OC’s Dr. Anne Russon Featured in New Yorker Article

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

Photograph by Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty

An Orangutan Learns to Fish

by  for The New Yorker

In 1990, while visiting a research camp in central Borneo, the primatologist Anne Russon saw an orangutan nicknamed Supinah attempt to make fire. Supinah sauntered toward an ashy fire pit, picked up a stick glowing with embers, and dipped it into a nearby cup full of liquid. Russon thought that the cup contained water, but it in fact held kerosene. Fortunately, that bath did little more than dampen the wood. Yet Supinah persisted: she got a second glowing stick, blew on it, fanned it with her hands, and rubbed it against other sticks. She never got the right steps in the right order to start a fire, but what foiled her was not her innate intelligence. She had a clear goal in mind and the right kind of brain to achieve it. She just needed a little more practice.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of The New Yorker.  To read the entire story please click here.

The Orangutan Conservancy's Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort - the Orangutan Kutai Project

The Orangutan Conservancy’s Dr. Anne Russon shown here at her current research effort – the Orangutan Kutai Project

 

 

posted by: Tom

 

OC Supports International Day of Action To Save The Leuser Ecosystem

Watch this short but powerful video today and then join the call to action today!

With only a month left in office, will Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will at last fulfill the 2011 promise he made in this video to save the forest?  The Leuser Ecosystem is the home of so many amazing species, including the orangutans, and it is one of the most vulnerable areas in all of Sumatra due to the devastation of palm oil, logging and mining.  The opportunity for change is still there for the President to protect what is left of this fragile, beautiful and important ecosystem.

The Orangutan Conservancy joins our friends at End of the Icons today to say save this amazing ecosystem before it’s too late. 

We also urge you to join this growing movement and take a stand for the International Day of Action. 

Call to Action: September 22nd

What you can do today to help save Leuser and the orangutans there.  Today is the eve of the UN Climate Summit in New York, and thousands of tweets have flooded the Indonesian President’s personal twitter account, @SBYudhoyono, asking him to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, as recent studies found Indonesia to have overtaken Brazil in having the highest rate of deforestation in the world.  The fate of the Leuser Ecosystem rests entirely on the cancellation of an illegal spatial plan drawn up by the government of Aceh province.  Go to Twitter and add your voice to the growing coalition to save the Leuser Ecosystem. With the UN Summit beginning tomorrow, all eyes are on this situation now. 

 

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation Commentary: One Forgotten Island Showcases Indonesia’s Incredible Riches

Not "the" island but a beautiful rainforest ecosystem similar in its lushness where orangutans can thrive.  Photo; from OC archives

Not “the” island but a beautiful rainforest ecosystem similar in its lushness where orangutans can thrive. photo: from OC archives

In this intriguing commentary, scientist and conservationist Erik Meijaard reveals a hidden island where a glimpse of what Indonesia could be actually exists…

By Erik Meijaard for the Jakarta Globe

As our boat sailed towards the forest-clad island, I had no idea what surprise awaited me…

A few months ago I was asked to conduct a wildlife survey on a rarely visited island somewhere in Indonesia. For reasons explained below I will not disclose its name. Suffice to say it is one of the thousands of Indonesian islands without people on it. In terms of the wildlife I saw, the absence of people really showed.

I have worked in Indonesia as a conservation scientist and practitioner for over 20 years. This work has taken me to some pretty amazing places, a few of them really remote. But this recent visit to the forgotten island stands out as one of the most remarkable.

Probably because there are no people and there is thus no hunting on the island, wildlife was very common. I went for a day-time hike, expecting not to see much at all. In most Indonesian forests, and especially those that are hunted, animals hide during the day and come out to feed at night. Not on this island.

Within 10 minutes I saw four species of large and medium-sized mammals that would normally be very hard to see. I didn’t just see the animals, the animals saw me too. And they simply looked, without quite knowing what to make of me. Clearly, the concept of being shot at was entirely foreign to them, unlike their brothers and sisters elsewhere in Indonesia.

We found a huge python, curled up among the stilt roots of a large tree. This species appears to be the main predator on the island, gorging itself on the abundant wildlife.

The trees themselves were remarkable too. There was no sign of logging, no tree stumps, or big open gaps. Just giant pillar-like trees, such as those described in the naturalist literature of the 19th century.

This excerpt from an article appeared in and is courtesy of The Jakarta Globe.  To read the full article please click here.

posted by: Tom

 

Congratulations To Our Conservation Graduate Reza

Reza - in the middle - and other students celebrate their final. The graduation ceremony follows this October

Reza – in the middle – and other students celebrate their final. The graduation ceremony follows this October

Some years back, the Orangutan Conservancy started our Scholarship program for Indonesian college students that  hope to work  in orangutan conservation and forest preservation programs. We’re pleased and proud to announce the graduation of our current scholarship recipient  – Reza Yogapermana.   

Reza just passed his finals and looks forward to the graduation ceremony that takes place in October. Reza’s desire was to attend university in order to learn and work in conservation.

Well, with OC’s help, he has done just that and recently completed studies with flying colors. His four-year degree in Environmental Sciences at Trisakti University, near Jakarta, gives him a great start on his goal to be a conservation leader of tomorrow. Helping to support home-grown talent like Reza can only mean great things for the future of Indonesian conservation programs.  Wherever Reza ends up – maybe even with one of the conseration projects that we help to support – we wish our smiling graduate a bright, happy and healthy future.

Please help support the Orangutan Conservancy and all of the projects that we partner with by visting our make a donation page.

posted by: Tom