Orangutan Conservancy http://www.orangutan.com Orangutans are born with an ability to reason and think. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 04:25:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 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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Orangutan News: Study Shows that Orangutan can Produce Faux Speech http://www.orangutan.com/5324/ http://www.orangutan.com/5324/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:26:01 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5324 Photo: courtesy of Adriano Lameira, University of Amsterdam

Photo: courtesy of Adriano Lameira, University of Amsterdam

by Shari Rudavsky for INDYSTAR.com

Think we humans are so special because we have the ability to speak, using specific sounds to denote different meanings?

Well, maybe we’re not so special.

An Indianapolis Zoo researcher, working with a lead author from the University of Amsterdam, has found that at least one orangutan living in captivity can produce both consonant and vowel sounds at a rapid rate that while unintelligible to the human ear qualifies as “faux speech.”

“It’s remarkable that we’re finding an orangutan that’s producing that stream of sounds that matches what humans do,” said Rob Shumaker, the Indianapolis Zoo’s vice president of Conservation, Science and Education.

The study appeared earlier this month in the online journal Plos One.

Primatologists have long believed that while a few great apes have been taught to use sign language, humans remained the only species with the physical flexibility to control and change their vocal sounds to communicate. When primates made sounds, it was thought, these noises were basically reflexive, involuntary responses, not deliberate ones.

Now, a 50-year-old orangutan named Tilda has turned those assumptions on end.

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

Dr. Rob Shumaker is a Board member of the Orangutan Conservancy.

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Conservation Commentary: What’s Good for People Is Good for Orangutans http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-whats-good-for-people-is-good-for-orangutans/ http://www.orangutan.com/conservation-commentary-whats-good-for-people-is-good-for-orangutans/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:30:49 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5295 Photo Courtesy of Nardiyono

Photo Courtesy of Nardiyono

by Erik Meijaard/The Jakarta Globe

As if life isn’t hard enough already for the orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra. Hammered by loss of their forest habitat and outright killing, they now face an additional man-made threat.

New research published in the journal Global Change Biology and in a report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has mapped areas of Borneo that could be affected by climate or land-cover changes this century, finding that up to 74 percent of present-day orangutan habitat could become unsuitable for this endangered species.

The study, led by scientists at the University of Kent and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, discovered that from an estimated 260,000 square kilometers of Bornean orangutan habitat in 2010, 63 percent could become climatically unsuitable by 2080, but when also considering the effects of deforestation, up to 74 percent of habitat could be lost.

I assume that this news will not generate much interest. People will just consider it another bit of negative environmental information in a world that is already facing enough problems. Why worry about it?

But how different would it have been if the study had focused on people instead of orangutans and shown that 63 percent of Borneo would no longer be able to support human populations in the foreseeable future? Surely someone would have noticed (or at least screamed that the scientists were totally wrong). What I wonder though is whether this study of Bornean orangutans isn’t just as relevant to the people of the island.

This excerpt from a commentary piece is courtesy of the Jakarta Globe and can be read in its entirety here.

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Gober’s wild release on video http://www.orangutan.com/gobers-wild-release-on-video/ http://www.orangutan.com/gobers-wild-release-on-video/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:42:40 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5289

This video, supplied by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), follows the preparations for and release of Gober and her twins into the forest, which happened just last week.  See accompanying story below.

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Orangutan News: Challenging return to wild for formerly blind Sumatran orangutan http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-challenging-return-to-wild-for-formerly-blind-sumatran-orangutan/ http://www.orangutan.com/orangutan-news-challenging-return-to-wild-for-formerly-blind-sumatran-orangutan/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:43:10 +0000 http://www.orangutan.com/?p=5278 Gober

A formerly blind orangutan mother of twins was returned to a life in the wild in Aceh, Sumatra Indonesia as part of the work of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP).  The release of Gober took place in the conservation forest of Jantho, in Aceh, Indonesia.

Gober’s release was only possible due to groundbreaking cataract surgery in 2012 that restored her eyesight.   The twins are totally unique as they were born to parents who were both blind. Their father Leuser, who we wrote about in 2014 on the Orangutan Conservancy news site, lost his eyesight when he was shot at least 62 times with an air rifle.

Sadly, the plan to release Gober and both of her twin infants together did not work out as hoped. All three were released at the same time, but Ganteng did not take well to the forest environment and Gober struggled in the trees with two infants to watch out for. It was not long before she seemed to give up trying, and poor little Ganteng was left behind.

Gober and Ginting coped perfectly well, travelling through the canopy, finding food and building a huge nest for the night, little Ganteng spent his first night in the forest alone and afraid, cold and wet.

The following day, after seeing that his mother and sister where not coming back for him, SOCP staff were able to give Ganteng food and managed to usher him back to the safety of the onsite cages later that afternoon.

Speaking from Jantho on Wednesday, Dr. Ian Singleton said “The last couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster ride, for all of us but especially for Ganteng, and presumably for Gober and Ginting too. No one believed she would leave one of her twins behind, at least not so soon after release. We’re all a bit stunned at just how quickly it happened. Gober and Ginting are doing fine and it remains to be seen if they will try looking for Ganteng again or not.  In the meantime the most important thing is that all of them are safe.”

Video of the release can be seen in the post above.

Gober was originally rescued by the SOCP from an isolated patch of forest surrounded by palm oil plantations in 2008. As she was blind, she was raiding farmer’s crops to survive and would surely have been killed if left where she was. She was then cared for at the SOCP orangutan quarantine centre near Medan, North Sumatra.

Leuser, the father, will soon call Orangutan Haven home.  Orangutan Haven is being built by SOCP as a semi-wild home for unreleasable orangutans.

The Orangutan Conservancy helps to support the work of SOCP.

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