Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:37:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-supports-international-day-of-action-on-september-22-to-save-the-leuser-ecosystem/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:37:52 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4966

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.

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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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OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop Video http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-veterinary-workshop-video/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-veterinary-workshop-video/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 03:30:34 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4908

Enjoy this video of some amazing orangutans and the equally inspiring people that care for them in this short video compilation from OC/OVAG.  Then read more about our annual workshop and other projects that we help to support at the Orangutan Conservancy here.

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OC/OVAG 2014 “The Unofficial Photo” http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-2014-the-unofficial-photo/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-2014-the-unofficial-photo/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:13:32 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4899 OCOVG 2014 group photo #3Shortly after taking the official group photo at OC/OVAG 2014, the delegates posed for something a little more informal.  This photo captures the energy, good spirit and great posing ability of this year’s attendees.

Read more about our annual vet workshop on the OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop page and you can see the official photo there too.

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Conservation Commentary: Animal Welfare and Palm Oil in Products We Buy http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-animal-welfare-and-palm-oil-in-products-we-buy/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-animal-welfare-and-palm-oil-in-products-we-buy/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:13:48 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4893 photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives.

photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives.

by Robert Hii for the Huffington Post

In case you missed Jane Velez-Mitchell’s interview with model Katie Cleary, here it is. Katie made an impassioned plea to the viewers to stop buying products that use palm oil.

So what is it about orangutans that gets animal lovers like Katie Cleary so worked up against palm oil? A big part of it has to be their human-like characteristics which create an instant bond between us and them, and the fact that the baby orangutan is just so darned adorable!

It’s not only orangutans that are being affected by palm oil. Equally adorable apes like chimpanzees are being threatened with extinction as well as the palm oil industry moves into Africa. Scientists are calling great apes like the orangutan and chimpanzee “canaries in the coal mine” as many other species of animals will go extinct if nothing is said or done today.

So what can an animal lover do to avoid buying products that may have caused suffering to animals? You can take up Jane Velez-Mitchell’s suggestion to eat fresh as palm oil is used mostly in processed foods. Her other great suggestion was to send a message to all companies to “do this sustainably” but what does this mean to the average consumer who wants to remove any possibility of causing suffering in their daily purchases?

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

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Conservation News: Study Shows 30% of Borneo’s Rainforests Destroyed Since 1973 http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-study-shows-30-of-borneos-rainforests-destroyed-since-1973/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-study-shows-30-of-borneos-rainforests-destroyed-since-1973/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:40:29 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4887
map courtesy of study authors

map courtesy of study authors

Borneo’s forests are being destroyed at twice the rate of the rest of the world’s rainforests.
by Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
More than 30 percent of Borneo’s rainforests have been destroyed over the past forty years due to fires, industrial logging, and the spread of plantations, finds a new study that provides the most comprehensive analysis of the island’s forest cover to date. The research, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, shows that just over a quarter of Borneo’s lowland forests remain intact.The study, which involved an international team of scientists led by David Gaveau and Erik Meijaard, is based on satellite data and aerial photographs. That approach enabled the researchers to separate industrial plantations from selectively-logged natural forests, while also mapping the extent of logging roads for various elevations, distinguishing between highly endangered lowland forests and inaccessible high-elevation forests.The results are sobering for conservationists: intact lowland forests, which house the highest levels of biodiversity and store the largest amounts of carbon, declined by 73 percent during the period. 34 percent of those forests were selectively logged, while 39 percent were cleared completely, usually converted to industrial plantations to supply the world with palm oil, paper, and timber. Sabah, the eastern-most state in Malaysia, had the highest proportion of forest loss and degradation, with 52 percent of its lowland forests cleared and 29 percent logged. Only 18 percent of the state’s lowland forests remain intact, according to the study.

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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