Apply to Join

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
A young Sumatran orangutan female in Gunung Leuser
A young Sumatran orangutan female in Gunung Leuser

Understanding Sumatran orangutans: a key to protect them!

By Fabien Garnier – SOS Conservation Programme Manager

                In the Leuser Ecosystem, located in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces, Indonesia, rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Illegal logging, infrastructure development, energy projects, non sustainable land use plans and the expansion of monocultures are taking a toll on the Sumatran orangutans habitat, leaving them more and more vulnerable to poaching, hunting and traffic. While we understand that economic development is essential for local communities and poverty alleviation, but to reach sustainable development and our conservation goals, we need all actors to understand why Sumatran orangutans and their habitat are so important.

                That’s why our Human Orangutan Conflict Response Units (HOCRU) do not focus on translocation of isolated orangutans or freeing illegal kept great apes only. A huge part of their work is dedicated to raise awareness about conservation issues among local populations. Two main publics are targeted: schools, as the children of today are the conservation leaders of tomorrow, and farmers, as they suffer from orangutans raiding their crops.

                In schools, our teams are presenting Sumatran orangutans and their habitat, explaining why they are vital to the whole ecosystem and how they live. During the last 3 months, more than 200 students have been reached by our teams during school sessions based on interactions, games, songs and the distribution of booklets and brochures. As Samira, a 14 years old schoolgirl of Babarok village: “We live next to orangutans, and they look like nice pets, especially when they are babies. But today I understood that they are wild animals, beautiful and mighty, but wild, and their house is the rainforest”. Muhammad, 15 years old, added: “Now I understand them, I learnt to love them and I want to protect them. They are so similar to us in many aspects, but also so special. Yes, they are unique”.

                With smallholders and local farmers, the issue is different. With the rainforest being logged and chopped down, Sumatran orangutans tend to come closer to villages and crops. Some farmers can lose a huge part of their income when a single orangutan is raiding their fruit trees. But solutions exist: bamboo cannon to scare away orangutans, avoiding planting crops near the forest border and calling HOCRU teams when orangutans are spotted by villagers. These village meetings are essential to change the perception of villagers toward orangutans. They can become forests stewards and the first conservationists in the field. Brahim, 38 years old, told us: “For me, orangutans were pests. When they come into my durian plantation, the result can be catastrophic for me and my family. But HOCRU team introduced us to conflict mitigation technics. And if these were to fail, we know they are here to help us. No, killing orangutans is not the solution, we have ways to live together in harmony”.

                Between March and May 2017, our 2 HOCRU teams also conducted 7 translocations of isolated orangutans and rescued 2 illegally kept babies. Additionnally, they conducted field surveys to identify new and safe release sites.  A wonderful work that would not be possible without your help and support.

Thank you for your invaluable support of this vital work. 

Fabien Garnier, Conservation Programme Manager

Sumatran Orangutan Society

info@orangutans-sos.org

School visit in Babarok village
School visit in Babarok village
Working closely with local farmers
Working closely with local farmers
Rescue of a male orangutan raiding crops
Rescue of a male orangutan raiding crops

Links:

Released into the Gunung Leuser National Park
Released into the Gunung Leuser National Park

Review of 2016

What have you helped us achieve so far?

In 2016, our two HOCRU (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit) teams rescued 28 Sumatran Orangutans in and around the Leuser Ecosystem, located in North Sumatra and Aceh provinces of Indonesia. 16 were rescued from agriculture plantations (mostly oil palm) or very small patches of remaining forests. 12 others were confiscated from illegal wildlife trade and trafficking.

Additionally, our teams spent time traning local communities in various methods of avoiding human-orangutan conflict and visited several schools in the area to raise awareness on the important role of orangutans in re-seeding the forest.

And the first 2 months of 2017 reminded us quickly that our action on the ground is needed more than ever.

On 21 and 22 of January, one of our HOCRU teams, in collaboration with the BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency) rescued a mother (25 years old) and her baby (1 year old) who were stranded in a tiny patch of forest lost in the middle of oil palm plantations. In such conditions, the life of the orangutans is at stake as they represent an easy prey for poachers, who usually kill the mother in order to take and sell the baby to the illegal wildlife market. Hence our team intervened quickly and released the mother and her baby in the Gunung Leuser National Park after checking their health.

A few days later, on February 2nd, an adult female orangutan (around 25 years old) was rescued by a team composed of HOCRU, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) and BKSDA (Nature Conservation Agency) in North Sumatra. This innocent orangutan was found with various injuries and was very weak, probably due to abuse by her “owner” to “tame” her as she was most probably recently taken from the wild. He called BKSDA after keeping the female for 1 week but didn’t disclose where and how he bought or got her. The orangutan was then transferred to SOCP quarantine near Medan to recover.

Meanwhile the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) plans to revise its environmental standards and safeguards. We will have follow the negotiations closely and engage directly with the relevant stakeholders to push for stricter standards, controls and sanctions towards the companies who destroy orangutan habitat and threaten their survival. Increased consumer pressure from people in the west like you does pay dividends. HSBC have recently announced a more stringent “No deforestation, no peat, no exploitation” policy with regards to funding palm oil companies. This followed on from a Greenpeace report into their existing funding practices which generated considerable media coverage and consumer outrage.

2017 will be another challenging year, and SOS and its partners are ready to tackle all the issues we will encounter. Our priorities this year will be to continue rescuing all orangutans in danger or captivity, pushing for prosecution of offenders and campaigning against companies who violate environmental safeguards.

Thank you for your invaluable support of this vital work. 

Fabien Garnier, Conservation Programme Manager

Sumatran Orangutan Society

info@orangutans-sos.org

 

PS: If you want to ensure the protection of the unique and special orangutan for the long-term, might you be able to give monthly?

injured female
injured female
open wounds
open wounds
Gunung Leuser National Park from a drone
Gunung Leuser National Park from a drone

Links:

evacuation from forest destroyed by PT Sisirau
evacuation from forest destroyed by PT Sisirau

We are still having to rescue Sumatran orangutans from danger at an alarming rate. In fact, if anything, demand for the services of our rescue team are growing., But although on the surface this sounds like bad news, we actually see it as evidence that calling our rescue team has become a first port of call, instead of someone shooting an orangutan.

 Unfortunately the destruction of their habitat is still ongoing and the more orangutans come into contact with humans, the more likely they are to suffer. If you depend on your small field to provide enough food to feed your family, it’s not surprising you get cross when an orangutans comes and eats half your crop. For this reason, as well as rescuing the orangutans in question and releasing them again further from human populations, we also work with the villagers to teach them techniques for scaring the orangutans away, rather than harming them.

There has been significant coverage in the media of the impact of large-scale palm oil plantations on orangutan habitat. We are delighted to be able to report that more than four years after we made an official complaint against one of its members, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has this month confirmed the expulsion of PT Ibris Palm, whose subsidiary company PT Sisirau is responsible for the destruction of orangutan habitat in Sumatra. The RSPO is a body which regulates certified sustainable palm oil, aiming to limit the negative environmental and social impacts of the industry.

In 2012, seven orangutans were evacuated from an oil palm plantation managed by PT Sisirau in Aceh province, Sumatra. SOS filed a complaint with the RSPO, submitting evidence that the company had continued to bulldoze patches of forest even after being alerted to the presence of orangutans within the plantation.

To date the rescue team have rescued 110 orangutans from isolated forests and the illegal pet trade. Orangutan rescues and translocations carry extreme risks for the animals and people involved, and are only carried out as a last resort if orangutans are considered to be in danger of starvation, injury or death.

All seven orangutans that were evacuated from PT Sisirau's plantation in 2012 were safely released into the Leuser Ecosystem, a protected area and the last stronghold for the species. Thank you for making this vital work possible. It’s important though, that we try to prevent the problems occurring in the first place, which is why we also devote our resources to lobbying the law-enforcement agencies to enforce the laws. For this reason, the HOCRU team increased their visits to local communities and schools. They monitor orangutan habitat and population growth in villages adjacent to the Leuser Ecosystem, including educating local people about the vital part the orangutans play in maintaining the health of the forest.

You may be aware that Nov 29 is #GivingTuesday. On this day, any donations you make to our project via GlobalGiving will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Please give if you can and help us to provide a safe future for these increadible creatures.

baby screaming in terror in PT Sisirau plantation
baby screaming in terror in PT Sisirau plantation

Links:

An adult male orangutan was trapped in  farmlands
An adult male orangutan was trapped in farmlands

Sumatran lowland rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate, and unfortunately the Leuser Ecosystem, the last stronghold of the Sumatran orangutan, is not spared from this destruction.

The expansion of farmlands, especially oil palm plantations, continuous forest and national park encroachment by smallholder farmers, the development of roads and other infrastructure, all lead to the disappearance of this beautiful species' home, making it more vulnerable to humans and extinction every day. But thanks to your wonderful support, orangutans have a lifeline: the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Units!

Since the end of July, our HOCRU teams in Aceh and North Sumatra provinces rescued and assisted 8 Sumatran orangutans (3 babies, 1 female and 4 males). The 4 males had been found in community farmland near the shrinking rainforests. The loss of their habitat brings an increasing number of orangutan near human settlements and agricultural land where they are in danger of human attacks, air riffles shots or captivity - the fate of the 2 babies and 1 female our HOCRU teams confiscated from villagers, along with 6 slow lorises, 2 siamangs and 2 gibbons.

Awareness and law enforcement are also key priorities to save the Sumatran orangutan so our HOCRU teams multiplied their interventions among local communities and schools. While conducting orangutan habitat and population surveys in 8 villages, HOCRU members play a vital role in sensitizing villagers, local authorities and students (440 during the past 3 months!) to the role of forests and biodiversity.

Finally, to prepare new orangutan conservationists and veterinarians as part of their apprectinceship programme, the HOCRU teams have selected an internship fellow student and participated in the Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG) 2016 Workshop held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

Thank you for your invaluable support of this vital work. Please consider setting up a monthly donation or sharing this project with your friends and family.

A school visit
A school visit
A baby orangutan confiscated from the pet trade
A baby orangutan confiscated from the pet trade
The two HOCRU teams
The two HOCRU teams

The Sumatran Orangutan Society is really pleased to introduce you to our new HOCRU team who have been operating in South Aceh since April this year, having been trained by our first HOCRU team based in Medan! The HOCRU programme covers a huge area, across the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, and with increasing reports of orangutans in danger, the new team are vital in safeguarding wild orangutans. We would like to extend our gratitude to all our supporters.

In just 3 months, our 2 HOCRU teams have confiscated 4 orangutans from the illegal pet trade and evacuated 5 from conflict situations, with the collaboration of the Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA), local community members and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.

Both teams are also involved in community interviews about human-orangutan conflict, monitoring isolated orangutans, and surveying potential release sites.

In May, a typical case of an illegally kept orangutan rescue reminded us how critically endangered this species is, and what a vital lifeline the rescue teams are. On May 30th, we rescued a very large male orangutan locked in a small cage in an army complex in Kabanjahe, North Sumatra. The orangutan, estimated to be 20 years old and named Krismon by the 'owner', was taken from his mother in 1997 (she would undoubtedly have been killed during his capture) and given to an army commander who then kept Krismon to his home as a pet. 

When Krismon grew into an adult male orangutan, the owner locked him in a small cage. The team has persistently investigated this case since the end of last year and finally found Krismon being kept in terrible conditions. Surprisingly, Krismon was found in good health and has been handed over to the SOCP care centre in North Sumatra. He is now undergoing thorough health checks - it is not known at this stage whether he will be able to return to the forest, after almost 20 years in captivity.

“He has never learnt to make a nest, or to climb high trees to forage, but now he is at the quarantine centre, he may learn quickly, so you never know,” Hadisiswoyo said. “If not, he will be able to go to the new Orangutan Haven being created by the SOCP. It would still be a wonderful life for him compared to what he has suffered so far.”

Thank you for your invaluable support of this vital work. Please consider setting up a monthly donation or sharing this project with your friends and family. 

Tree climbing training
Tree climbing training
Female orangutan near a plantation
Female orangutan near a plantation
Monitoring isolated orangutans
Monitoring isolated orangutans
Krismon in the cage where he was kept for 20 years
Krismon in the cage where he was kept for 20 years
A brighter future for Krismon
A brighter future for Krismon
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
Project Leader:

UK Director
Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom
$31,765 raised of $40,000 goal
 
820 donations
$8,235 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Sumatran Orangutan Society has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser
* This project is competing for bonus prizes
through the Year End Campaign 2019. Terms and conditions apply.

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.