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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 only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Orangutans are extremely intelligent and make their own tools.

8th OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop held in Malaysia

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 News: Alarms Raised as Timber Firm Said to Pierce Orangutan Stronghold

Photo courtesy of International Animal Rescue

Photo courtesy of International Animal Rescue

by Basten Gokkon for Mongabay

A timber plantation company is illegally clearing one of Indonesia’s last coastal peat swamp forests, a carbon reservoir and biodiversity hotspot home to hundreds of endangered orangutans, say observers who are imploring President Joko Widodo’s administration to intervene.

The company, PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa (MPK), did not respond to numerous requests for comment. But locals report the firm is digging a drainage canal through the peat soil in alleged violation of a moratorium on peatland development enshrined by Jokowi, as he is known, into law last December.

Draining peat soil — a deposit of decaying organic matter that can extend deep below the ground’s surface — is a prerequisite to planting it with the fast-growing pulpwood species that feed Indonesia’s paper mills, a huge industry in the archipelago country. But the practice dries the soil out, rendering the peat highly flammable. Its widespread usage is the main underlying cause of Indonesia’s annual fires which often reach crisis proportions. In 2015, they sickened half a million people and pumped more carbon into the atmosphere than the entire EU during the same period.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

Orangutan News: Orangutan’s Vocal Feats Hint At Deeper Roots of Human Speech

Rocky spent his first few years raised by people, and is particularly attuned to human speech and behavior, researchers say. But his remarkable ability to learn and match human pitch and common sounds of speech surprised them. MarknKaser/Courtesy of Indianapolis Zoo

by Jon Hamilton for npr

An orangutan named Rocky is helping scientists figure out when early humans might have uttered the first word.

Rocky, who is 12 and lives at the Indianapolis Zoo, has shown that he can control his vocal cords much the way people do. He can learn new vocal sounds and even match the pitch of sounds made by a person.

“Rocky, and probably other great apes, can do things with their vocal apparatus that, for decades, people have asserted was impossible,” says Rob Shumaker, the zoo’s director, who has studied orangutans for more than 30 years.

Rocky’s abilities suggest that our human ancestors could have begun speaking 10 million years ago, about the time humans and great apes diverged, Shumaker says. Until now, many scientists thought that speech required changes in the brain and vocal apparatus that evolved more recently, during the past 2 million years.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of npr and can be viewed in its entirety here.

Dr. Rob Shumaker is a member of the Orangutan Conservancy Board.

posted by: Tom

 

Orangutan News: Orangutan Shot in Palm Oil Plantation Rescued by OIC

photo of rescued orangutan courtesy of Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS)

from the Dodo

A 30-year-old orangutan was weak and could hardly see when she was found on a palm oil plantation in North Sumatra Indonesia, desperate for help.

What she endured can only be deduced from her wounds: Rescuers found air rifle bullets in her face. One had even lodged in her eye, causing partial blindness.

But she was determined to survive, despite what must have been a horrifying seven days, or even longer, during which she was isolated on the plantation.

Rescuers from the Orangutan Information Center (OIC), along with local park officers, found her malnourished and scared. Still, she was determined to get back to the forest as soon as she could.

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

The Orangutan Conservancy is pleased to be able to help support the work of the Orangutan Information Centre in Sumatra.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation Commentary: Survival of Nearly 10,000 Orangutans in Borneo Oil Palm Estates at Stake

Orangutans use oil palm landscapes, and if sufficient food resources are provided and human-orangutan conflict avoided, viable populations could survive in landscapes with both oil palm and natural forests. Photo by and courtesy of Marc Ancrenaz

by Erik Meijaard & Marc Ancrenaz on Mongabay

Ever since the palm oil industry started its industrial-scale expansion in South-East Asia it has been under pressure from environmental activists and NGOs for its negative impacts. Much of that criticism was justified because many palm oil companies were established by clear-cutting logged-over forests and replacing these with palm plantations. Biodiversity losses are massive in such conversions.

To help reduce the environmental impacts of the industry, criteria for sustainable palm oil were developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder standard-setting platform. Many have questioned RSPO’s ability to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil palm development, but few quantitative studies exist to substantiate these criticisms. Here we present what we believe is the first study of RSPO’s effectiveness in reducing loss of forests and orangutan habitats on Borneo.

In a study coordinated by Borneo Futures and funded by Wilmar International, we mapped 2,717 oil palm estates and concessions on Borneo, of which 80 percent were active in 2016 (i.e., they had planted oil palms as detected on satellite imagery). For each area we determined: 1) whether orangutans were present; 2) what the population trend had been since 1999; 3) how much deforestation has occurred between 2000 and 2015; and 4) whether companies were RSPO-certified or not.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom