Orangutan Foundation Indonesian Borneo Habitat Protection Programme

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Habitat protection & reforestation in Indonesian Borneo

The protection of low-lying tropical forests is crucial to the orangutan’s survival. Two hundred and fifty acres of forest seems a large area – roughly 160 football pitches – but surprisingly, it only supports a small number of orangutans, perhaps two to five individuals. This critically endangered species needs vast areas of intact tropical forest to thrive. Between 1990 and 2015, 67.9 million acres of forest were lost in Indonesia, with Central Kalimantan experiencing one of the highest rates of deforestation. In 2017, Indonesia’s deforestation rate slowed for the first time in decades, with just over one million acres lost.

The tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra provide far more than a home for orangutans. They are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, providing livelihoods for local people and playing a vital role in mitigating climate change. On average, one acre of tropical forest in Indonesia stores 326 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2e), the amount generated by about 69 passenger vehicles being driven for one year.


Orangutan Foundation’s Habitat Protection Programme

The Orangutan Foundation actively protects over 500,000 acres of orangutan habitat in Tanjung Puting National Park home to the largest population of orangutans in Borneo (over 4,000) and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Threats to the forest include hugely destructive forest fires which kill wildlife and destroy the forest. The burning forests release a huge amount of carbon dioxide and are therefore a globally significant source of greenhouse gases. For these reasons, the Foundation supports the training, equipping and deployment of fire-fighting teams in areas of critical orangutan habitat. The programme employs more than 25 local people trained in fire-fighting and SMART-technology forest patrolling and maintains a network of ten guard posts, built in strategic locations, to prevent and monitor access to the protected areas. Each post is a base from which forest and river patrols are launched. Each post patrols a 5 km radius (approximately 20,000 acres per post).



As well as protecting these vast swathes of forest, Orangutan Foundation has a Forest Restoration Programme in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, where to date over 60,000 saplings have been planted out in areas that were previously damaged by fires. As the forest regenerates, so will the natural ecosystem.

Lamandau is a 158,000 acre habitat home to 600 critically endangered orangutans. The reserve is one of the few sites where rescued orangutans are released back into the wild. To ensure the orangutans return successfully they are monitored from five release camps by a team of Indonesian staff and a vet.

Funds donated from Explorers Against Extinction’s carbon for conservation programme will support Orangutan Foundation’s vital work.