Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy

Two Weeks Left in OC’s Giving Grid Campaign

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What better time to think of orangutans than on Earth Day.  Well, let’s just call it Earth Month as that’s how long our first-ever Giving Grid campaign will last.  And we need you to join us with your support on this Spring funding drive to help us continue our work of protecting orangutans.  So, join these fine people already on the grid by making your donation to Giving Grid and don’t forget to include your favorite photo to add to the grid.  So far we’ve got faces, animals, company logos and even a beautiful seaside village.

We’ve got a lot of grids to fill in and only sixteen more days to so.  Please get on the grid now!  And as more supporters join the grid we’ll be updating the image above to show all of your great photos too.

Iconic species like the orangutan are responsible for the survival of so many other species and of our earth itself.  Let’s protect orangutans together and by doing so make the earth a better place for generations to come.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

posted by: Tom


Conservation Perspective: Indonesia Is Still Burning

(Photo: Paulina L. Ela/BOSF)

(Photo: Paulina L. Ela/BOSF)

by Michael Kodas for Take Part

KENYALA, Indonesia—The orange-furred toddler survived one of the most destructive wildfires on record, but with a plastic tube leashing her neck to the porch of a small hut, she hardly appears to have found salvation. A villager, Kasuan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, found the orangutan cowering from wild dogs last fall, perched in one of the surviving oil palm trees in a scorched plantation near the burned forest that had been her home. The rest of her family, Kasuan tells me, perished in the epic forest fires that overtook Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, as woodlands were burned to make room for plantations that harvest palm oil, a $50 billion business.

The ubiquitous ingredient is used in half of the packaged food and cosmetic products found on supermarket shelves, from Oreo cookies to Colgate toothpaste. At least nine of the highly endangered primates died during last year’s conflagrations.  Three weeks before I arrive in March, three more orangutans, all of them female and one of them a baby, burned to death when the annual fires ignited months early.

Last fall, most of the human and animal residents of Borneo were trying to escape the smoke and flames overtaking the third-largest island in the world. For more than 20 years, Indonesia’s annual burning season has devastated human health, endangered animals, and accelerated climate change. The fires are even worse when El Niño brings drought to the nation, and last year’s record El Niño drove infernos with near biblical intensity.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of Take Part and can be read in its entirety here.

Conservation Perspective are articles, essays and first-hand accounts that the Orangutan Conservancy culls from around the world that we feel are must-reads.

posted by: Tom


Conservation News: Protecting Key Orangutan Habitat in Tripa Through the Courts

A large male orangutan is rescued and relocated after his home forest was destroyed for oil palm expansion in the Tripa peat swamp. Photo by Paul Hilton

A large male orangutan is rescued and relocated after his home forest was destroyed for oil palm expansion in the Tripa peat swamp. Photo by Paul Hilton

by Laurel A. Neme for

“Hell for people and paradise for orangutans,” is how Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), describes intact Indonesian peat swamp forests.

With their high daily temperatures and steamy 90 percent humidity, these lush dense forests teem with life — from the last viable populations of Sumatran tigers, to herds of Sumatran elephants, plus rhinos, sun bears, clouded leopards and of course, orangutans.

But the Tripa peat swamp forest, he says, is so badly damaged today that it is no longer heaven for the great apes.

For many, like Rahul, it has become a living hell. The infant orangutan was orphaned when captured by an oil palm plantation worker, and brought to the man’s shop at the edge of the Tripa forest. That’s where SOCP rescuers found the two-year-old in April 2012 — malnourished and with wounds on his leg from trying to bite and scratch free of the rope that confined him.

It’s a common story. The Tripa swamp forests, located on the coast of northwest Aceh province in Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, are home to the world’s densest population of Sumatran orangutans. It’s also the epicenter of a series of legal battles aimed at stopping agribusiness from undermining this critical ape habitat.

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

posted by: Tom


Environmental News: Indonesia’s Orangutans Suffer as Fires Rage and Businesses Grow

photo by Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

photo by Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

  for the New York Times

Indonesia has approved palm oil concessions on nearly 15 million acres of peatlands over the last decade; burning peat emits high levels of carbon dioxide and is devilishly hard to extinguish.

Multinational palm oil companies, pulp and paper businesses, the plantations that sell to them, farmers and even day laborers all contribute to the problem. Groups like Greenpeace and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment put most of the blame for the blazes on the large plantations, which clear the most land.

While it is against Indonesian law to clear plantations by burning, enforcement is lax. The authorities have opened criminal investigations against at least eight companies in connection with last year’s fires, but there has yet to be a single high-profile case to get to court.

The government in Jakarta, the capital, has recently banned the draining and clearing of all peatland for agricultural use, and it has ordered provincial governments to adopt better fire suppression methods. But it has not publicly responded to calls for better prevention, such as cracking down on slash-and-burn operations by large palm oil companies.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the New York Times and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom