Film: Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy


International Orangutan Day Approaches


August 19th marks a special day each year as extra special attention is paid to our forest friends – orangutans.

Though the mission of protecting, saving and healing orangutans goes on year round, on the 19th many of the world’s like-minded conservation organizations and countless others around the globe step up their work and raise their voices even louder to help Asia’s sole great ape.

Join the Orangutan Conservancy and over 30 other organizations as we come together to remind the public that much more must be done if orangutans are going the win the battle for survival.

At home, at work and on-line, take a moment to share the word about orangutans.  Together we can do so much more.

#OrangutanDay is the start of your message to share.

posted by: Tom


Orangutan Conservancy OC/OVAG Workshop Updates

Here we are on our last day, posing with our new head lamps, courtesy of Barbel Khoeler and ABAXIS.

Here we are on our last day, posing with our new head lamps, courtesy of Barbel Khoeler and ABAXIS.

Day 5 – Final Day

by Raffaella Commitante

Well, we have wound up the final day of OVAG 2016 and it has been an amazing workshop – full of many challenges. Eye work was the definite top winner in the challenge contest as many orangutans do suffer from eye issues and the vets were hungry for more training.

ocovag final day 2016 2

Dr. AJ Marlar, one of the few (perhaps the only) wildlife ophthalmologists is meeting that challenge – she promises to come back next year as well as visiting center’s individually to address specific eye issues!!! 

Though it was not all work! We did have our new resident barista, vet Ricko Jaya brought his hand grinder, espresso coffee pot and burner (yes, he makes espresso in the field!!!) and made us all cups of the most delicious Sumtran coffee…WOW!!!!

Mr. Cool – OVAG barista, RIcko (forget it ladies – he is taken as he is Yenny’s husband)

Mr. Cool – OVAG barista, RIcko (forget it ladies – he is taken as he is Yenny’s husband)

Next year we will be back in Jogja, but Ricko has extended an invitation to hold our 2018 (and 10th workshop) in Aceh, Northern Sumatra.

Day 4

ocovag 2016 yenny and steve

Steve Unwin (OC/OVAG co-founder) of Chester Zoo congratulating Yenny on her upcoming trip to present at IPS (he will meet her there as he is attending as well!!!)

by Raffaella Commitante

Today was a very exciting day as we were able to see the benefits of our OVAG network in real time. Yenny, one of our OVAG vets (from SOCP), had her abstract accepted for this year’s IPS (International Primate Society) meeting in Chicago.  Sadly, she was not able to find funding to go and present – until our OVAG meeting!  Thanks to our friends Nancy Lung (Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine) who was at this year’s OVAG and Joe Smith of Ft. Wayne Children’s Zoo (who has attended OVAG in the past) – within 24 hours – funding for Yenny came through!!!! She will leave in two weeks for America where she will be not only able to attend the IPS meeting but also attend the Orangutan SSP meeting in Wisconsin.  Her journey will continue when she flies to Seattle as the guest of Dr. AJ Marlar, a wildlife ophthalmologist who was also at this year’s OVAG – our network of friends helping friends is truly an amazing resource.

ocovagday 4 breakout group

One of our break out group sessions – diligently working together!!!!

Here I am giving a presentation on Orangutan Behavior (explaining how similar it can be to Human behavior)

Here I am giving a presentation on Orangutan Behavior (explaining how similar it can be to Human behavior)

Days 2 & 3


Sabah 3

by Raffaella Commitante,

Hello again OVAG fans!!!!

Days two and three were packed with work!!!! A very intense respiratory disease presentation and some very interesting orangutan case studies along with an OVAG strategy meeting where we discussed design options for a new logo and possibilities for our vets to go to conferences !!!! A very, very fun and informative orthopedic session where I was the wounded orangutan needing emergency fracture care followed by mammal eye issues and ways to identify specific lesions that appear on and in the eye, with a focus on orangutan eyes. Most orangutan eye issues seen by our vets are due to gun pellets that either get lodged and cannot be removed (as long as the tissue is healthy they do not necessarily need to be tampered with); or the damage to the eye is so severe that it needs to be removed.

Sabah 4

A very intense day – but we had some relief when we visited the Sabah Wildlife Department genetics lab while there was a down pour!!!! Wet but fun and informative  – AND it was our group photo day as you can see we are all wearing our OVAG t-shirts!!!!!! Continue reading »

posted by: Tom


Pre-Workshop dispatch from OC’s Raffaella Commitante

Raff 2016 at Samboja Lestari

Hello All,

Yes, it is that time of the year again – time for the OC/OVAG 2016 Veterinary Workshop – our 8th event! 

Before I head of to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (northern Malaysian, Borneo where we will have the workshop) I visited my very good friends at the BOSF Samboja Lestari Orangutan Reintroduction Program. 

Here I am with the team in the forest showing off our coveralls sporting the Orangutan Conservancy logo. 

And here’s another shot of a very happy, hardworking team! 

Raff at Samboja Lestari 2016 3

In case anyone is interested, it is time again for some new coveralls for the 160 workers in Samboja Lestari.  So if anyone wants to donate to OC so we can once again get the workers outfitted – please send whatever you can – it all adds up – remember, it is not important how much you give, but that you give!

I am off now to Sabah for OC/OVAG pre prep – then on July 24th we will begin the workshop – so stay tuned as regular updates will be coming soon. 




posted by: Tom


Orangutan News: Baby Orangutan Rescued From Illegal Owner in Aceh

photo courtesy of: ANTARA FOTO/Irsan Mulyadi

photo courtesy of: ANTARA FOTO/Irsan Mulyadi

from the Jakarta Globe

A rescue team consisting of activists and provincial conservation officers evacuated a Sumatran orangutan baby from an Army post in East Aceh on Sunday.

As reported by environmental news website Mongabay Indonesia, the one-year-old orangutan female was found badly malnourished with several wounds on her body, possibly caused by a blunt object used to paralyze the animal.

After giving her food and vitamins, the rescue team will send the orangutan to the Batu Mbelin Quarantine Center in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, for medical treatment due to her critical condition, said Panut Hadisiswoyo, director of the Sumatra Lestari Orangutan Foundation-Orangutan Information Center, as quoted by Mongabay.

The website also reported that Abu, a resident of Simpang Jernih district, kept the orangutan baby on his estate for a year after claiming that she had been abandoned by her mother. He later left the youngster at the Army post.

“It’s impossible for orangutan mothers to leave their babies,” said Krisna, a representative of the Orangutan Information Center, as quoted by Mongabay.

Orangutans are easily captured and hunted in the Mount Leuser National Park due to massive deforestation, stranding orangutans in ever shrinking habitats, limiting their movements and making them vulnerable to hunters.

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

The Orangutan Conservancy is pleased to be able to help support the work of the Orangutan Information Center in Sumatra.

posted by: Tom