Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:12:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Conservation News: Drones Bring Fight And Flight To Battle Against Poachers http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-drones-bring-fight-and-flight-to-battle-against-poachers/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-drones-bring-fight-and-flight-to-battle-against-poachers/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:12:32 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4885 Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich prepare their drone for flight.  photo for the OC archives.

Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich prepare their drone for flight. photo for the OC archives.

by Michael Casey for Scientific American

Tracking endangered orangutans was no easy feat a scant three years ago. It required counting treetop nests in places like the Leuser Ecosystem on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island to gauge the health of a population that was under fire from poachers and palm oil barrens. Aerial surveillance using remote sensing satellites was often too expensive for local conservation groups and, even when affordable, the views were routinely obscured by cloud cover.

“I was thinking it would be a lot easier if we had a camera somewhere up in the sky that would take pictures of the canopy of the forest and allow us to determine where orangutans are and how many there are,” says Serge Wich, a primate biologist at Liverpool John Moores University and an expert on orangutans.

A year later he and his colleague, Lian Pin Koh, chair of the Applied Ecology and Conservation Group at the University of Adelaide in Australia, launched their first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—aka drone. Weighing a few kilograms with a wingspan of about two meters, the battery-powered and remote-controlled drones look more like model airplanes as they fly above treetops snapping geotagged photos or video during preprogrammed flights that last about an hour and a half. The project drew so much interest—8,000 views on their first YouTube video—that they set up an organization, ConservationDrones.org, that promotes scientific use for UAVs worldwide. “I think it will revolutionize part of how we do conservation and rainforest ecology work,” Wich says. The group has provided upward of 40 drones globally to conservation groups studying everything from illegal fishing in Belize to destruction of elephant habitat in Indonesia to fires from bush meat hunters in the Congo.

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

The Conservation Drone Project is one of the efforts that the Orangutan Conservancy helps to support.  Read more about them here.



http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-drones-bring-fight-and-flight-to-battle-against-poachers/feed/ 0
Orangutan News: Depleting Forest Forces Orangutans To Nest In Palm Oil Estates http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-depleting-forest-forces-orangutans-to-nest-in-palm-oil-estates/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-depleting-forest-forces-orangutans-to-nest-in-palm-oil-estates/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:24:49 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4880 photo from the OC archives

photo from the OC archives

SANDAKAN: A new landmark study based in Sabah’s east coast has shown that orangutans in Kinabatangan have no choice but to nest in oil palm plantations as they travel from one forest patch to another.

“These findings have long term implications for the oil palm industry and those working in conservation as we have to look at a larger landscape rather than concentrate only on forested areas,” said Dr. Marc Ancrenaz, the lead author of the findings published in Oryx, the international journal of conservation.

This study was carried out by research based non-governmental organisation, HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP) and the Sabah Wildlife Department.

It began in 2008 with aerial surveys, followed by years of ground surveys and interviews with oil palm workers to investigate why the population of orangutans in the forested areas in Kinabatangan was dropping.

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

http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-depleting-forest-forces-orangutans-to-nest-in-palm-oil-estates/feed/ 0
Representatives of Indonesian Presidential Candidates Discuss Environmental Agenda http://www.orangutan.com/representatives-of-indonesian-presidential-candidates-discuss-environmental-agenda/ http://www.orangutan.com/representatives-of-indonesian-presidential-candidates-discuss-environmental-agenda/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:07:08 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4876 Environmental-Debate-July-3-2014

Indonesia’s presidential candidates expressed aspects of their environmental agenda through their representatives during an evening gathering of news media reporters and nongovernmental organizations. Sponsored by five orangutan advocacy groups (Orang Utan Republik Foundation, The Orangutan Project, The Orangutan Conservancy, Orangutan Outreach, and Orangutan Land Trust), the discussion/debate took place at Café Resto, Complex Ismail Marzuki, Cikini, Central Jakarta, Thursday (03/07) and featured Wahyu Widodo, representing the presidential candidate team of Joko Widodo/Jusuf Kalla, and Syamsul Bahri, representing the presidential candidate team of Prabowo Subianto/Hatta Rajasa.

The theme for the evening discussion was, “Following the 2014 Presidential Election: The Future of Indonesia’s Environment.”

A variety of topics were discussed during the evening during which time Wahyu Widodo and Syamsul Bahri explained the vision and mission of their respective candidates for the nation’s highest office.

Syamsul Bahri for Prabowo-Hatta Rajasa, said the environmental problems that exist in Indonesia are due to land degradation, loss of genetic resources in the natural environment (germplasm) and diminishing public concern about the environment.

Syamsul Bahri said that if Prabowo was elected President, he would continue the environmental policy of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as it promises to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent or 41 percent with international assistance in 2020. “But the government Indonesia needs to strengthen the climate negotiations in international forums, “he said.

Wahyu Widodo discussed a Jokowi-Kalla approach to managing the environment.  It needs to be extraordinary, and necessary institutions for the fields of environment management and natural resources are needed provide a deterrent for environmental crime.   He said, Jokowi-Kalla will take extraordinary law enforcement actions against violations in the fields of forestry and marine resources in Indonesia.

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





http://www.orangutan.com/representatives-of-indonesian-presidential-candidates-discuss-environmental-agenda/feed/ 0
Conservation News: Indonesia Overtakes Brazil In Clearing Tropical Forests http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-indonesia-overtakes-brazil-in-clearing-tropical-forests/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-indonesia-overtakes-brazil-in-clearing-tropical-forests/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:47:28 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4872 photo: Reuters

photo: Reuters

from ABC/Radio Australia

Scientists say Indonesia has now overtaken Brazil in clearing tropical rainforests, putting wildlife and habitat at risk.

Satellite images have found that Indonesia has surpassed Brazil in clearing tropical forests, and losses are accelerating, scientists say.

That’s despite a 2011 moratorium meant to protect wildlife and combat climate change.

Between 2000 and 2010, Indonesia’s loss of virgin forests totalled 60,000 square kilometres, an area almost the size of Ireland, partly to make way for palm oil plantations and other farms, researchers say.

In 2012 alone, deforestation in Indonesia was estimated at 8,400 square kilometres, compared with 4,600 square kilometres in Brazil.

This excerpt from a news article is courtesy of ABC/Radio Australia and can be read in its entirety here.

http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-indonesia-overtakes-brazil-in-clearing-tropical-forests/feed/ 0
OC Joins With Several Orangutan Organizations to Sponsor Indonesian Debate http://www.orangutan.com/oc-joins-with-several-orangutan-organizations-to-sponsor-indonesian-debate/ http://www.orangutan.com/oc-joins-with-several-orangutan-organizations-to-sponsor-indonesian-debate/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:46:46 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4867 The future for orangutans will be on the agenda at the discussion/debate

The future for orangutans will be on the agenda at the discussion/debate

Collaboration of Orangutan Organizations Support Debate/Discussion of Environmental Position of Candidates for Next President of Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia.  

In advance of the upcoming Indonesian presidential elections on July 9th, OC has joined a group of nonprofit organizations with a focus on orangutan conservation to co-sponsor a debate and discussion on the environmental position of the two candidates for Indonesia’s highest office. Representatives for the president/vice-president teams of Prabowo Subianto/Hatta Rajasa and Joko Widodo/Jusuf Kalla will face off on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at the Gallery Cafe Taman Ismail Marzukiin Jakarta.

The debate/discussion was suggested by members of the Indonesian group, Yayasan Inisiatif Pendidkan Orangutan Indonesia (YIPOI)  to their sister organization, Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) during a recent visit to Indonesia by OURF president Dr. Gary Shapiro. Shapiro was able to enroll other orangutan organizations to help sponsor the debate/discussion in an effort to better clarify how each presidential team plans to address the environmental and natural resource challenges facing Indonesia over the coming years.

“The Indonesian people deserve to know how their future president will prioritize the environment, natural resources and wildlife issues in addition to the usually discussed topics of development, jobs, law, and the economy,” stated Shapiro.  

The organizations sponsoring the educational event with OURF are The Orangutan Project (Australia), Orangutan Conservancy (USA), Orangutan Outreach (USA), and Orangutan Land Trust (UK). All organizations have been supporting conservation and education programs in Indonesia for many years in an effort to save the orangutan from extinction. 

http://www.orangutan.com/oc-joins-with-several-orangutan-organizations-to-sponsor-indonesian-debate/feed/ 0
Final Day Update: 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop Wraps Up http://www.orangutan.com/final-day-update-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop-wraps-up/ http://www.orangutan.com/final-day-update-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop-wraps-up/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 17:19:30 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4861 On the last day, Steve Unwin reviews a group session.

On the last day, Steve Unwin reviews a group session.

Endangered, there’s still time.  Extinct, they’re gone forever.

Those strong words are on the banner of the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop and a reminder to us all why we must bring together the wildlife veterinarians each year in Indonesia.  The battle to save orangutans has reached a pivotal time and we all must work harder and better to ensure their survival.  The frontline hero vets do that every day at their rescue and rehabilitation centers in the wild, and it is our honor to host them once a year for OC/OVAG. 


Final Day Update by Dr. Raffaella Commitante

Well, we have reached the final day of our workshop.  Today was about tying up loose ends and planning for next year.  What is really exciting is that toward the close of the meeting, we chose new committee members.  Sumita has just had a baby and may be quite busy this year and Drh, Anta has left for Australia to work on her PhD.

We clearly needed some new committee members.

Chosen were Citra and Siska representing Kalimantan and Ricko and Yenny representing Sumatra.  The surprise for everyone was that Steve and I decided to turn over the organization of next year’s workshop to these new committee members!

So, OC/OVAG 2015 will be completely organized and run by the OVAG vets.  Steve and I will be at their beck and call of course – but the ball is in their court.  Exciting stuff.

After the meeting we were driven to another hotel where we had our conference closing dinner.  There was much laughing and karaoke along with distribution of the certificates and the awarding of GAVO III (our stuffed animal mascot) to Siska for assisting in the logistics of this year’s workshop.

ocovag final day banner

http://www.orangutan.com/final-day-update-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop-wraps-up/feed/ 0
Day Four Highlights from the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop http://www.orangutan.com/day-four-highlights-from-the-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop/ http://www.orangutan.com/day-four-highlights-from-the-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 22:26:08 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4851 After two orangutans           "found' each other they had twins.  Here the mother holds her babies.

After two orangutans “found’ each other they had twins. Here the mother holds her babies.

by Dr. Raffaella Commitante

Continuing on with our adventures in Jogja at the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop!

After a bit of administrative housekeeping announcements we moved right into husbandry and enrichment.  This year’s focus was on husbandry and welfare issues.  Claire from Chester Zoo and Yenny from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) gave a joint presentation on specific issues in their respective locations.

The participants then broke apart into groups again to continue to work on various scenarios. This time they were challenged with designing a new enclosure for animals that have special health challenges (blind, arthritic etc.).

One of the groups working on enclosures for un-releasable orangutans wearing our “Winny” designed OC/OVAG shirts for 2014.

One of the groups working on enclosures for un-releasable orangutans wearing our “Winny” designed OC/OVAG shirts for 2014.

We then moved on to some really interesting case studies.  The highlight was about two blind orangutans – a male and a  female “finding” each other – yes, they were in separate enclosures that were close to each other – and the female unexpectedly giving birth to twins!

The proud papa.  See photo of mom and the babies at top.

The proud papa. See photo of mom and the babies at top.

In the afternoon I gave a talk on Wild Animal Welfare which  I think really interested our OVAG  members.  I wanted to be sure that they all understood that this is not an issue targeting Indonesia – but that all countries worldwide struggle with providing proper welfare for animals in their care.

Raff gives her presentation on wild animal welfare.

Raff gives her presentation on wild animal welfare.


http://www.orangutan.com/day-four-highlights-from-the-2014-ocovag-veterinary-workshop/feed/ 0
OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop Day Three Highlights http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-veterinary-workshop-day-three-highlights/ http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-veterinary-workshop-day-three-highlights/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 00:56:34 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4846 DNA extraction in process

DNA extraction in process

By Dr. Raffaella Commitante

Today was a very interesting day for me personally at the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop as we were first going to be working in the parasitology lab, and then we were going to the PCR/DNA extraction lab.

I had never seen the process done so it was very interesting.  A PhD student was running a genetic sequence.   We were able to watch the very detailed work as he added dye using a very fine pipette to the gel that held the extracted DNA.  We were then given a lecture on the entire process by the professor in the lab Prof. Dr. Wayan.  It was very cool!

Prof. Wayan explains the DNA extraction process

Prof. Wayan explains the DNA extraction process

After sitting through two lab sessions and a parasitology quiz, the OVAG delegates relaxed a bit by taking a selfie while waiting for transport back to the hotel from the University.  They used the latest fad – a Bluetooth enabled extension pole which you attach to your cell  phone.

OC/OVAG delegates take their photo from an orangutan perspective

OC/OVAG delegates take their photo from an orangutan perspective


http://www.orangutan.com/ocovag-veterinary-workshop-day-three-highlights/feed/ 0
Conservation News: Signs Sabah May Finally Uphold Commitment On Wildlife Corridors http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-signs-sabah-may-finally-uphold-commitment-on-wildlife-corridors/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-signs-sabah-may-finally-uphold-commitment-on-wildlife-corridors/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 19:52:31 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4840
Kinabatangan River: oil palm plantation on the left, rainforest on the right. Photo by: Azri Sawang/HUTAN.

Kinabatangan River: oil palm plantation on the left, rainforest on the right. Photo by: Azri Sawang/HUTAN.

by Jeremy Hance for mongabay.com

Five years ago an unlikely meeting was held in the Malaysian state of Sabah to discuss how to save orangutans, elephants, and rhinos amid worsening forest fragmentation. Although the meeting brought together longtime adversaries—conservationists and the palm oil industry—it appeared at the time to build new relationships and even point toward a way forward for Sabah’s embattled forests.

Participants of the meeting drew up a detailed plan that included creating wildlife buffer zones of 100 meters along all major rivers, connecting forest fragments, and barring any more land development in the lower Kinabatangan River. To much fanfare, the state government even pledged land acquisitions to make this happen. Five years later and conservationists say little has changed on the ground in the Kinabatangan landscape and the outlook for its wildlife may be even worse, however recent events hint that the government may now be ready to act.

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

http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-news-signs-sabah-may-finally-uphold-commitment-on-wildlife-corridors/feed/ 0
Highlights From the OC/OVAG Workshop: Days One and Two http://www.orangutan.com/highlights-from-the-ocovag-workshop-day-one-and-two/ http://www.orangutan.com/highlights-from-the-ocovag-workshop-day-one-and-two/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:21:34 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=4825 Vets at OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop take part in a scientific writing exercise at event

Vets at OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop take part in a scientific writing exercise at event

Day two was a busy one at the OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop.  We are back at the University today and covering scientific writing through a role-playing exercise.

The group was tasked with writing a brief communication for a ficticious vet journal.  Joe Smith from Ft. Wayne Children’s Zoo took the role of the editor of a Zoo and Wildlife Vet Journal.  Steve, Nancy (from Fort worth Zoo) and I were associate editors and several folks were available as reviewers.  This was to simulate the actual process.  Those that prepared brief communications sent them to the editor who then sent them on to the associate editors for evaluation and suitability for publication, who then passed them onto the reviewers for comments.  Then Joe the editor gave the recommendation to publish or not.

Later, Steve Unwin gave a Powerpoint presentation on epidemiology.

slide from Steve's presentation

slide from Steve’s presentation

And from day one…

Here is a group of our OC/OVAG vets taking a quiz that allows us to evaluate how we can keep improving.

OCOVAG Day One photo three

Late in the afternoon on Day One, we divided up into four groups to run through scenarios involving orangutan health checks and what can go wrong.

Day One scenarios




http://www.orangutan.com/highlights-from-the-ocovag-workshop-day-one-and-two/feed/ 0