GOAL: To protect wild orangutans and their habitat
ACTIONS: Preventing deforestation and reducing other illegal activities in Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve; monitoring forests; conducting daily foot patrols; fighting forest fires in orangutan habitat; regenerating forests; rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing injured or orphaned orangutans
Orangutans were once widespread across south east Asia, but today they are found on only two islands: Borneo and Sumatra. They are coming increasingly under threat from habitat loss, caused by activities like mining, logging, forest fires and palm oil development. An estimated 80% of orangutan habitat has been lost in the past three decades. Illegal hunting is another threat: since orangutans are considered pests, many are shot and killed, and their orphaned infants may become illegal pets if they survive. As a result of these threats, orangutan numbers have severely declined, and Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans are all officially listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Born Free supports the Orangutan Foundation, an organisation that has been working hard for over two decades to protect critical orangutan habitat in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Here, the Orangutan Foundation ensures protected areas stay protected, creates new conservation areas to safeguard orangutan populations and prevents deforestation. To achieve long-term success, they ensure local communities who live alongside orangutans are involved in and supportive of conservation initiatives. They also rescue, rehabilitate and release injured or orphaned individuals.
The Orangutan Foundation has had great success in reducing the number of illegal activities in the forests of Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau Wildlife Reserve by maintaining a high visible presence. Guard posts have been constructed in strategic locations and daily foot patrols deter unwanted visitors. Drone footage also helps to monitor the forests. Fire-fighting teams have been trained and are ready to respond to any reports of forest fires in the critical orangutan habitat. In 2016, the Orangutan Foundation planted 15,000 fire-resistant Ubar tree seedlings after forest fires destroyed 11,000 hectares of the Lamandau Wildlife reserve. Slowly, the forest is regenerating, species are returning and the natural ecosystem is being restored.