Half of the wild orangutan population has been lost since 1950.

There are only 40,000 orangutans left in the wild

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.

Sumatran orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Orangutans are extremely intelligent, and have been observed to make tools.

6th annual OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop held in Indonesia

Orangutans could be the first great ape to become extinct.

Orangutans spend most of their time in trees.

Sumatran orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Conservation News: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Upgrades Palm Oil App To Help Save Wild Orangutans


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s sustainable palm oil phone app helps people make responsible decisions about the food and health/beauty products they purchase every day, and a recent upgrade to the app is helping consumers make even better decisions.

There’s now a green, yellow and orange rating system that recognizes companies that are doing well and encourages those that need improvement. The phone app is aimed at helping save the lives of orangutans, tigers, Asian elephants, sun bears, tropical birds and many other endangered and threatened animals in Indonesia and Malaysia where the palm oil crisis is endangering their habitats.

“When we originally launched the phone app, we wanted consumers to know what companies belonged to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) so they could support them and purchase their products,” Dina Bredahl, Animal Care Manager and Palm Oil Awareness Team Member, said. “But all companies listed in this app are in different places on their journey toward sustainable palm oil, and we wanted to acknowledge that with a rating system.”

This excerpt from a news release appeared in and is courtesy of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Fox 21News.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom


OC’s Dr. Anne Russon Featured in New Yorker Article

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

An Orangutan Learns to Fish

by  for The New Yorker

In 1990, while visiting a research camp in central Borneo, the primatologist Anne Russon saw an orangutan nicknamed Supinah attempt to make fire. Supinah sauntered toward an ashy fire pit, picked up a stick glowing with embers, and dipped it into a nearby cup full of liquid. Russon thought that the cup contained water, but it in fact held kerosene. Fortunately, that bath did little more than dampen the wood. Yet Supinah persisted: she got a second glowing stick, blew on it, fanned it with her hands, and rubbed it against other sticks. She never got the right steps in the right order to start a fire, but what foiled her was not her innate intelligence. She had a clear goal in mind and the right kind of brain to achieve it. She just needed a little more practice.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of The New Yorker.  To read the entire story please click here.

The Orangutan Conservancy's Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort - the Orangutan Kutai Project

The Orangutan Conservancy’s Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort – the Orangutan Kutai Project



posted by: Tom


OC Supports International Day of Action To Save The Leuser Ecosystem

Watch this short but powerful video today and then join the call to action today!

With only a month left in office, will Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will at last fulfill the 2011 promise he made in this video to save the forest?  The Leuser Ecosystem is the home of so many amazing species, including the orangutans, and it is one of the most vulnerable areas in all of Sumatra due to the devastation of palm oil, logging and mining.  The opportunity for change is still there for the President to protect what is left of this fragile, beautiful and important ecosystem.

The Orangutan Conservancy joins our friends at End of the Icons today to say save this amazing ecosystem before it’s too late. 

We also urge you to join this growing movement and take a stand for the International Day of Action. 

Call to Action: September 22nd

What you can do today to help save Leuser and the orangutans there.  Today is the eve of the UN Climate Summit in New York, and thousands of tweets have flooded the Indonesian President’s personal twitter account, @SBYudhoyono, asking him to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, as recent studies found Indonesia to have overtaken Brazil in having the highest rate of deforestation in the world.  The fate of the Leuser Ecosystem rests entirely on the cancellation of an illegal spatial plan drawn up by the government of Aceh province.  Go to Twitter and add your voice to the growing coalition to save the Leuser Ecosystem. With the UN Summit beginning tomorrow, all eyes are on this situation now. 


posted by: Tom


Conservation Commentary: One Forgotten Island Showcases Indonesia’s Incredible Riches

Not "the" island but a beautiful rainforest ecosystem similar in its lushness where orangutans can thrive.  Photo; from OC archives

Not “the” island but a beautiful rainforest ecosystem similar in its lushness where orangutans can thrive. photo: from OC archives

In this intriguing commentary, scientist and conservationist Erik Meijaard reveals a hidden island where a glimpse of what Indonesia could be actually exists…

By Erik Meijaard for the Jakarta Globe

As our boat sailed towards the forest-clad island, I had no idea what surprise awaited me…

A few months ago I was asked to conduct a wildlife survey on a rarely visited island somewhere in Indonesia. For reasons explained below I will not disclose its name. Suffice to say it is one of the thousands of Indonesian islands without people on it. In terms of the wildlife I saw, the absence of people really showed.

I have worked in Indonesia as a conservation scientist and practitioner for over 20 years. This work has taken me to some pretty amazing places, a few of them really remote. But this recent visit to the forgotten island stands out as one of the most remarkable.

Probably because there are no people and there is thus no hunting on the island, wildlife was very common. I went for a day-time hike, expecting not to see much at all. In most Indonesian forests, and especially those that are hunted, animals hide during the day and come out to feed at night. Not on this island.

Within 10 minutes I saw four species of large and medium-sized mammals that would normally be very hard to see. I didn’t just see the animals, the animals saw me too. And they simply looked, without quite knowing what to make of me. Clearly, the concept of being shot at was entirely foreign to them, unlike their brothers and sisters elsewhere in Indonesia.

We found a huge python, curled up among the stilt roots of a large tree. This species appears to be the main predator on the island, gorging itself on the abundant wildlife.

The trees themselves were remarkable too. There was no sign of logging, no tree stumps, or big open gaps. Just giant pillar-like trees, such as those described in the naturalist literature of the 19th century.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.  To read the full article please click here.

posted by: Tom