Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:59:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Orangutan News: Will Corporations and Activists Join Forces to end Deforestation in Indonesia? http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-will-corporations-and-activists-join-forces-to-end-deforestation-in-indonesia/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-will-corporations-and-activists-join-forces-to-end-deforestation-in-indonesia/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:59:14 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5087 Chelsea OKP

by Richard Schiffman for Earth Island Journal

September brought good news for the world’s forests with the unveiling of the New York Declaration on Forests at the UN Climate Summit. The Declaration, which pledges to end global deforestation by 2030, was signed by 130 governments, including the US, Germany, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Perhaps most significantly, it was also backed by commitments from 40 major food corporations to eliminate palm oil grown on deforested land from their supply chains

That’s a big deal, given that palm oil has been the single largest driver of tropical deforestation in recent years. When the medical establishment deemed trans-fats heart-unhealthy in the mid-1990s, demand for the supposedly more benign palm oil soared, increasing nearly six-fold since the year 2000. Palm oil is now used in nearly half of all foods on supermarket shelves, added to everything from breakfast cereals to margarine to potato chips. It is also an ingredient in shampoo, soaps, cosmetics, toothpaste, and laundry detergents, and is used as a feedstock for biofuels.

Palm oil is cheap. It is the highest yielding oil crop in the world, and the most abundant. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that every hour, an area of rainforest the size of 300 football fields is cleared to make way for new palm oil production — mainly in Indonesia, the country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world.

At this breakneck and still accelerating pace, 98 percent of the Indonesian rainforest will be gone by 2022, and along with it one of the greatest remaining biodiversity treasure troves on Earth. The palm oil boom has been a disaster for the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, the clouded leopard, the pigmy elephant, and countless lesser known endangered species whose homelands are rapidly being converted to large-scale plantations.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Earth Island Journal.  Read the full article here.

Photo from the Orangutan Conservancy.

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Orangutan Commentary – Call of the Orangutan: Injuries and Their Limitations http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-commentary-call-of-the-orangutan-injuries-and-their-limitations/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-commentary-call-of-the-orangutan-injuries-and-their-limitations/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:35:25 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5084 Siboy_4605by James Askew for Scientific American

This last month has been extremely stressful for all of us at Sikundur research station in North Sumatra while we’ve been following two of our favorite orangutans, Suci and her 3-year-old infant Siboy. As I mentioned in a previous blog, while I was in Medan for a break the boys sent me a text saying Suci had some injuries on her back, which I assumed she’d received from Brutus, an unflanged male who was following her around trying to engage in copulations the last time we followed them. However, once I got back to camp, it became apparent an orangutan probably didn’t inflict the injuries. It’s more likely they came from air-rifle pellets and they were causing Suci serious discomfort, which was having a knock-on effect on Siboy’s quality of life too.

On my first day back, we headed out at 5:30 a.m. to Suci’s night nest, in the center of the grid, not too far from camp. I knew from the previous day’s data that Brutus was still following the pair, along with an adolescent male, Kundur, so I expected it would be a fairly lively and interesting day. However, while the two males were up and active at 6 a.m. on the dot, Suci stayed in her nest until nearly 9 a.m., which although not unheard of, is generally a sign that the orangutan isn’t feeling well. The reason we all like Suci and Siboy so much is that they’re very well habituated, often coming close to us observers, giving us lots to see and record from their behavior. This also meant that once she finally woke up, I very quickly got a good look at the injuries, which were terrible!

This excerpt from a article appeared in and is courtesy of Scientific American and can be read in its entirety here.

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OC/OVAG 2014 Veterinary Workshop Report http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-2014-veterinary-workshop-report/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-2014-veterinary-workshop-report/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 17:28:52 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5077 OCOVAG photo from 2014 workshop

The Orangutan Conservancy is pleased to announce the release of the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary report from this year’s annual workshop. The extensive report offers an in-depth vision of the recent workshop – covering discussions,  presentations and case studies.  There are also a lot of great photos  from the annual workshop  that was held this summer in Jogjakarta.

To view the report please click here.


OVAG 2014 logo

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OC Provides Samboja Lestari Staff With New Uniforms http://www.orangutan.com/oc-provides-samboja-lestari-staff-with-new-uniforms/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-provides-samboja-lestari-staff-with-new-uniforms/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 21:02:35 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5060 _DSC0160

The Orangutan Conservancy was contacted this summer by the hard-working team at the Samboja Lestari/BOSF rescue and rehabilitation center in East Kalimantan Borneo.  The workers’ coveralls, a must for operating effectively in the rigors of the Indonesian forest, were beyond repair and the large staff was in serious need of new coveralls.  Caring for over 200 orangutans there requires the team to work around the clock, and they need the right gear to do the job.  We were pleased to be able to fund them directly with new coveralls for the entire team. 

Keep up the great work at Samboja Lestari reserve, and thank you for letting the Orangutan Conservancy do our part to help make your ongoing mission a continued success.



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Orangutan Commentary: Don’t Buy Halloween Candy That Helps To Kill Orangutans http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-commentary-dont-buy-halloween-candy-that-helps-to-kill-orangutans/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-commentary-dont-buy-halloween-candy-that-helps-to-kill-orangutans/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:20:07 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5052 Sumatra and Borneo are the only places in the world where orangutans live in the wild. Both species are endangered, the Sumatran one critically so. And your Halloween candy purchases could make a difference.  photo courtesy of Lip Kee/Flickr

Sumatra and Borneo are the only places in the world where orangutans live in the wild. Both species are endangered, the Sumatran one critically so. Halloween candy purchases could make a difference. photo courtesy of Lip Kee/Flickr

In which science writer Jason G. Goldman explores the monoculture of palm oil and how the consumer choices we make during the candy buying season can make a real difference to orangutans.

by Jason G. Goldman

Wild orangutans are losing their habitat as the rainforests in which they live are being cleared to produce timber and to expand palm oil plantations. The economics are actually fairly simple: when people buy products that contain palm oil, demand for those products go up. Plantations expand to compensate, which means that rainforest destruction accelerates.

The solution seems pretty simple, right? Stop buying products with palm oil in it. The problem is that even the savviest, most conservation-minded of shoppers can be fooled. That’s because palm oil can be in a product even if the ingredients list doesn’t say so. It can be listed simple as “vegetable oil,” or as something like “sodium lauryl sulfate” or “sodium laureth sulfate.”

The thing is, it isn’t that palm oil itself is bad.  Conservation International points out it’s actually got higher yields than other edible oils, meaning that more oil can be produced in the same plot of land than for other types of plants. While palm oil represents nearly forty percent of the world’s edible oil, it’s grown on just five percent of the land dedicated to oilseed crops. Palm oil production employs more than six million people around the world. Both of these are good things.

The problem is that it’s being farmed in the wrong places. And while orangutans are the most charismatic, heart-wrenching way to promote the problem, deforestation goes much farther than just ape conservation. It is one of the leading drivers of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for one thing. In addition, rainforests help to regulate weather patterns; they protect local communities from storms and floods and maintain healthy wetlands, which provide water for communities and agricultural efforts downstream. Remove the forest, and the whole ecosystem comes down like a house of cards. And it’s not just the orangutans who suffer, it’s us.

How can you help?

It isn’t easy to simply eschew all products that contain palm oil, partly because it’s estimated to be used in more than half of all processed supermarket items in the US, including cosmetics, and partly because a move towards sustainable palm oil wouldn’t be served by a complete rejection of all products containing it. Instead, you could support those companies that have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Lucky for you, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has created a handy app called the “Palm Oil Shopping Guide” that will help you discern which products are orangutan-friendly and which aren’t.

This excerpt from an article appeared in animals.io9.com and is courtesy of Jason G. Goldman.  It can be read in its entirety here.

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Conservation News: Indonesian Law Bars Palm Oil Companies From Protecting Forests http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-indonesian-law-bars-palm-oil-companies-from-protecting-forests/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-indonesian-law-bars-palm-oil-companies-from-protecting-forests/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:01:15 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5048 image courtesy of World Land Trust

image courtesy of World Land Trust

By Rhett Butler for Eco-Business

A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers’ commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group.

The report focuses on the zero deforestation policy established in 2011 by Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), Indonesia s largest palm oil producer. It looks at how well that commitment is being implemented for a pilot project across eight concessions in West and Central Kalimantan, provinces in Indonesian Borneo.

…The problem is the lands GAR has set aside for conservation are classified as “plantable” by the Indonesian government. Under a September 29, 2014 revision to the Plantation Act, any area under a Hak Guna Usaha/HGU (Right of Cultivation) permit must be fully cleared and converted for its intended purpose within six years of the license being granted.

If the land isn’t cultivated, it can then be seized by the state and turned over to an entity that will convert the area. Any company that fails to abide by the regulation is subject to fines and revocation of its business license.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of  Ec0-Business and can be read in its entirety here.

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OC/OVAG Partners at Chester Zoo Go Orange For Orangutans http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-partners-chester-zoo-go-orange-for-orangutans/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-partners-chester-zoo-go-orange-for-orangutans/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:35:17 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5042 Photo: Our friends at the Chester Zoo in the UK are in the midst of their "Go Orange For Orangutans" in October campaign. The Zoo is one of OC's partners in the annual OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop.  Have a look at: http://www.chesterzoo.org/support-us/go-orange-for-orangutans

Our OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop partners from the Chester Zoo in the UK are in the midst of their “Go Orange For Orangutans” campaign this October.  They’ve got a whole slew of activities, including the staff painting themselves orange in honor of our forest friends and a follow Gavo (he’s our mascot) around the world experience.

Check them out at http://www.chesterzoo.org/support-us/go-orange-for-orangutans


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Darwin Has A Feast http://www.orangutan.com/darwin-has-a-feast/ http://www.orangutan.com/darwin-has-a-feast/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:57:29 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5036  

Darwin 2013 - smaller version

Here’s a photo of Darwin from the Orangutan Kutai Project, one of the projects that we help to support at the Orangutan Conservancy.

Orangutan ranging patterns are studied at OKP, and by the looks of things we’d say Darwin ranged himself right into a nice fall feast.

Learn more about OKP and other projects we help to support at http://www.orangutan.com/projects/

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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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