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 mother orangutan is checked by the vet
The mother orangutan is checked by the vet

On Saturday, a villager from Halaban village called the HOCRU team to report a female orangutan with her young baby roaming in a mixed rubber and oil palm plantation. Soon after arriving at the scene, the team found the orangutans isolated in the farmlands.  After more than 5 hours of following the mother orangutan, waiting for her to move into a safe position, they managed to tranquillise her and bring her and her baby down onto the net safely. After a thorough health check, the orangutans were found healthy and had no injuries. The mother is thought to be around 30 years old, and he4r baby around 2 years old.

Both orangutans were released safely into the Leuser Ecosystem in the early evening on the same day.   
Thank you for enabling this vital work to continue. Thanks to your support, these two orangutans, along with more than 60 others so far this year, have a second chance at life in the wild. 
We are working hard to ensure that the precious forests of the Leuser Ecosystem are kept safe, so that Sumatran orangutans have secure habitat in which to roam.
The baby orangutan clings to her mother
The baby orangutan clings to her mother
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Friday lies in the rescue net
Friday lies in the rescue net

A huge male orangutan was evacuated from farmlands last month by the rescue team in Sumatra, and released back into the Leuser forests at dawn the next morning.  

Photographer Paul Hilton accompanied the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit and captured some incredible images of the rescue.

The rescue team had received a call from the government authorities: a local community in Aceh had reported an orangutan trapped in their farmlands. When the team arrived on the scene, they found him in a tiny patch of forest surrounded on all sides by oil palms - plantations spanning the size of 3,000 football fields. There was no way that the orangutan could have survived there for long, nor made it back to safe forests alone.

As it was Good Friday, the orangutan soon became known as Friday by the team. Sedated with a tranquiliser dart, Friday fell 15 metres into the net below.

Having been isolated in such a small patch of trees, he was very underweight, and the vet also found a bullet in his chest, which was removed on the scene. It is likely that Friday would have starved, or been shot again, if he had not been rescued.

Panut Hadisiwoyo, Director of the Orangutan Information Centre, our partner organisation in Sumatra, said, “Over the last 3 years OIC has rescued 64 orangutans stranded just like this one. Adults, juveniles, mothers with babies – they end up in plantations looking for the forest that used to be here, for the fruits they need to survive. Friday’s rescue brought the count for this year to 11 orangutans already. That’s 11 in just 3 months so it’s a real concern”.

At dawn the next morning, Friday was released into the Leuser Ecosystem. As soon as the door of the crate was lifted, he scaled the nearest tree and within seconds was looking down at the rescue team from the forest canopy, shaking branches and vocalising.

These rescues are vital - with so few Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, every life is precious. 

Thank you for your support

A bulldozer inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem
A bulldozer inside the protected Leuser Ecosystem
Member of rescue team aims the tranquiliser dart
Member of rescue team aims the tranquiliser dart
Friday is released into safe forests
Friday is released into safe forests
The vet conducts a medical check up
The vet conducts a medical check up
Friday in the forest canopy
Friday in the forest canopy
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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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Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
Project Leader:
Lucy Radford
Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom
$62,656 raised of $100,000 goal
 
1,201 donations
$37,344 to go
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