundation UK office 

Getting To Know Some Real Orangutan Characters!

Newman the orangutan was released at Camp Siswoyo however he currently prefers to hang around at a different camp in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Camp Gemini.

Bornean orangutan called Newman

Newman – Bornean orangutan

Newman is quite a “naughty” orangutan and camp staff have to be on their guard, especially around the door to the food supply. One morning Newman tried to open a closed door so the camp staff have affectionally nicknamed him “Kutu Camp” (in Indonesian ‘kutu’ means a fan or something you really like) for all his antics.

Currently every night, Newman sleeps around Camp Gemini, and early in the morning, he ambles after the staff for feeding. He knows that he’ll not get fed in camp, only at the feeding site. After the feeding, instead of heading off like the other orangutans, Newman then follows the staff back to camp to continue his daily routine, which includes annoying the camp staff! This is a light hearted story about one of the orangutans I have encountered so far, I hope to bring you some more soon.

Thank you,

Dr Fikri – Lamdandau Vet

Zidane, a hairier and healthier orangutan

On Sunday we were back at Camp Buluh, one of our orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where we caught up with the orangutan Zidane. He is still very thin but his hair is coming back and, most importantly, he was bright-eyed and very active.

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Zidane – a healthier looking orangutan.

He watched me wash my hands and then sidled over for a drink. A more boisterous orangutan (like Barita who was watching from a distance) would have tried to snatch the bucket himself but not Zidane, he waited for the water to be scooped out and poured into his mouth.

Stephen Brend with Zidane

Zidane (orangutan) and Stephen.

Barita - Male Bornean Orangutan

Barita – the more bositerous orangutan.

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Sheryl asked what was involved in a “weight-gain” diet. Because Zidane readily drinks milk, Dr. Fikri has bought a supply of high-protein/high-carbohydrate formula. On top of that, the staff are making sure he eats whenever he wants to and so carry extra rations just for him. The trick is in balancing the amount of nutritious formula he receives against giving him too much, which will end up acting as an appetite suppressant. It is important that he keeps on eating.

If you can help us purchase digital cameras for Mr Tigor (Orangutan Reintroduction Programme Manager) and Dr Fikri (new Lamandau vet) we would be most grateful. I simply can not get into Lamandau often enough to monitor Zidane and the other orangutans’ progress but, like I am sure you do to, I am keen to see how they are getting on.

Many thanks,


Zidane watching as we leave. All photos by Astri Siregar

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Meet our new vet for the orangutans of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Please meet Dr. Fikri, our new vet, for the orangutans in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Dr Fikri and Tigor

Mr Tigor our Orangutan Reintroduction Programme Manager, is on the left (reluctant to stand still and smile!) and Dr Fikri is on the right.

Dr Fikri is a graduate from the prestigious Bogor Agricultural Institute, Indonesia and, as part of his work experience, spent six months at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine in 2004. His last job was vaccinating poultry against bird flu. While he felt it was a necessary task (the bird flu epidemic continues here) he says he could not wait to get back to wildlife work.

Lamandau Vet Clinic

Dr Fikri’s clinic in Lamandau.

Vet Accomodation - Lamandau


With funding from the Gemini Foundation we have established a small clinic and accomodation for him at Camp Gemini (again, generously funded by the Gemini Foundation), which is the most central of our five release camps, and we are in the process of acquiring all the necessary anaesthetics and other veterinary medicines. In the meantime, Fikri is being busy getting to know the orangutans. He has put Zidane on a special weight-gain diet. Zidane’s starting weight is 28kg and we’ll let you know as he improves.

I do have a request for you though. Please could you help us raise $250 – $300 that we need to buy two robust digital cameras? Tigor and Fikri require them for identifying orangutans and taking case photos. They promise to post their pictures on Wildlife Direct!

Here’s a sample of mine from my day out with them yesterday. I have no doubt Tigor and Fikri’s pictures would be better!

Thank you.

Ex-captive orangutan, Gorzitze

Gorzitze, an orangutan in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

Ex-captive orangutan, Queen and her infant

Released orangutan, Queen and her infant in Lamandau.

The People Who Look After The Orangutans

Having told you about Zidane, I thought you might be interested to learn a little about the people who are looking after him day to day. He and twelve other orangutans live around Camp Buluh which is supported by the Australian Orangutan Project and is one of six orangutan release camps the Orangutan Foundation operates in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Six people are employed there; five field assistants and a cook. Their daily duties at Camp include preparing food and feeding the orangutans twice a day, monitoring the orangutans, keeping records, clearing trails, clearing the river and other camp tasks.

Camp Buluh, like all the other Camps, comprises a kitchen and dining hall, sleeping block and toilet/washroom. Unlike the other camps though, Camp Buluh is totally surrounded by swamps. There is no dry ground anywhere near by. This does make following the orangutans difficult and especially so last year when there was no noticeable dry-season. Water levels varied from knee to waist deep for most of the year!

Camp Buluh Staff

The team at Camp Buluh

The Field Assistants generally spend 26 days at a time at Camp. Back in November (Bringing the office to our orangutan release camps) all the staff were enrolled in the Government’s Health Insurance scheme which provides cover to both them and their families.

Huge thanks to the Camp Buluh team who do a fantastic job.

Zidane – Orangutan Back to the Forest

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that Zidane was re-release at Camp Buluh, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, on 19 January. His recovery is down to the excellent care (which included two blood transfusions) he received from the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine facility.

Zidane - male Bornean orangutan

Zidane – male orangutan re-released into Lamandau

Though Zidane appears happy to be back in the forest, he is being monitored very closely as he is still perilously thin. We obviously want to do all in our power to ensure he spends the rest of his life in the forest and so our new vet, Dr Fikri, has been tasked to develop a special dietary regime for him to ensure he gains weight. We’ll keep you updated on his progress.

Camp Buluh – Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh is one of six orangutan release camps in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Since September 2006, 13 ex-captive orangutans have been reintroduced at Camp Buluh and three wild orangutans have been translocated from vulnerable situations outside the reserve.

Omang -Adolecent Male Bornean Orangutan

Omang, one of the ex-captive adolescent male orangutans, seen regularly around Camp Buluh.

After the incident with Zidane (an update to follow soon) an orangutan holding cage has been built at Camp Buluh. This is necessary to allow the care and treatment of orangutans in Lamandau.

Camp Buluh - Orangutan Release Camp

Camp Buluh and the orangutan holding cage.

The future for the orangutans in Lamandau looks encouraging. The Forestry Department’s involvement has increased and the reserve’s protection has been strengthened. The new guard post, called “Bird Lake Post” that was constructed to prevent access to into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve via the Buluh River became operational at the end of December. In 2008, only 3 cases of illegal logging were discovered, all outside of the reserve border. This is down from 2007 when 12 cases were identified in and around the reserve.

Map Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Map showing Camp Buluh and the guard posts in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

We are extremely grateful to the Australian Orangutan Project for their continued support in Lamandau.

Out of the office and back to the forest, at last!

Stephen’s just emailed to say that today he’s heading to Camp Buluh, one of the five orangutan release camps, in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Hopefully early next week he should have some interesting stories to share. I think he’s relieved to be out of the office and back to the forest!

Thank you Matthew K for your most recent donation we really appreciate your ongoing support. People might also be interested to know that Orangutan Foundation 2009 calendars are going half price at £4.50. They are full of beautiful photos of the orangutans of Tanjung Puting National Park. To purchase a calendar please visit Orangutan Foundation online shop

2009 Orangutan Foundation Calendar

For those of you wishing to make your calendar that extra bit special then how about bidding for a unique 2009 calendar which has been signed by one of our famous supporters, Sir David Attenborough.

The calendar will go to the highest bidder on Wildlife Direct and the auction ends on Friday 13th (!). You can place your bid by leaving a comment with the bid amount on the post entitled “Orangutan Calendar Auction“.

Orangutans and Holidays

Some months ago one of our readers asked after an orangutan at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine called Roland.



Roland came to us on 28 July 2004. Today, he is a boisterous 23 kg youngster. I am sorry it has taken me so long to ‘track him down’ but every other time I have been to the Care Centre recently he has been out in the nursery forest.

This week I also caught up with Violet who continues to grow and develop with no hint of her tragic start in life.

Violet Dec 08

Violet with carer

Violet Dec 08


One of our readers, Mara, who spent some time with us earlier in the year asked me to look out for Maggie, one of her favourite orangutans. Maggie was not an orangutan I knew, but she quickly became one of my favourites too.



Zidane (see post A Very Sick Orangutan)was out in the forest. Though he is still very thin he is well on his way to making a complete recovery.

And that ended my ‘orangutan time’ for the year. I am now heading to Australia for Christmas with my family. I would like to thank you all for the support you have given us, and the interest you have shown in our work throughout the year. I wish you all very best for the festive season and every success for 2009. You’ll hear from us again early in the New Year.

Many thanks,