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It's estimated that 2,000-3,000 orangutans are lost every year

Orangutans spend most of their time in trees.

“Orangutan" comes from the Malay words "orang" (person) and "hutan" (of the forest).

Orangutans exist in the wild only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Orangutans are extremely intelligent and make their own tools.

9th OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop Wraps Up

Displaced orangutans are being rescued nearly every day

Orangutans could be the first great ape to become extinct.

Orangutan rescue centers are at near full capacity in 2017

Film: Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy


Orangutan Caring Week 2017: It’s Action Time

This week marks  the annual “Orangutan Caring Week” across the globe. 

While the Orangutan Conservancy focuses on these amazing primates 365 days a year, one special week is set aside to draw extra attention to the endangered great apes.  Throughout the week, dozens of orangutan organizations will be holding special events and creating unique awareness campaigns to share more about orangutans with people the world over. 

You can follow the proceedings online by using the #OrangutanCaringWeek on your social media pages of choice, and please take action yourself as this year’s theme is “Act Now to Preserve the Future.”   Challenge yourself to come up with one proactive approach this week to help orangutans, and let us know what your approach is and we’ll share it online with others who are doing their part as well.

The Orangutan Conservancy will be appearing at the Los Angeles Zoo on the 18th and 19th to discuss orangutans by the zoo’s impressive orangutan center and we hope you’ll stop by to say hello if you’re in the area.  If not, you can still join us right here for stories and on our Facebook page for daily fun facts about our forest friends. Let’s all do our part to spread the word about orangutans.  They’re counting on it.

posted by: Tom


Orangutan News: Twelve Orphaned Bornean Orangutans Returned to the Wild

from the Jakarta Globe

Twelve orphaned Bornean orangutans – four males and eight females – are being reintroduced into the wild at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Central Kalimantan’s Katingan district this week.

The move comes after the completion of a rehabilitation process at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) in the province.

Two of the orphans, named Nanga and Sukarama, were part of a group of 48 orangutans that were smuggled to Thailand. They were placed in the foundation’s care following their repatriation in 2006.

There are currently 71 individuals in the park after the orphans were reintroduced, the foundation said.

BOSF chief executive Jamartin Sihite explained that the rehabilitation of orphaned orangutans is a long and complicated process.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the Jakarta Globe and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom


New York Times Story: Smuggled, Beaten and Drugged: The Illicit Global Ape Trade

photo (not from this article) from the OC archives. courtesy of CITES

The sting began, as so many things do these days, on social media.

Daniel Stiles, a self-styled ape trafficking detective in Kenya, had been scouring Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp for weeks, looking for pictures of gorillas, chimps or orangutans. He was hoping to chip away at an illicit global trade that has captured or killed tens of thousands of apes and pushed some endangered species to the brink of extinction.

“The way they do business,” he said of ape traffickers, “makes the Mafia look like amateurs.”

After hundreds of searches, Mr. Stiles found an Instagram account offering dozens of rare animals for sale, including baby chimpanzees and orangutans dressed in children’s clothes. He sent an email to an address on the account — “looking for young otans” (the industry standard slang for orangutans) — and several days later received a reply.

“2 babies, 7.5k each. Special introductory price.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the New York Times and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom


Orangutan News: New Great Ape Species “Tapanuli Orangutan” Identified

Pongo tapanuliensis photo courtesy of Andrew Walmsley

A team of Indonesian and international scientists have described a new species of orangutan, in a paper published on November 2nd in the scientific journal Current Biology. The researchers demonstrate that the Tapanuli orangutan, Pongo tapanuliensis, is genetically and morphologically distinct from both Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), and is therefore a separate species.

According to the findings, the Tapanuli orangutan is in fact more closely related to the Bornean orangutan than it is to the Sumatran orangutans living further north in and around the Leuser Ecosystem, in Aceh and North Sumatra Provinces. The three orangutan species —Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli—began to diverge from their common ancestor about 3.4 million years ago.

“It is fascinating that this population of orangutans differs so much from the orangutans in the north of Sumatra, and that even in the 21st century a new species of great ape has been discovered” stated Dr. Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), who have worked on improving protection of the Tapanuli orangutans and their habitat since 2005.

Tapanuli orangutans are now only found in the Batang Toru Ecosystem in the North, Central and Southern districts of Tapanuli, in the province of North Sumatra, south of Lake Toba. This small remnant population of Tapanuli orangutans survives in only about 1,100 square kilometers of remaining habitat. Mining concessions, a proposed hydrodam, encroachment, and illegal logging all continue to threaten the Tapanuli orangutans’ habitat, and hence the existence of the new species.

With less than 800 individuals left, and the population already divided over three forest blocks separated by roads and agricultural land, urgent conservation efforts are needed now to ensure the survival of the Tapanuli Orangutan. “Despite only just now being described, with so few individuals left, the Tapanuli orangutan is already the most endangered great ape species in the world” stated Matthew Nowak, co-author of a recently published ‘Population Habitat Viability Analysis for Orangutans’. “Orangutans reproduce extremely slowly, and if more than 1% of the population is lost annually this will spiral them to extinction”, added Prof. Dr. Serge Wich, of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Section on Great Apes.

“We have worked with the local governments in Tapanuli since 2005 to socialize the various environmental services that the Batang Toru Ecosystem provides for local communities living near the forest, and their livelihoods, and in 2014 the Government finally granted protection status to most of the forest”, stated Burhanuddin, who focuses on community awareness and local stakeholder relations for the SOCP.

‘We now need to focus on reconnecting the three remaining key populations of the Tapanuli orangutan through corridor development. The most critical habitat area for the species, with the highest densities of orangutans, is not currently protected in any way, and in fact is actually scheduled for development of a large new hydrodam’, emphasised Kusnadi, newly elected Chairman of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Forum (FOKUS).

‘For sure there a lot of work to be done to make sure the Tapanuli orangutan does not go extinct in the same century in which it is first described, but I am confident that with close collaboration with the Indonesian Government, and especially with local stakeholders, we can make this joyful news a conservation success story’, added Dr. Gabriella Fredriksson, who has coordinated the SOCP’s conservation efforts in Tapanuli since 2006.

posted by: Tom