Orangutan News: Will Corporations and Activists Join Forces to end Deforestation in Indonesia?

Chelsea OKP

by Richard Schiffman for Earth Island Journal

September brought good news for the world’s forests with the unveiling of the New York Declaration on Forests at the UN Climate Summit. The Declaration, which pledges to end global deforestation by 2030, was signed by 130 governments, including the US, Germany, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Perhaps most significantly, it was also backed by commitments from 40 major food corporations to eliminate palm oil grown on deforested land from their supply chains

That’s a big deal, given that palm oil has been the single largest driver of tropical deforestation in recent years. When the medical establishment deemed trans-fats heart-unhealthy in the mid-1990s, demand for the supposedly more benign palm oil soared, increasing nearly six-fold since the year 2000. Palm oil is now used in nearly half of all foods on supermarket shelves, added to everything from breakfast cereals to margarine to potato chips. It is also an ingredient in shampoo, soaps, cosmetics, toothpaste, and laundry detergents, and is used as a feedstock for biofuels.

Palm oil is cheap. It is the highest yielding oil crop in the world, and the most abundant. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that every hour, an area of rainforest the size of 300 football fields is cleared to make way for new palm oil production — mainly in Indonesia, the country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world.

At this breakneck and still accelerating pace, 98 percent of the Indonesian rainforest will be gone by 2022, and along with it one of the greatest remaining biodiversity treasure troves on Earth. The palm oil boom has been a disaster for the orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, the clouded leopard, the pigmy elephant, and countless lesser known endangered species whose homelands are rapidly being converted to large-scale plantations.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Earth Island Journal.  Read the full article here.

Photo from the Orangutan Conservancy.

posted by: Tom

 

Orangutan Commentary – Call of the Orangutan: Injuries and Their Limitations

Siboy_4605by James Askew for Scientific American

This last month has been extremely stressful for all of us at Sikundur research station in North Sumatra while we’ve been following two of our favorite orangutans, Suci and her 3-year-old infant Siboy. As I mentioned in a previous blog, while I was in Medan for a break the boys sent me a text saying Suci had some injuries on her back, which I assumed she’d received from Brutus, an unflanged male who was following her around trying to engage in copulations the last time we followed them. However, once I got back to camp, it became apparent an orangutan probably didn’t inflict the injuries. It’s more likely they came from air-rifle pellets and they were causing Suci serious discomfort, which was having a knock-on effect on Siboy’s quality of life too.

On my first day back, we headed out at 5:30 a.m. to Suci’s night nest, in the center of the grid, not too far from camp. I knew from the previous day’s data that Brutus was still following the pair, along with an adolescent male, Kundur, so I expected it would be a fairly lively and interesting day. However, while the two males were up and active at 6 a.m. on the dot, Suci stayed in her nest until nearly 9 a.m., which although not unheard of, is generally a sign that the orangutan isn’t feeling well. The reason we all like Suci and Siboy so much is that they’re very well habituated, often coming close to us observers, giving us lots to see and record from their behavior. This also meant that once she finally woke up, I very quickly got a good look at the injuries, which were terrible!

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

posted by: Tom

 

OC/OVAG 2014 Veterinary Workshop Report

OCOVAG photo from 2014 workshop

The Orangutan Conservancy is pleased to announce the release of the 2014 OC/OVAG Veterinary report from this year’s annual workshop. The extensive report offers an in-depth vision of the recent workshop – covering discussions,  presentations and case studies.  There are also a lot of great photos  from the annual workshop  that was held this summer in Jogjakarta.

To view the report please click here.

 

OVAG 2014 logo

posted by: Tom

 

OC Provides Samboja Lestari Staff With New Uniforms

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The Orangutan Conservancy was contacted this summer by the hard-working team at the Samboja Lestari/BOSF rescue and rehabilitation center in East Kalimantan Borneo.  The workers’ coveralls, a must for operating effectively in the rigors of the Indonesian forest, were beyond repair and the large staff was in serious need of new coveralls.  Caring for over 200 orangutans there requires the team to work around the clock, and they need the right gear to do the job.  We were pleased to be able to fund them directly with new coveralls for the entire team. 

Keep up the great work at Samboja Lestari reserve, and thank you for letting the Orangutan Conservancy do our part to help make your ongoing mission a continued success.

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posted by: Tom