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

There are less than 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).

There are less than 40,000 orangutans left in the wild

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.

OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop coming in June 2014

Experts predict that 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: ABC Bakers’ Girl Scout Cookies Still Contain Unsustainable Palm Oil

Photo by Carlos Quiles/Rainforest Action Network. Endangered orangutans’ rainforest habitat is being destroyed for palm oil plantations. Yet, instead of changing where the palm oil for their cookies is sourced from, Girl Scouts USA is purchasing misleading “GreenPalm” certificates.

Photo by Carlos Quiles/Rainforest Action Network

by Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva for Earth Island Journal

In seventh grade, we were inspired by Jane Goodall’s dedication to chimpanzee conservation and decided to raise awareness about the endangered orangutan in order to earn our Girl Scout Bronze award. When we discovered that the orangutans’ rainforest habitat is destroyed for palm oil plantations, we began educating our peers with a poster board presentation. In the seven years since then, we’ve grown that middle school awareness campaign to an international platform.

We learned that unsustainable palm oil production isn’t just threatening orangutans. Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to its rates of deforestation and peat burning, both of which are driven by this industry. Additionally, in 2012, the US Department of Labor linked palm oil production in Indonesia with child labor, and in Malaysia with forced labor. Social injustices linked to palm oil also occur in other countries. During a trip to Colombia with a human rights organization called Witness For Peace, we had the opportunity to speak with communities directly impacted by this industry. Paramilitary groups there had forcibly displaced these people and sold the stolen land to palm oil corporations.

This single ingredient is harming people, animals and the environment, and it’s in 50 percent of the products on American grocery store shelves. Imagine our shock and dismay when we discovered that Girl Scout cookies contain palm oil. As members of the organization since first grade, we had been taught the importance of environmental stewardship and service. Part of the Girl Scout Law includes “to make the world a better place.” Switching to a source of deforestation-free palm oil for its cookies seemed like the right thing for the Girl Scouts to do.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Earth Island Journal and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation Commentary: Privatizing Indonesia’s Conservation Efforts

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photo of rainforest from the Orangutan Conservancy archives

Erik Meijaard & Gabriella Fredriksson in the Jakarta Globe

The Indonesian conservation authorities have been quietly experimenting with the privatization of conservation management, a plan announced by the Forestry Minister in 2010. There is an urgent need to expand this experiment.

Presently, not much is working well in Indonesia’s protected area and threatened species management. A study in the Indonesian Journal of Conservation showed that Indonesia’s protected areas lost an additional 2.6 percent of their forest cover between 2000 and 2010. Other studies show protected areas all over Indonesia are losing species, such as orangutans, and a myriad of fish and corals, at very high rates.

People living in and around Indonesia’s protected areas often tell us that the legal monitoring of the area has no relevance to them. Communities habitually ignore regulations, and use the land for agriculture, hunting, uncontrolled fishing or other purposes. For all they care, protected areas might as well not exist.

A 2012 study in the journal Conservation and Society shows that communities are often supported by local politicians and opportunistic schemers who consider the protected areas to be a constraint on economic development. In doing so, they ignore or are oblivious to the often vital environmental services that these areas provide.

In short, protected area management in Indonesia is in serious trouble.

This excerpt from an opinion piece appeared in and is courtesy of the Jakarta Globe and can be read in its entirety here.

 

 

posted by: Tom

 

Orangutan News: Universal Studios Theme Parks Agree To Stop Using Primates On Stage

 

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YouTube image of orangutan in show

by Stephen Messenger of The Dodo

In a historic move that reflects a positive change in how society regards our primate cousins, the last remaining exhibitor to still force orangutans to act as stage performers in the United States has agreed to end the exploitative practice.

Following pressure from various animal rights organizations, Universal Studios, with theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando, announced it will remove all primates from its live “Animal Actors” stage shows.

The performances, advertised by the theme park as “Tinseltown-trained critters putting pet tricks to shame with their animal antics,” features a variety of species paraded before cheering audiences. Unlike some animal shows purport be of some educational value, Animals Actors made no such claim.

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 applauds NBC/Universal and their Universal Theme Parks for joining the growing number of entertainment companies who are pledging to stop using primates in their productions.  We hope this extends to their films and television shows in the near future as well.

posted by: Tom

 

Orangutan News: Shrinking Forests Hamper Orangutan Release

A three-month-old Orangutan baby peeks out from inside a wooden box in East Kutai, East Kalimantan, on Dec. 9, 2011 after being rescued after separated from its mother. (AFP Photo/Firman)

A three-month-old Orangutan baby peeks out from inside a wooden box in East Kutai, East Kalimantan, on Dec. 9, 2011 after being rescued after separated from its mother. (AFP Photo/Firman)

by Tunggadewa Mattangkilang for the Jakarta Globe

Balikpapan. Ten orangutans have been released back into the wild in East Kalimantan after recovery in the Samboja Lestari rehabilitation center.

The six female and four male orangutans were set free in the Kehjesewen conservation forest in the East Kutai district of East Kalimantan on Thursday by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (Yayasan BOS).

“In 2014 we began our program by releasing 10 orangutans back into the wild. We are optimistic that we will be able to release more orangutans into their natural habitat — but this has to be supported by the existence of quality, safe forests,” said Samboja Lestari program manager Agus Irwanto.

Agus said the BOS was committed to achieving the release target set up in the Indonesian Orangutan Conservation Action Plan for 2007-2017, announced by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the climate change conference in Bali in 2007. The plan calls for all orangutans in rehabilitation centers to be released back into their natural habitats by 2015.

Agus said that so far the BOS had released 31 orangutans back into natural forests. But more orangutans could be released if deforestation was halted, he said.

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

posted by: Tom