Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:16:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conservation News: Central Kalimantan To Set Up Palm Oil Monitoring System In Bid To Cut Deforestation 80% http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-central-kalimantan-to-set-up-palm-oil-monitoring-system-in-bid-to-cut-deforestation-80/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-central-kalimantan-to-set-up-palm-oil-monitoring-system-in-bid-to-cut-deforestation-80/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:16:29 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5025
Peat forest clearing for oil palm in Central Kalimantan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler at Mongabay.com

Peat forest clearing for oil palm in Central Kalimantan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler at Mongabay.com

By Rhett Butler for Mongabay.com

The Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan is moving forward on an oil palm plantation monitoring system it hopes will help meet a commitment to reduce deforestation 80 percent by 2020.The online monitoring system will include “information on the performance of plantation concessions such as productivity, the number of smallholder farmers, deforestation and other land cover change, and fire occurrence,” according to Earth Innovation Institute which designed and is helping the provincial government implement the system.Four districts — Kotawaringin Barat, Kapuas, Pulang Pisau, and Gunung Mas — will pilot the system, which will offer governments and the public unprecedented insight into palm oil production at the local level.”This system will enable local governments to detect non-compliance and also to acknowledge voluntary initiatives of companies in meeting sustainability criteria,” said Earth Innovation Institute. “Through the system, the government will be able to identify degraded lands that can be allocated for future plantation licenses. The system can also trace where oil palm is planted, harvested, processed and sold.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be read in its entirety here.
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OC Jumps In To Help OuTrop With Fires Near Sabangau http://www.orangutan.com/oc-jumps-in-to-help-outrop-with-fires-near-sabangau/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-jumps-in-to-help-outrop-with-fires-near-sabangau/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:41:20 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5011 _MG_6868

Community Patrol team on fire scene

The alert came in just this week from the dedicated team at the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project.  Fires had broken out near the OuTrop research site in Borneo, and Mark Harrison needed help to bolster the efforts of the Centre for the International Cooperation in Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatlands (CIMTROP) and the Community Patrol Team teams already in place to fight the growing flames.

Each year when the dry season arrives, so do the fires that can be deadly if they are not attacked from day one.   This season in Central Kalimantan looks to be especially precarious.

OuTrop contacted us seeking emergency funding to help with the situation, and the Orangutan Conservancy is jumping in right away to provide some much-needed assistance.

As the letter from OuTrop’s Managing Director, Mark Harrison read:

“We’ve been talking with CIMTROP and members of the Community Patrol Team on how we will tackle the fires: CIMTROP’s fire-fighting team is one of the few out there on a daily basis to patrol and fight the fires.  In Sabangau’s Natural Laboratory, where we have our main base, the patrol team has already extinguished two fires that were on the forest edge, there are reports of fires further south in the National Park, and in Kalampangan in the eastern Sabangau catchment the patrol team is now working 24 hours to stop a fire that has entered the forest there, an area about which we have just published research demonstrating the importance of this forest block for orangutan conservation. As well as supporting the fire-fighting teams, we need funds for a fire-watch tower and adding equipment. It has become very clear that 2014 is not just a brief fire season but could develop into a very serious one.”

If you’d like to join OC in our effort please visit our donate now page.

The firefighters face a wall of smoke from the flames nearby

The firefighters face a wall of smoke from the flames nearby


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Conservation News: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Upgrades Palm Oil App To Help Save Wild Orangutans http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-cheyenne-mountain-zoo-upgrades-palm-oil-app-to-help-save-wild-orangutans/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-cheyenne-mountain-zoo-upgrades-palm-oil-app-to-help-save-wild-orangutans/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 04:26:19 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5001 screen568x568

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.

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OC’s Dr. Anne Russon Featured in New Yorker Article http://www.orangutan.com/ocs-dr-anne-russon-featured-in-new-yorker-article/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocs-dr-anne-russon-featured-in-new-yorker-article/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:26:42 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4988 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



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OC Supports International Day of Action To Save The Leuser Ecosystem http://www.orangutan.com/oc-supports-international-day-of-action-on-september-22-to-save-the-leuser-ecosystem/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-supports-international-day-of-action-on-september-22-to-save-the-leuser-ecosystem/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:12:52 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4966

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. 


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Conservation Commentary: One Forgotten Island Showcases Indonesia’s Incredible Riches http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-one-forgotten-island-showcases-indonesias-incredible-riches/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-one-forgotten-island-showcases-indonesias-incredible-riches/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 01:14:06 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4955 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.

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Congratulations To Our Conservation Graduate Reza http://www.orangutan.com/congratulations-to-our-conservation-graduate-reza/ http://www.orangutan.com/congratulations-to-our-conservation-graduate-reza/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:07:21 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4940 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.

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Conservation News: Primate Scientists Stress Urgency For Sumatran Orangutans Amid New Genetic Findings http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-primate-scientists-stress-urgency-for-sumatran-orangutans-amid-new-genetic-findings/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-primate-scientists-stress-urgency-for-sumatran-orangutans-amid-new-genetic-findings/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:55:55 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4936 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.”

In addition to concern over the future of the species in the Leuser Ecosystem, there was considerable discussion of the results of recent genomic studies of the wild Sumatran orangutan population. In particular, it appears that the most southern wild Sumatran orangutan population, known as the Batang Toru population in the Tapanuli region of North Sumatra, are genetically very distinct from orangutans further north in North Sumatra and Aceh, and could arguably be considered a distinct, unique species.

Dr. Michael Krützen of the University of Zurich explained “From a genetics point of view we were taken by surprise to see these stark differences of the Batang Toru population compared to other Sumatran orangutan populations further north. Our findings highlight the urgent need for special conservation status for the Batang Toru forests.”

Dr. Russell Mittermeier, Chairman of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group reiterated “ We strongly urge the Ministry of Forestry to take immediate action to support the local governments in protecting the habitat of this genetically unique orangutan population. If found to be a separate species, this orangutan population would be one of the rarest primates, and the most endangered great ape, in the world!”

Dr. Ian Singleton concluded “Efforts to achieve protected status for the remaining primary forest where this genetically unique orangutan population lives in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, have been underway for close to a decade, but final approval is still required to rezone the area to protected forest from Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry.“


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Orangutan News: Experts Plead for Australian Food Manufacturers to Reject Palm Oil http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-experts-plead-for-australian-food-manufacturers-to-reject-palm-oil/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-experts-plead-for-australian-food-manufacturers-to-reject-palm-oil/#comments Sun, 24 Aug 2014 14:35:56 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4918 A critically endangered orangutan in the Jambi rainforest in Sumatra. Photograph: Karen Michelmore/AAP

A critically endangered orangutan in the Jambi rainforest in Sumatra. Photograph: Karen Michelmore/AAP

by for The Guardian

One of the world’s leading orangutan experts has called on Australian food manufacturers to speed up efforts to ditch unsustainable palm oil, warning that the situation “has never been so desperate” for the threatened primates.

Dr Ian Singleton, head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said the apes, with the Sumatran elephant, rhino and tiger, were facing a “major extinction event” due to plans to open up a critical reserve for logging and construction.

The vast Leuser ecosystem in northern Sumatra is the only place on Earth where orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers co-exist.

Despite this, the regional Aceh government has approved a plan to allow roads, palm oil plantations, logging and mining in the ecosystem. Construction work has started, despite objections put forward by the central Indonesian government.

Singleton warned the situation was “dire” for the threatened species, warning that the development plan would completely wipe out the Sumatran rhino, and leave just a few hundred orangutans.

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

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OC Joins the World in International Orangutan Day 2014 http://www.orangutan.com/oc-joins-the-world-in-international-orangutan-day-2014/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-joins-the-world-in-international-orangutan-day-2014/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:08:50 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4911 10491283_670580703036888_2752971857810047567_n

The Orangutan Conservancy  joins forces today with our fellow orangutan advocates around the globe for International Orangutan Day, also known as World Orangutan Day. 
Let’s take this International Orangutan Day spirit and build on it throughout the year!  Together we can be a powerful force for change for orangutans and their rainforest homes.  It’s International Orangutan Day so join us today  by posting on FB and Twitter and remember to tell your friends and family to get involved too to spread the message for orangutans.
There are many things you can do to help orangutans this year – create awareness campaigns, sign petitions, avoid unsustainable palm oil,  hold a local fundraiser, make a donation to your favorite orangutan group, virtually adopt an orangutan, and tell anyone who will listen to learn more about the plight facing orangutans right now.  This is a critical time for us all to take the International Orangutan Day energy and use it as a global springboard to make a bigger difference in the year ahead.
This sand creation was made by Courtney on International Orangutan Day 2014

This sand creation was made by Courtney on International Orangutan Day 2014


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