Project information

Saving Sumatran Orangutans and their rainforests

We protect Sumatran orangutans, their forests and their future.
We build local and international partnerships to prevent deforestation. We campaign globally for changes to government policy and corporate practice to give orangutans a fighting chance.


Charity information: Sumatran Orangutan Society

Sumatran Orangutan Society logo
  • Need


    The Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra is home to the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. This year a new species was discovered which needs protection too. It's under threat from a proposed dam. Their precious forest is being bulldozed and burned to make way for farmlands, roads and mines: deforestation has doubled in recent years, and we are having to rescue more and more orangutans. Please act now to stop these forests dying, and give orangutans a safe future in the wild, where they belong.


    Orangutans need trees. We protect their forest home and keep it safe long-term. We back the brave men and women on the frontline in Sumatra, the people who plant the tree seedlings, chainsaw the illegal oil palms, evacuate orangutans in danger and patrol the forests.
    We help the people living next to Leuser become guardians of the forests.
    We also lobby politicians, financiers and businesses to change their way of working, so that Sumatra can learn to thrive without destroying the forest.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Supporting local communities to become guardians of the rainforest, defending it from future threats


    » Develop community-centred conservation programmes which help local people find ways to grow their income without destroying the forest
    » Secure funding to launch tried and tested projects in new areas, and pilot innovative new approaches with local smallholders and villages
    » Measure project outcomes and continually develop programmes to have the greatest possible impact and legacy
    » Share knowledge and skills with the conservation community, so that successful projects can be used as models of positive action

    We will expand the network of 'conservation villages' neighbouring the Leuser Ecosystem, where communities are actively engaged in protecting and restoring the forests.

    Aim 2

    Prevent deforestation to ensure a safe future for orangutans in the wild


    » Tackle the root causes of habitat loss by calling on businesses & governments to commit to deforestation-free palm oil
    » Respond to emergency situations such as forest fires, illegal clearance, and destructive development plans
    » Pre-empt and prevent forest destruction by working with other organisations to create grass-root led campaigns to prevent deforestation

    We will measure deforestation in Sumatra together with partners on the ground and use this information to inform where our efforts need to be most strongly directed.

    Aim 3

    Increase public awareness of the threats facing the Sumatran orangutan and positive action.


    » Work with businesses, high profile individuals, and government, using orangutans as ambassadors for their rainforests
    » Run a schools-based rainforest education programme available free of charge to primary schools around the world to inspire the next generation
    » Recruit and train volunteers to share their passion in the real and virtual world to inspire others to join our mission of saving orangutans

    We will record the number of committed supporters, schools, readers and engaged followers we have around the world and build a movement of committed activists.

  • Impact


    We will secure the future of Sumatran orangutans and their forests.
    Our vision is of a viable, thriving and growing population of orangutans living healthy, wild and free in their protected rainforest home. Local communities are actively engaged in activities which sustain the forest, and protected areas are free of encroachment. Illegal activities have ceased as laws are effectively enforced. People, both in Sumatra and around the world, are passionate about forest and orangutan conservation


    The threats facing Indonesia's forests & wildlife & the balance between development & conservation are complex. We work at a grassroots level with communities as well as influencing decision makers & businesses.
    There are risks that we try to mitigate. e.g. we need a license to operate in Leuser Ecosystem and work to develop good relationships with key government departments and powerful commercial players. We invest time in building good relationships.


    We will share updates from our field projects, including camera trap photos showing wildlife returning to our forest restoration site and news of orangutan rescues, and will keep donors informed of new campaign actions and project developments.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £70,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £20,000 Preventing Deforestation Working in partnership with other NGOs and local communities to prevent forest destruction
      £20,000 Helping orangutans Supporting our partners to rescue orangutans and re-release them into safe forest
      £20,000 Conserving in tact rainforest Working with NGOs around the world to bring expert campaigners together to save Sumatra's forests
      £10,000 Global Campaign Raising awareness of Sumatra and inspiring the next generation of conservationists
  • Background


    Our international headquarters is in Oxfordshire, UK. Our partner organisations are based in Medan with field sites throughout North Sumatra and Aceh provinces in Sumatra, Indonesia


    Our projects and campaigns benefit Sumatran orangutans, (132 rescued to date) forests and biodiversity, as well as local communities who live next to these fragile habitats. More than 50,000 people have participated in, and benefited from, the projects we support in Sumatra, including farmers & agricultural communities, eco-tourism guides, school children, university students, government officials, Islamic leaders, and communities living next to the Leuser Ecosystem.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Our close collaboration with partner organisations and their teams of dedicated Indonesian conservationists enables us to have real impact on the ground. Together, we create projects that empower local people to take an active role in the conservation of their own natural resources. This partnership also means that we can respond quickly to needs and opportunities, and our international networks provide a platform to share the successes and challenges of conservation in Sumatra.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Helen Buckland

    SOS Director: Helen has led SOS for 13 years and oversees project and campaign development

    Rachel Groves

    Development Director: Rachel leads on communicating the impact of our projects on the grouns

    Panut Hadisiswoyo

    Founder & Director of the Orangutan Information Center, our partners in Sumatra. Winner of a Whitley Award in 2015 for his remarkable contribution.

    Social Media Volunteers

    We currently have 9 social media volunteers whose role is to publicise the impact of the work on the ground and raise awareness of the issues

Wild Sumatran orangutan (by Andrew Walmsley)

Wild Sumatran orangutan (by Andrew Walmsley)


could plant a tree seedling in Sumatra to restore damaged orangutan habitat.

Having had the privilege of seeing wild orangutans, I am steadfast in my belief that we must do all that we can to protect these magnificent creatures

Brian Blessed, Actor and SOS Patron