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).

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.

6th annual OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop coming in Two Weeks

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.”

OC Supports International Day of Action on September 22 To Save The Leuser Ecosystem

Watch this short but powerful video 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 and on the 22nd to say save this amazing ecosystem before it’s too late. 

We also urge you to join this growing movement and take a stand on the 22nd for the International Day of Action.  Learn more about what you can do at the End of the Icons webpage.

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


Congratulations To Our Conservation Graduate Reza

Reza - in the middle - and other students celebrate their final. The graduation ceremony follows this October

Reza – in the middle – and other students celebrate their final. The graduation ceremony follows this October

Some years back, the Orangutan Conservancy started our Scholarship program for Indonesian college students that  hope to work  in orangutan conservation and forest preservation programs. We’re pleased and proud to announce the graduation of our current scholarship recipient  – Reza Yogapermana.   

Reza just passed his finals and looks forward to the graduation ceremony that takes place in October. Reza’s desire was to attend university in order to learn and work in conservation.

Well, with OC’s help, he has done just that and recently completed studies with flying colors. His four-year degree in Environmental Sciences at Trisakti University, near Jakarta, gives him a great start on his goal to be a conservation leader of tomorrow. Helping to support home-grown talent like Reza can only mean great things for the future of Indonesian conservation programs.  Wherever Reza ends up – maybe even with one of the conseration projects that we help to support – we wish our smiling graduate a bright, happy and healthy future.

Please help support the Orangutan Conservancy and all of the projects that we partner with by visting our make a donation page.

posted by: Tom


Conservation News: Primate Scientists Stress Urgency For Sumatran Orangutans Amid New Genetic Findings

Photo (c) Tim Laman/National Geographic.

Photo (c) Tim Laman/National Geographic.

posted by Tom for the Orangutan Conservancy

Over 900 primate scientists and conservationists from around the world gathered recently in Hanoi for the 25th biannual congress of the International Primatological Society (IPS). Numerous topics were raised and discussed pertaining to the conservation of the world’s primates in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Indonesia was noted as a particularly important country in terms of its primates having 59 species and 77 types of primate, species and subspecies , with 35 species found nowhere else in the world. Concern was expressed due to the fact that 53 (68.8%) of Indonesia’s primate taxa are currently threatened with extinction, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Particular concern was expressed regarding the plight of the Sumatran orangutan, a separate and distinct species from its relative the Bornean orangutan. Due to a recent dramatic increase in the level of threat to Sumatra’s globally renowned Leuser Ecosystem, where around 85% of all remaining wild Sumatran orangutans are found, a motion was approved to place the Sumatran orangutan on the list of the World’s Top 25 Most Endangered Primates. The species’ survival is intrinsically linked to the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for its Environmental Function under Indonesian National Law No 26/2007 and Government regulation No 26/2008. Its protection is also mandated in Aceh Governance Law no 11/2006, which specifically states that no level of government is able to grant permits within the Leuser Ecosystem that damage its important environmental function. Nevertheless, a recent highly controversial new spatial planning law passed by the government of Aceh province completely ignores the Leuser Ecosystem’s existence, while a new Aceh Governor’s regulation signed on February 12th 2014 specifically outlines the procedures for obtaining concession permits within its boundaries.

“We are extremely concerned about this situation” stated Dr. Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, “with these new developments it seems crystal clear that the Aceh Government deliberately intends to open up and destroy huge tracts of the Leuser Ecosystem. This will be disastrous for Sumatra’s orangutans and also Sumatra’s other iconic megafauna, the Sumatran rhino, elephant, and tiger.”
Continue reading »

posted by: Tom