Our Mission at the Orangutan Conservancy


Our Mission Statement

The Orangutan Conservancy (OC) is dedicated to the protection of orangutans in their natural habitat through research, capacity building, education and public awareness programs, and by supporting numerous on-the-ground efforts to save Southeast Asia’s only great ape.

Today it is estimated that 27,000 species are extinguished every year in the world’s rainforests – or 74 species a day. Orangutans are found only in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. The population of wild orangutans has declined by more than half in the last 50 years, and approximately 80% of their natural habitat has been lost in the last half century.  Our current research suggests that there are only about 40,000 left in the wild.

The Orangutan Conservancy works to protect orangutans in their natural environment, and if we can help this great ape to survive for the future, many other native species, including plants and insects, will also be here for generations to come. 

Please support our mission today.



posted by: Tom


Commentary: New Approaches Needed to Save Orangutans in Indonesia


orangutan photo courtesy of Huff Post Green

by Robert Hii for Huff Post Green

It was disheartening to read the headlines from this news report that said Kansas City and elsewhere, zoos brace against the threat of species extinction. It’s as if the orangutans are doomed to an existence merely in zoos located thousands of miles from their natural habitats.

We can’t let this happen. Their population levels have plummeted for sure in the past two decades as timber, palm oil and mining ripped apart their habitats in Malaysia and Indonesia where these animals are found. If the situation in both countries remained in “business-as-usual” mode where forests were removed with zero regard for what lived in them, then yes, the orangutans are doomed but these are different times and we have to take new approaches to ensure their survival outside of zoos…

Of the three subspecies of orangutans on Borneo island the Pongo pygmaeus morio in Sabah state and Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii in Sarawak, Malaysia both survive in a relatively stable environment. The two thousand plus orangutans in Sarawak are reported to be in new safer environs. This is due mostly to the new Chief Minister of the state, Adenan Satem, who has stunned the public in wanting to protect the remaining natural environment in Sarawak. Declaring recently in London, England that the state has enough palm oil and timber plantations, his government played a key role in freezing three hundred and seventy bank accounts belonging to companies suspected as being involved in illegal logging in the state. All of this bodes well for orangutans in Sarawak and I hope the CM will heed the advice of conservation groups that have called for the protection of its remaining forests.

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

posted by: Tom


Video: Sumatra Burning: The Heart of Palm Oil

In Coconuts TV’s film, “Sumatra Burning: The Heart of Palm Oil,” a documentary team travels to Indonesia to investigate the palm oil industry and the forest clearance fires that cause environmental, economic, political, and health problems throughout Southeast Asia and the world.  This balanced and insightful film is a must-watch for those who care about orangutans and their rainforest homes.

As the film states, “Deforestation, mostly for commercial agriculture, releases more carbon into the atmosphere than all of the cars, trucks, ships, trains and airplanes on the planet combined.  In 2012 Indonesia overtook Brazil as the country with the most rapid deforestation n the world.” 

The film shows how and why this is happening and what might be done to turn things around in the future for the people, animals and ecosystem in that part of the world.

OC applauds this filmmaking team and encourages our supporters to view this powerful, short documentary.


posted by: Tom


OC Co-sponsors Indonesian Vet’s Training in America


Along with a Fort Wayne Zoo veterinarian, Yenny does a procedure on a Sumatran Tiger as part of her US training

Along with our colleagues from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), and the Ft. Worth Zoo the Orangutan Conservancy was pleased to sponsor Indonesian wildlife veterinarian Yenny Saraswati on her recent trip to America for vocational vet training.

The joint effort brought Yenny halfway around the globe to further her veterinary expertise at the Indiana and Texas facilities as well as at other locales.  Guided by top vets at those facilities Yenny gained new knowledge that she’ll be able to bring back to SOCP where hundreds of captive orangutans have been rescued, healed and many released successfully back into the wild.

The eight-week training trip focused on developing Yenny’s overall veterinarian capacity through medical procedures and field activity.  It involved critical health issues of various animals, especially orangutans, which require effective and skilled handling on-site.

According to Yenny, “I learned more about emergency response, vital signs and anesthesia that will be extremely useful for my field work.  We had numerous conversations about orangutan  diseases, styles of medicine and suitable equipment. Seeing the treatment of captive animals here has given me a new set of concerns and knowledge. From knowledge that I gained, I would like to adopt a better medical style, preferred drug uses, and intense medical recording in order to improve procedures.”

At Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Yenny was involved in medical procedures for orangutans, a Sumatran tiger, red pandas, and various birds, reptiles and primates. At Fort Worth Zoo, she worked on gorillas, cheetahs and  birds. The whirlwind of activity didn’t stop there as Yenny also honed her skills at Detroit Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Louisville Zoo, Cleveland Metropark Zoo and Buffalo Zoo.

Thank you to all who participated in this international exchange of veterinary knowledge.  Wildlife veterinarians and the orangutans they care for in Indonesia will certainly benefit from it for years to come, as Yenny will no doubt share her experiences with many other vets at this summer’s OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop.

Veterinarians are paid very little in Indonesia for the incredible work they do.  If you’d like to help the Orangutan Conservancy sponsor future training visits like this one please click on our donate now page.




posted by: Tom