Together We Can Save Them

It's estimated that there may be only 45,000 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.

Orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Orangutans are extremely intelligent and make their own tools.

8th OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop just held in Malaysia

Orangutan Caring Week November 13-19

Orangutans could be the first great ape to become extinct.

Orangutan rescue centers are at near full capacity in 2016

Film: Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy


OC Presents SOCP’s Orangutan Haven Project With Additional Funding

Dek Nong, who suffers from partial paralysis, hopes to one day call Orangutan Haven home. (photo by SOCP)

Dek Nong, who suffers from partial paralysis, hopes to one day call Orangutan Haven home. (photo by SOCP)

The Orangutan Conservancy has long been a supporter of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP).  The multi-faceted operation, headed up by the indefatigable Ian Singleton, consistently makes impactful progress in the lives of wild and captive orangutans.   Their quarantine center near Medan has been the first step of healing and rejuvenation for many ill and injured  orangutans that have later been rereleased back into the wild in Jantho.

Some orangutans, however, will never be able to go back to the wild, and this is the reason Singleton and his team are developing the islands at Orangutan Haven.  Unreleasable orangutans will have a semi-wild home to live out their years in comfort and safety.  Along with providing permanent homes for the great apes, Orangutan Haven will provide learning opportunities for Indonesians to gain more knowledge about the magnificent orangutan species by visiting the site’s Wildlife Conservation Education Center. 

Progress on a project of this size is oftentimes slow, but SOCP is making headway in their continued mission to bring this large-scale facility to life, and the Orangutan Conservancy has been with them since the beginning of the journey. 

We are pleased to announce another round of funding toward the project, and with hundreds of thousands of dollars still needed to finish the tremendous undertaking we hope our supporters will continue to enthusiastically champion the creation of the islands.

Ian Singleton tell us, “We’ve cut a main artery road and set up a bamboo preparation facility so we can produce decent bamboo to build a bridge across the river. We also did a detailed hydrological survey recently too. Next step is to start marking out the islands themselves and planning for excavating and creating those. We also had a few meetings with local government to socialize the project. So it is moving along….although still very much step by step.”

Thanks for the update, Ian, and you can count on OC to be there for the future steps toward Orangutan Haven

Please help us to make our next contribution to SOCP by making your donation to OC today.

posted by: Tom


Orangutan News: The Apes That Brave Wildfires

photo from Anne Russon of the Orangutan Kutai Project

photo from Anne Russon of the Orangutan Kutai Project

by Sarah Hewitt for BBC Earth

In 2015, thousands of forest fires burned through the drought-ravaged rainforests of Indonesia and damaged precious habitat for the endangered orangutans living there.

Kutai National Park on Indonesian Borneo was among the areas devastated. Fires ate away trees, toppling them to the ground or leaving them unstable. The smoke from the fires choked out the Sun and enveloped everything in a dull haze.

The local orangutans found that the food they ate was gone and the trees they used to travel around their environment were severely damaged. How many individuals died? Do the survivors still have food to eat? How long before their habitat recovers?

To best answer these questions, researchers need data from before the disaster so they can more accurately compare it to their observations in the aftermath. Having a research site wiped out by fire or hurricane is not exactly lucky, but it has provided scientists with crucial information about the attributes that can enhance survival.

Anne Russon of York University in Ontario, Canada, has spent 28 years studying orangutans.

“East Bornean orangutans are known as being the toughest and most resilient of all the orangutans,” she says. “It’s amazing what they can do to survive some of these things.”

This excerpt from an article* appeared in and is courtesy of BBC earth and can be read in it’s entirety here.

* Article’s original title was edited from original.

posted by: Tom


Orangutan News: Study Says “Social Orangutans Are More Intelligent Than Solitary Orangutans”

photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives

photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives

by Alex Berezow for American Council On Science And Health

Though reality TV would seem to challenge the notion, highly social creatures tend to be more intelligent than non-social creatures. The reason is because it takes brain power to communicate and thrive in a society. A successful wolf, for instance, must be bright enough to pick up on behavioral cues from the alpha male and to understand his place in the social hierarchy.

Cognitive scientists believe that social learning — i.e., learning behaviors from others — enhances an animal’s ability to learn new things by itself. In other words, social intelligence helps promote individual intelligence. This idea, called the cultural intelligence hypothesis, also has a corollary: Social species should have evolved to be better at problem-solving than related, non-social species.

A team of mostly Swiss researchers put this hunch to the test by studying how two different species of orangutan responded to various intellectual challenges. In total, the authors examined 33 zoo-dwelling orangutans, 19 of which were Sumatran (a more social species) and 14 of which were Bornean (a more solitary species). Their prediction was that the Sumatran orangutans would be more clever.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the American Council On Science And Health and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom


Conservation Perspective: ‘I Am The Forest’ Exhibition Reveals Kalimantan’s Magnificent Wildlife

photo courtesy of (JP/Björn Vaughn)

photo courtesy of (JP/Björn Vaughn)

by Erik Meijaard for The Jakarta Post

This may be the most intriguing orangutan picture ever. I have seen thousands of orangutan pictures over the years, and I have become a little blasé about them. But something struck me about this photo. The beautiful orangutan baby looks up with shining eyes, face thoughtful but pensive; might there be a faint trace of a smile.

It reminds me of Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression, although, admittedly, unlike the little orangutan, Mona Lisa did not have a dead leaf stuck in her hair. Could there be a better way to visualize the struggle Indonesia’s orangutans face, the inherent sadness, but also the hope that it will all work out in the end?

This is “I am the Forest”, a photo exhibition set up in the middle of a forest area in Rungan Sari, near Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. I was there to participate in the opening of the Global Issues Network environmental youth conference attended by 300 students and workshop facilitators from Kalimantan, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Australia.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of the The Jakarta Post and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom