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

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.

Sumatran orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

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

7th Annual OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop held in Indonesia

Orangutans could be the first great ape to become extinct.

Orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centers are at full capacity in 2015

Sumatran orangutans are classified as “critically endangered.”

Conservation News: Could Fake Palm Oil Made From Food Waste Help Save Orangutans?

photo: from Co-Exist

photo: from Co-Exist

by Adele Peters at Co.Exist

Scientists have come up with a method to produce fake palm oil—not a moment too soon for Indonesia’s rainforests.

In a single day, you might use a dozen products made with palm oil, an ingredient in many consumer products such as toothpaste, cereal, laundry detergent, instant noodles, and vitamins. By some estimates, as many as half of the packaged items in a grocery store might contain it.

That’s been a long-term problem for orangutans, which happen to live in the same Indonesian rainforests that are bulldozed to make way for palm oil plantations. So now researchers are working an alternative: A fake palm oil made from yeast and food waste.

Despite some recent efforts to produce palm oil more sustainably, more than 80% of orangutan habitat has disappeared over the last 20 years. In the fall of 2015, illegal slash-and-burn cutting practices led to massive wildfires that threatened a third of the world’s remaining population of the apes. It’s not just orangutans at risk; the most recent fires alone caused $9 billion in damages.

Around 60 million metric tons of palm oil are produced each year, and more than half comes from Indonesia. But if the new palm oil alternative can be scaled up for industrial production, that may change.

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

posted by: Tom

 

Environmental News: Indonesia, US to Develop Ecotourism in Aceh and Central Kalimantan

Orangutans relax in a tree in Central Kalimantan. Ecotourism is set to be developed in the province along with along with Aceh and Papua. (JP/J. Adiguna)

Orangutans relax in a tree in Central Kalimantan. Ecotourism is set to be developed in the province along with along with Aceh and Papua. (JP/J. Adiguna)

by Liza Yosephine for the Jakarta Post

Ecotourism is set to be developed in Aceh, Central Kalimantan and Papua following a new partnership between Indonesia and the United States.

Under a five-year initiative called Lestari (everlasting), the partnership aims to achieve a balance between economic developments and green growth.

The initiative’s targets include the establishment of 10 public-private partnerships aimed at promoting low-emissions development.According to the latest data, said Reed Merill from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Indonesia was the fifth largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter with 85 percent of its emissions stemming from land-use activity such as deforestation and peat fires.

National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) director of forestry and water resources conservation, Basah Hernowo, said the government would strive to bring together environment conservation and economic growth planning as coordination between the two had so far been neglected.

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

posted by: Tom

 

Environmental News: New Malaysian Road Project Threatens Orangutan Habitat

The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, already facing increased fragmentation, would be further harmed by the planned construction of a new paved road and a bridge in the area. Photo Credit: NGO Friends of the Orangutans

The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, already facing increased fragmentation, would be further harmed by the planned construction of a new paved road and a bridge in the area. Photo Credit: NGO Friends of the Orangutans

The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah state is home to rich and varied ecosystems of exotic species featuring a photogenic kaleidoscope of iconic animals: proboscis monkeys, several species of hornbills, the Asian pygmy elephant and Borneo’s emblematic orangutan. The reserve’s forests are at constant risk of further environmental degradation through land conversion and fragmentation fueled by illegal logging, agriculture and palm oil cultivation.

But there is another grave new threat to the wellbeing of flora and fauna in the 26,000-hectare sanctuary. In a bid to stimulate the local economy, Sabah’s state government wants to expand a paved road and build a new bridge that would cut through the wildlife reserve. The planned bridge will connect the western bank of the Kinabatangan River to Sukau village, replacing the current ferry, which  runs between Sukau and a gravel road built by an oil palm company. The new paved road will in turn connect Sukau village to Litang and Tomanggong, over 40 kilometers away to the southeast.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature  is set to declare Bornean orangutans “critically endangered” as a result of the continued loss of their habitat. Efforts are underway to protect these unique animals, whose numbers have dwindled to a mere 800 in the wild, but the new infrastructure could well undermine those efforts. The proposed building project would also go against the existing Sabah Elephant & Orangutan Action Plans, which calls on Sabah to “Prevent any process that would further fragment the habitat of” wild elephants and orangutans, including the construction of roads and bridges.

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

A subsequent story from Free Malaysia Today focuses on the threats to orangutans should this project go through.  Read that story here.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation News: Sumatrans to File Law Suit on Aceh Spatial Plan

A rescued male Sumatran orangutan learns to climb tree branches at the quarantine center of Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program in Sumatra. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

A rescued male Sumatran orangutan learns to climb tree branches at the quarantine center of Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program in Sumatra. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

The Orangutan Conservancy has learned that citizens of Aceh Province on the island of Sumatra will be registering a class action law suit against the Minister of Home Affairs for failing to uphold its authority to include the Leuser Ecosystem in the currently illegal Aceh Provincial Spatial. This plan is deemed destructive and threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of people living in Aceh as well as the future for wild orangutans that call the area home.

OC has reported extensively about the Spatial plan and the devastation that it will bring to Sumatra’s rainforest.

Gerakan Rakyat Aceh Menggugat (GeRAM) is an alliance of concerned citizens who have been fighting nearly 2 years since the Aceh Government legalised a new Spatial Land Use Plan that would effectively dissolve protection of much of Aceh’s remaining tropical rainforests, whitewashing crimes of the past, and paving the way for a new wave of catastrophic ecological destruction”, said one of the plaintiffs, Farwiza Farhan.

Nine plaintiffs from across Aceh traveled to Jakarta to register the case against Minister of Home Affairs for failing to act on its jurisdiction to cancel Aceh spatial plan as stated in Ministry of Home Affairs decree 650-441 year 2014. These plaintiffs are Effendi from Aceh Besar, Juarsyah from Bener Meriah, Abu Kari from Gayo Lues, Dahlan M. Isa from Lhokseumawe, Kamal Faisal from Aceh Tamiang, Muhammad Ansari Sidik from Aceh Tenggara, Sarbunis from Aceh Selatan, Najaruddin from Nagan Raya, and Farwiza from Banda Aceh.

Millions of people depend upon Aceh’s forests, in particular the Leuser Ecosystem, whose protection is required under several National Laws and is the last place on earth where critically endangered orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers can be found living together in the wild. This forest was recently ranked by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as one of the ‘World’s Most Irreplaceable Protected Areas’ in an article in the journal Science.
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posted by: Tom