Project information

Saving Sumatran Orangutans and their rainforests

We support frontline conservation projects which protect Sumatran orangutans, their forests and their future, and campaign internationally on issues threatening the survival of orangutans in the wild, especially the imminent threat of deforestation.


Charity information: Sumatran Orangutan Society

Sumatran Orangutan Society logo
  • Need


    The Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra is the last stronghold for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. Their precious habitat is being bulldozed and burned to make way for farmlands, roads and mines: deforestation has doubled in recent years, and the number of orangutans being rescued is accelerating. We must act now to stop these irreplaceable forests falling, and give Sumatran orangutans a safe future in the wild, where they belong.


    To save orangutans we must protect their rainforest home and keep it safe in the long-term. We back the courageous 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 this precious ecosystem to become guardians of the forests, and our international campaigns push politicians and businesses to break the link between development and deforestation.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

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


    » Develop community-centred conservation programmes that tackle local drivers of deforestation
    » Secure funding to launch tried and tested projects in new areas, and pilot innovative new approaches with target communities
    » 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

    Campaigning for the protection of rainforests 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
    » Work in coalition with other organisations that share our vision and goals, to create a louder voice to protect Sumatra‚Äôs wildlife

    We will strive to secure greater commitments from businesses & governments to break the link between development and deforestation.

    Aim 3

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


    » Work with schools, universities, businesses, high profile individuals, government and media, using orangutans as ambassadors for their rainforests

    We will shine a spotlight on Sumatra through our network of supporters around the world and build a movement of committed activists.

  • Impact


    Campaigning for change in the way that forests are used and abused in Sumatra is crucial to ensure a sustainable future for orangutans and countless other species and human communities who rely on the rainforest ecosystem.

    Ultimately, our holistic approach will lead to viable and growing populations of Sumatran orangutans, thriving in their natural habitat.


    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. We are committed to finding genuine solutions which enable development & conservation to co-exist.


    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: £60,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £25,000 Campaigning Planning and launching high impact campaigns
      £30,000 Projects Supporting our partners to develop frontline conservation projects
      £5,000 Advocacy Communications and outreach to shine a spotlight on Sumatra
  • Background


    Our international headquarters is in Oxfordshire, UK, and 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, forests and biodiversity, as well as local communities who live next to these fragile habitats. More than 30,000 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 our partner organisation and their team of dedicated Indonesian conservationists enables us to leverage 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 our campaigns 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 10 years and oversees project and campaign development

    Fabien Garnier

    Programme Manager: Fabien leads on the development and management of field projects in Sumatra.

    Panut Hadisiswoyo

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

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