Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra

by Sumatran Orangutan Society
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
Orangutan Rescue: On the frontline in Sumatra
The rescue team in Sumatra have done it again! We have just heard that earlier today they  evacuated a mother orangutan and her baby, who were trapped in farmlands in South Aceh. 

This brings the total to 7 orangutans rescued this year, and four this month alone

Photographer Craig Jones is shadowing the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit and documenting their vital work, and has just sent some amazing photos of the rescue.

Both mother and baby were given a thorough health check in the field by the team's vet, Dr. Ricko.They were given a clean bill of health and immediately taken to the Gunung Leuser   National Park, not a straightforward operation, as can be seen in the photo!

They were released into the forest within an hour, and the mother orangutan swung off into the canopy, with her baby clinging to her side.

The rescue team do an incredible job, helping orangutans in danger to have a future in the wild, where they belong. They are already planning their next rescue mission - we'll share more news soon.

Thank you for supporting this project - it is thanks to your donations that the rescue team are able to save precious lives.
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Cece is now in safe hands
Cece is now in safe hands

This week has been a busy one for the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) in Sumatra. 

On Sunday they confiscated Cece, a young female orangutan, from an amusement park in Sibolangit, and yesterday the team evacuated a big cheekpadder male orangutan from farmlands in Aceh that are about to be turned into an oil palm plantation.

Cece, thought to be around 5 years old, was being kept in a tiny, dirty cage. Now she is in safe hands with our friends at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, and we hope will one day return to the forest.

The wild male orangutan rescued yesterday has already been released back to the wild.
 

The HOCRU team deliver crucial and urgent assistance to orangutans in desperate situations, and have now saved the lives of more than 50 orangutans. 

Sadly, these rescues and evacuations are not uncommon, and there are many more orangutans that need help to return to the wild, where they belong.

Your donations mean so much to the team, who work tirelessly for the welfare and protection of these magnificent animals. With so few Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, every life counts, and we hope you will continue to support this vital work.

Please consider making a regular monhtly gift to this project, or sharing it with your friends and family so that they can join you in helping orangutans. Together, we stand strong for our red-haired cousins.

Thank you.

 

(Photos of Cece by Gita Defoe / Photographers Without Borders)

Cece has been saved from terrible conditions
Cece has been saved from terrible conditions
The wild male orangutan is checked by the vet
The wild male orangutan is checked by the vet
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The baby orangutan clings to his mother
The baby orangutan clings to his mother

The Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), our partner organisation in Sumatra, has conducted a dramatic rescue of a mother and baby orangutan. Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered and without urgent action could be the first Great Ape species to become extinct, so protecting every individual is crucial. 

On 20 January, the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) rescued the female orangutan and her baby, thought to be around 6 months old, from a patch of forest surrounded by farmlands in Ujung Padang village, South Aceh. The orangutans were isolated in some trees that were due to be cleared and planted with oil palms to produce palm oil, an ingredient found in up to half of packaged foods found on supermarket shelves.

HOCRU were assisted by the government national park office and BKSDA (Natural Resources Conservation Agency).

Panut Hadisiswoyo, Founder and Director of the OIC, said “The rescue didn't go entirely as planned, because after she had been sedated with a tranquiliser dart, the mother orangutan found an old nest and fell asleep, rather than dropping down into the net being held below to catch her. One of the team had to climb the tree and help to bring them down. Neither orangutan had any injuries, although the baby, a male around 6 months old, was thought to be underweight.” 

Both mother and baby were released together into the Gunung Leuser National Park within two hours, and quickly climbed a tree and swung off into the canopy.     

While this rescue is good news, there are still more orangutans in need of urgent help. Conflict between humans and orangutans is a growing problem.

Helen Buckland, Director of SOS, explains: “As more forest is replaced by oil palm plantations, more orangutans become isolated in forest patches. They are at serious risk of starvation or being killed if they wander into plantations in search of food. We set up the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) with the OIC, our partners in Sumatra, to address this problem. The HOCRU team have saved the lives of more than 50 orangutans in the last two years, and are receiving more reports of animals needing help all the time.”

Helen said: “Every rescue is a high-risk operation for both the orangutans and the team, and an evacuation is only carried out as a last resort when the orangutan’s life is in greater danger if left in their current situation. With only around 6,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, every individual is crucial for the survival of the species. We urgently need to raise funds so that the team in Sumatra can continue to help orangutans in danger, as well as supporting our projects and campaigns that work to protect and restore their forest home.”

The work of SOS and OIC is only possible with the help of our supporters. Please consider sharing this project report with your networks, and help us raise more funds so that the rescue team can reach more orangutans in danger.

The rescue team carry the orangutans to safety
The rescue team carry the orangutans to safety

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The orangutan is tranquilised & given health check
The orangutan is tranquilised & given health check

An adult male orangutan was rescued yesterday from a rubber plantation in Karang Jadi village, Batang Serangan sub district, Langkat, North Sumatra.

The evacuation was carried out by the Orangutan Information Centre's HOCRU team (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit) along with support from the Indonesian government's BKSDA team.

The orangutan was a large cheekpadder,  estimated to be 30 years old. Local people reported that the adult male orangutan and a few other orangutans had been in their village for a long time, cut off from the forest by an oil palm plantation.  Villagers from Karya Jadi told the rescue team that the orangutan had damaged their crops and had even chased local farmers in their rubber plantations. The farmers had threatened to kill the orangutan unless he was relocated, as their feared for their lives and their livelihoods. 

The orangutan was safely tranquilised and brought down from a rubber tree, then given a thorough health check by the OIC's vet, Dr. Ricko. The government authority approved the immediate release of the orangutan back into the forest, so he was transported to the forest restoration site within the Gunung Leuser National Park, part of the Leuser Ecosystem, and released the same day. 

All evacuations of this nature are inherently high-risk for the orangutans and the rescue team, and are only carried out as a last resort if the orangutan's life is in greater danger if not relocated. SOS and OIC work hard to protect Sumatran orangutans and secure a future for them in the wild through conservation programmes and campaigns that keep their forest home safe.

Thank you so much for supporting this vital work, your donations to the rescue team mean that they can help more orangutans in danger and give them a second chance at life in the wild. 

The rescue team check the orangutan for injuries
The rescue team check the orangutan for injuries
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Orangutan rescue
Orangutan rescue

The Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) has been featured in a primetime BBC documentary, Wonders of the Monsoon.

Paul Williams and Jon Clay, members the crew who filmed with our team, have written an excellent blog post about the experience.

Paul says:

"At the end of this episode we feature, what for me, was one of the most emotional shoots I have ever done. I joined cameraman and producer Jon Clay to help document the story of a select group of people, part of the Sumatran Orangutan Society, who have dedicated their lives to protecting and rescuing one of our closest cousins - the Sumatran orangutan. My primary role was to document the shoot for our 'behind the scenes' section that follows the main show. The result is a sequence that I hope will inspire you to stop and think."

You can read the rest of their account and watch some emotional behind the scenes footage online (see link below).

Thank you for helping us to reach these orangutans in danger, on behalf of the HOCRU team.

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Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
Project Leader:
Lucy Radford
Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom
$52,186 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,092 donations
$47,814 to go
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