Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:46:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 OC Interactive Presenters at 65th Annual L.A. County Science Fair http://www.orangutan.com/oc-interactive-presenters-at-65th-annual-l-a-county-science-fair/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-interactive-presenters-at-65th-annual-l-a-county-science-fair/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:46:04 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5381

The Orangutan Conservancy had the pleasure of spending this weekend as presenters at the 65th Annual L.A. County Science Fair in Pasadena, California.

The wonderful Pasadena Convention Center hosted the two-day immersive event.

OC got to meet and speak with many booth visitors about orangutans.

Board member Juanita Kempe, along with volunteer Diane, provided a wealth of information to those who stopped by our interactive exhibit.  We look forward to meeting more of you at future events. 

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Conservation News: New Protected Peat Area Established Where Controversial Palm Oil Company Operated http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-new-protected-peat-area-established-where-controversial-palm-oil-company-operated/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-new-protected-peat-area-established-where-controversial-palm-oil-company-operated/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 22:53:11 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5373 IMG_3342

edited by OC’s Tom from a press release

Banda Aceh

At a historic ceremony this week in the middle of Sumatra’s Tripa peat swamps,
Mr. Husaini Syamaun, the Head of the Aceh Forestry Department, formally declared a new 1,455 hectare Protected Peat Area in the Tripa peat swamp region of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia.

The ceremony marked the successful conclusion of an Aceh government program to block 18 illegal canals draining the peat. Mr. Husaini unveiled a signboard marking the official boundary of the new protected area and symbolically planted a tree on one of the recently constructed dams blocking the canals. Husaini confirmed “Aceh’s Government is firmly committed to protecting all peat areas deeper than three meters”.

The event was attended by local government and law enforcement agencies, local community leaders, NGO’s and the press. Community representative, Cut Erlianda, explained, “Local people support the government’s initiative to protect Tripa and hope to be actively involved in its management.”

Over 60,000 trees have already been planted in the newly protected area, with another 120,000 scheduled to be planted over the next month. The area declared as a Protected Peat Swamp was previously awarded illegally to the company PT Kallista Alam, as an oil palm concession area, but in a case that garnered global media attention, a high profile legal challenge against the permit by Acehnese environmental group WALHI Aceh (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) was successful, resulting in Aceh’s Governor formally cancelling the concession in 2012.

Today’s clear statement of intent by the Aceh government swings the international spotlight now onto Indonesia’s Supreme Court in Jakarta, which in a few weeks will deliver its ruling on an appeal by PT Kallista Alam and its directors, previously sentenced to 9 month and 3 year prison sentences and ordered to pay approximately USD 33 million in damages in additional cases against the company brought by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment.

The Leuser Ecosystem has been listed as one of the “World’s Most Irreplaceable Places” and is the only place in the world where endangered Sumatran orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos live side by side.

The Tripa Peat Swamp Forest first came to the world’s attention in 2012, when massive illegal fires raged throughout the area, “destroying the forest, killing everything in their path, and threatening to totally extinguish one of the orangutan ‘capitals of the world’”, according to Dr. Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). “Tripa is one of only three remaining peat swamp forests on the west coast of Aceh that host the highest densities of orangutans anywhere in the world,” he emphasized.

Besides the legal actions against PT Kallista Alam, several additional cases filed by the Ministry of Environment against other companies in Tripa are also ongoing.

“The successful lawsuit against Kallista Alam set a major and much needed legal precedent in Indonesia, and paves the way for others to stand up against dubious concessions elsewhere in the country,” proclaimed TM Zulfikar, of Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (the Indonesian ‘Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation’). “The blocking of these canals and the establishment of the new protected
peat area represents another historic milestone in the battle to restore and conserve the Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area protected under National Law for its critically important environmental function.

“As the Governor has stated, the law must be enforced,” reiterated Mr. Husaini, “That also means that even though the illegal PT Kallista Alam concession has been withdrawn, other people cannot now claim this land. On the contrary, the court’s decision states very clearly that it must be restored to its former condition.”

“We cannot allow our forests and peatlands to be destroyed in this way. Most of the destruction is purely for quick short-term profits for just a few already extremely wealthy companies and people,” stated Rudi Putra, of the Leuser Conservation Forum. “We’ve had enough of that already. What we
want to see is proper long-term management based on the realities of the environment here to ensure sustainable long-term economic development that benefits all of Aceh’s people,” he added.

Nyoman Suryadiputra, Head of Wetlands International Indonesia, also welcomed the blocking of these illegal drainage canals, explaining how critical peat swamp forests are in protecting local people from disasters and providing livelihoods, and how their destruction and drainage has far reaching global consequences due to the release of CO2 to the atmosphere, fuelling global warming. “In
natural conditions peat swamps like Tripa are essentially 80-90% freshwater.

Drainage canals destroy the water regulation function of the swamp, causing flash floods and droughts, seriously jeopardizing biodiversity and community livelihoods. Drainage dries the peat itself out too, of course, making it susceptible to fires and allowing its carbon content to oxidize and escape into the atmosphere. It’s exactly this kind of irresponsible destruction that we have seen throughout Tripa to date that has led to Indonesia being one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world.”

“This is certainly a monumental occasion in Sumatra, and even in Indonesia as a whole,” reiterated Dr. Singleton. “Tripa has been devastated by the plantations operating there. Back in the early 90’s Tripa’s forest covered more than 60,000 ha and probably harbored over 3,000 orangutans, not to mention tigers and countless other rare and endangered species, many of which depend entirely on
swamp forest habitats for their survival. Today there are probably only around 100 to 200 orangutans remaining in Tripa, if we’re lucky, and we need to do everything we possibly can to reclaim and restore the damaged forests if we are to have any hope of keeping any orangutans surviving here.”

The blocking of canals and restoration of the area is a major step forward.



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Conservation News: Watch How a Gadget in Your Pocket Is Helping Save Endangered Orangutans http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-watch-how-a-gadget-in-your-pocket-is-helping-save-endangered-orangutans/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-watch-how-a-gadget-in-your-pocket-is-helping-save-endangered-orangutans/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 17:01:59 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5369

By  for takepart

Koalisi Peduli Hutan Aceh is a network of indigenous community activists in Aceh province, at the far western end of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Around 4.7 million people live in the Aceh forest, depending on it for clean water, food, and protection from flooding and drought.

KPHA members are using smartphones to crowdsource data on the health of the forest.

In collaboration with a Washington, D.C.– and London-based group called the Environmental Investigation Agency, KPHA developed smartphone apps that let members collect their observations, geotag the information, and transmit it to a website for near real time mapping and display alongside other data, such as the boundaries of protected areas.

This video and excerpt from a news article are courtesy of takepart.com and can be read in its entirety here.

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Conservation News: Zoologist’s Mission to Stop Orangutans’ Habitat From Being Ravaged http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-zoologists-mission-to-stop-orangutans-habitat-from-being-ravaged/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-zoologists-mission-to-stop-orangutans-habitat-from-being-ravaged/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 22:15:03 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5366 DSC_3260.jpg

by David Rose for The Daily Mail

It is an utterly heart-melting image. A young Sumatran orangutan swings down from his tree to nuzzle and play with a British zoologist who is here to save his life.

Dr Ian Singleton gets a privileged close-up view of how these highly intelligent animals are possessed of such an extraordinarily wide range of emotions, and why they form such close and touching bonds with human beings. As well they might: sharing 97 per cent of humans’ DNA, they are one of our nearest living relatives.

Tragically, though, these bewitching pictures, captured by environmental photographer David Higgs, betray a story that shows humanity at its most rapacious.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in The Mail On Sunday and can be read in tis entirety here.


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Orangutan News: Sumatran Road Plan Could Spell a Dark Chapter for Ecosystem http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-sumatran-road-plan-could-spell-a-dark-chapter-for-ecosystem/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-sumatran-road-plan-could-spell-a-dark-chapter-for-ecosystem/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:25:09 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5362 photo courtesy of Terry Sunderland CIFOR

photo courtesy of Terry Sunderland CIFOR

By  for Forests News Cifor

Bogor, Indonesia – In at least one way, it’s a place right out of a storybook.

A patch of Indonesian forest is the last ecosystem on Earth where nearly every iconic animal from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” still co-exists.

Unfortunately, there is no storybook ending in sight for the Leuser Ecosystem in steamy, mountainous northern Sumatra.

The current Aceh Spatial Plan—an expansion of the former Ladia Galaska road construction scheme—is slated to slice through highly sensitive areas of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra’s Aceh and Northern Sumatra provinces.

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


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OC Announces Dates for 7th Annual Orangutan Veterinarian Workshop http://www.orangutan.com/oc-announces-dates-for-7th-annual-orangutan-veterinarian-workshop/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-announces-dates-for-7th-annual-orangutan-veterinarian-workshop/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:28:13 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5348  


The Orangutan Conservancy is thrilled to announce the dates and location for our 7th annual OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop.

The important gathering of Indonesian vets will take place from August 2-6 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia and this year OC will chronicle the five-day event with extensive video coverage.

Collectively, the veterinarians and healthcare staff at rehabilitation centers in Borneo and Sumatra care for the largest captive population of orangutans in the world. Yet they face nearly impossible odds, and often find themselves short of medicine, equipment, money, space, support staff and time.

OC is thankful to be able to bring these frontline heroes together each year to share their knowledge and expertise with each other. You, our supporters, help make that happen.

Read more about the OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshops here.

Please visit our donate now page if you’d like to help support this year’s workshop.

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Orangutan News: “The Last Orangutan Eden” to Air on PBS http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-the-last-orangutan-eden-to-air-on-pbs/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-the-last-orangutan-eden-to-air-on-pbs/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 22:32:24 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5345 In a photo from an another project, Dr. Ian Singleton and his team deliver an orangutan to a better life. Photo courtesy of SOCP

In a photo from another release, Dr. Ian Singleton and his team deliver an orangutan to a better life. photo courtesy of SOCP

Ecologist Chris Morgan (Bears of the Last Frontier) travels to the jungles of Northern Sumatra to document the work being done to save its population of wild orangutans. Asia’s most intelligent ape once roamed across the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, but today, fewer than 7,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild. The film cites rapid deforestation — clearing the land for vast palm oil plantations — as the chief reason for the species’ declining population.

But as Morgan shows, conservationists are trying to reverse that trend by teaching orphaned orangutans the survival skills they’ll need for release back into the jungle. He also accompanies researchers deep into a remote and protected peat swamp forest to study wild orangutans up close to learn about their culture and behavior.

The program follows Morgan as he visits a quarantine center that is a temporary home to around 48 orangutans who have either been rescued from logged land or confiscated from the pet trade. More than half are under five years old and would still be nursing in the wild, so the staff act as surrogate mothers.

In order to understand what survival skills need to be taught to the orphans, Morgan accompanies University of Zurich researcher Caroline Schuppli on one of her frequent but difficult treks to study the habits of a family of wild orangutans.

The program concludes with Morgan joining conservationist Dr. Ian Singleton, director of the orphan center, as his team relocates recent graduate Udin to a reserve on the northern tip of Sumatra. Its inaccessibility makes it the perfect place for orangutans to thrive. Udin will join other orphans already released here, familiar faces from the orphanage. They are all pilgrims, the founding fathers and mothers of a new orangutan Eden, the hope for the future of the species.

This excerpt from a news article is courtesy of BWW TV World and can be read in its entirety here.

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Conservation News: 4 Ways Animals Adapt to Humans http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-4-ways-animals-adapt-to-humans/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-4-ways-animals-adapt-to-humans/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 17:43:12 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5341 A female orangutan carrying a baby walks down a newly built logging road in East Kalimantan, Borneo. Photo by  Brent Loken

A female orangutan carrying a baby walks down a newly built logging road in East Kalimantan, Borneo. Photo by Brent Loken

by Jason Bittel

for National Geographic

Their habitat is disappearing due to widespread logging, but orangutans seem to have found at least one tiny silver lining: traveling on timber roads instead of the more challenging tree canopies.

Recently, ecologist Brent Loken set up 41 camera-trap stations in the Wehea Forest on the Indonesian island of Borneo (map). The traps were spread out across three blocks of the forest, each representing different levels of logging impact.

In all three blocks, the cameras captured images of orangutans walking. This in itself was unusual, as it was previously thought the critically endangered animals kept to the canopy whenever possible. (Watch: “Kalimantan’s Orangutans.”)

But most interesting was the fact that the great apes appeared to show a preference for walking along roads built by the timber industry, according to the study, published in the January issue of Oryx.

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

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OC Project Support for 2015 http://www.orangutan.com/oc-announces-project-support-for-2015/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-announces-project-support-for-2015/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:23:07 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5300  orangutan 2 with color revision 2


Along with providing future support for conservation projects that may require emergency assistance, the Orangutan Conservancy will be supporting these projects in 2015. 


    • The OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop

    • The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP)

    • The Orangutan Kutai Project

    • The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop)

    • Orangutan Haven


Please read more about these important and much-needed projects that collectively are working to ensure a better future for orangutans in the wild.

We’ll also be adding two new ventures to this group in the near future. 


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Conservation News: Prized Forest in Aceh Threatened by Development http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-prized-forest-in-aceh-threatened-by-development/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-prized-forest-in-aceh-threatened-by-development/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 19:16:54 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5331 photo courtesy of Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

photo courtesy of Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

by Richard C. Paddock for the Wall Street Journal.com Indonesia Realtime

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia – A prized forest ecosystem that is home to endangered Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants is threatened by an Aceh government land use plan that is accelerating illegal logging and development, conservationists charge.

Aceh, which has greater autonomy than other provinces, is asserting control over land within the Leuser Ecosystem and ignoring its status as a nationally protected area, environmentalists contend.

Conservationists say the Aceh government is ignoring the central government and allowing widespread illegal activities in the protected area: logging, road-building, the burning of protected land and the planting of extensive palm oil groves.

In February,  the Home Affairs ministry, which has authority over the planning process, rejected Aceh’s plan and directed provincial officials to include consideration of Leuser. The provincial government has yet to amend the plan and is implementing it anyway, environmentalists say.

“All we are asking is for you to follow the rules,” said Ian Singleton, scientific director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, which releases formerly captive orangutans into the wilderness area. “If you want to conserve Sumatra’s mega-fauna, you have to conserve the Leuser ecosystem.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.com Indonesia Realtime and can be read in its entirety here.

The Orangutan Conservancy supports the work of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

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