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


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.



posted by: Tom


Orangutan Commentary: Don’t Buy Halloween Candy That Helps To Kill Orangutans

Sumatra and Borneo are the only places in the world where orangutans live in the wild. Both species are endangered, the Sumatran one critically so. And your Halloween candy purchases could make a difference.  photo courtesy of Lip Kee/Flickr

Sumatra and Borneo are the only places in the world where orangutans live in the wild. Both species are endangered, the Sumatran one critically so. Halloween candy purchases could make a difference. photo courtesy of Lip Kee/Flickr

In which science writer Jason G. Goldman explores the monoculture of palm oil and how the consumer choices we make during the candy buying season can make a real difference to orangutans.

by Jason G. Goldman

Wild orangutans are losing their habitat as the rainforests in which they live are being cleared to produce timber and to expand palm oil plantations. The economics are actually fairly simple: when people buy products that contain palm oil, demand for those products go up. Plantations expand to compensate, which means that rainforest destruction accelerates.

The solution seems pretty simple, right? Stop buying products with palm oil in it. The problem is that even the savviest, most conservation-minded of shoppers can be fooled. That’s because palm oil can be in a product even if the ingredients list doesn’t say so. It can be listed simple as “vegetable oil,” or as something like “sodium lauryl sulfate” or “sodium laureth sulfate.”

The thing is, it isn’t that palm oil itself is bad.  Conservation International points out it’s actually got higher yields than other edible oils, meaning that more oil can be produced in the same plot of land than for other types of plants. While palm oil represents nearly forty percent of the world’s edible oil, it’s grown on just five percent of the land dedicated to oilseed crops. Palm oil production employs more than six million people around the world. Both of these are good things.

The problem is that it’s being farmed in the wrong places. And while orangutans are the most charismatic, heart-wrenching way to promote the problem, deforestation goes much farther than just ape conservation. It is one of the leading drivers of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for one thing. In addition, rainforests help to regulate weather patterns; they protect local communities from storms and floods and maintain healthy wetlands, which provide water for communities and agricultural efforts downstream. Remove the forest, and the whole ecosystem comes down like a house of cards. And it’s not just the orangutans who suffer, it’s us.

How can you help?

It isn’t easy to simply eschew all products that contain palm oil, partly because it’s estimated to be used in more than half of all processed supermarket items in the US, including cosmetics, and partly because a move towards sustainable palm oil wouldn’t be served by a complete rejection of all products containing it. Instead, you could support those companies that have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Lucky for you, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has created a handy app called the “Palm Oil Shopping Guide” that will help you discern which products are orangutan-friendly and which aren’t.

This excerpt from an article appeared in animals.io9.com and is courtesy of Jason G. Goldman.  It can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom


Conservation News: Indonesian Law Bars Palm Oil Companies From Protecting Forests

image courtesy of World Land Trust

image courtesy of World Land Trust

By Rhett Butler for Eco-Business

A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers’ commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group.

The report focuses on the zero deforestation policy established in 2011 by Golden-Agri Resources (GAR), Indonesia s largest palm oil producer. It looks at how well that commitment is being implemented for a pilot project across eight concessions in West and Central Kalimantan, provinces in Indonesian Borneo.

…The problem is the lands GAR has set aside for conservation are classified as “plantable” by the Indonesian government. Under a September 29, 2014 revision to the Plantation Act, any area under a Hak Guna Usaha/HGU (Right of Cultivation) permit must be fully cleared and converted for its intended purpose within six years of the license being granted.

If the land isn’t cultivated, it can then be seized by the state and turned over to an entity that will convert the area. Any company that fails to abide by the regulation is subject to fines and revocation of its business license.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of  Ec0-Business and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom