Film: Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy


Orangutan News: Rebuttal to Claim That Borneo Has Lost More Than 100,000 Orangutans From 1999 to 2015

MEDIA STATEMENT BY: Director of Sabah Wildlife Department, Mr Augustine Tuuga

Major newspapers worldwide have reported the finding of a research that was published for March 2018 edition of Current Biology journal authored by Maria Voigt and co-authored, among others, by Dr Marc Ancrenaz of HUTAN who is based in Sukau, Kinabatangan and Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of Danau Girang Field Centre. The research findings claimed that between 1999 and 2015, more than 100,000 Orangutan was lost mainly due to illegal hunting and deforestation in Borneo.

It has to be noted that the island of Borneo is made up of East Malaysia’s States of Sabah & Sarawak, Brunei & Indonesia’s Kalimantan.

“Large numbers of Orangutans were simply being slaughtered” said the lead researcher Maria Voigt of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Antraphology, Germany about their research findings.

The report also claimed that the loss of Orangutan in Sabah for the study period is 6,100 individuals for reasons identified in the study.

A research findings published in the PLOS journal in 2004 estimated that the population of Orangutan in Sabah was 11,000 individuals. At the time of the study, 60% of Orangutan population in Sabah was believed to be living outside of protected areas. Based on this research findings, the State Government of Sabah took very serious effort to increase the protection of Orangutan population in Sabah by declaring and gazetting more and bigger protected areas.

There was only 839,385 ha of Totally Protected Areas in Sabah in 1999 but as of September 2017, a total of 1,906,896 ha of Sabah’s forests has been gazetted as Totally Protected Areas which ammount to 27% of Sabah’s land area. This has increased the coverage of Orangutan’s protected habitats by 75%.

Ulu Segama-Malua Sustainable Forest Management Project was established on 15th. March 2006 by State Government of Sabah especially to protect and rehabilitate Orangutan habitat. The 242,884 ha has been reclassified in stages and by 2014, the whole area has been gazetted as Class I Protection Forest.

The State Government of Sabah is very determined to protect and conserve all our iconic species in Sabah and therefore determined to achieve its policy target to have 30% of Sabah under Totally Protected Areas by or before 2025.

All these efforts are directed at protecting Sabah’s rich biodiversity. Almost all of the additional protected areas are also within Orangutan habitats.

Despite these efforts, none have been acknowledged by the authors of the recent study, of which two were non Malaysian scientists based in Sabah and working with Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department as contributing factors to the conservation of Orangutan in Sabah. Instead, the study, without hard facts and evidence, has misguided the world community to believe that there were 6,100 individuals Orangutan killed in Sabah between 1999 and 2015.

Without hard facts and evidence presented in the research finding, the Sabah Wildlife Department strongly refute and disagree with the report & will advise the Sabah State Government accordingly.

(Augustine Tuuga)


posted by: Raffaella Commitante


Orangutan News: Borneo Lost More Than 100,000 Orangutans From 1999 to 2015

by Joe Cochrane for New York Times

Around half of all orangutans living on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo — nearly 150,000 in all — vanished during a recent 16-year period. The causes included logging, land clearance for agriculture and mining that destroyed their habitats, according to a study in Current Biology released on Thursday.

However, many orangutans also disappeared from more intact, forested areas, the researchers say, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflicts between orangutans and humans remain a major threat to the species.

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


posted by: Raffaella Commitante


Orangutan News: The World’s Only Known Albino Orangutan Is Moving to Her Own Island for Safe Keeping

by Dana Dovey for Newsweek

Alba, the world’s only known albino orangutan, now has her own personal island sanctuary in Borneo to live out the rest of her days safely tucked away from the humans who may want to do her harm. Orangutans are endangered creatures, but Alba’s rare genetic disorder makes her truly a one-of-a-kind ape.

Alba, named after the Latin word for “white,” has albinism, a rare genetic condition that exists in many species and causes serious deficits in melanin, a pigment that gives hair, skin and eyes their colors. According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the production of melanin, either slowing it down or stopping it completely.

Today, the white orangutan lives in captivity, but soon she will be moved to a man-made island so that she can live her life outside of captivity, but still safe from humans who may endanger her welfare.

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

posted by: Raffaella Commitante


Orangutan News: Four Orangutans Released Into Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park

Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) workers move Romeo, a 30 year-old East Kalimantan orangutan, to a cage on an artificial island in Samboja Lestari, Kutai Kartanegara, to prepare for his release into his natural habitat. photo: (JP/N. Adri)

from The Jakarta Post

The US Embassy, the Indonesian government and the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation on Thursday announced the successful release of two male and two female rescued orangutans into the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in the center of Kalimantan.

The release of the four orangutans raised the total number of the rescued critically endangered animals in the national park to 75 since the first release in August 2016.

Central Kalimantan Conservation and Natural Resources Center (BKSDA) head Adib Gunawan said: “We should continue to release orangutans back into their natural habitat because there are still hundreds of orangutans currently residing in rehabilitation centers.”

The head of the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park Center for Central and West Kalimantan Heru Raharjo said his institution would make sure all of the orangutans were able to reintegrate into their habitat and increase their population.

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

posted by: Raffaella Commitante