Project information

Safeguarding Priority Orangutan Habitats

Following the devastating forest fires in Borneo triggered by the extreme El Nino dry season of 2015, it is crucial to prevent further loss of orangutan habitat by stepping up our efforts to safeguard and restore priority orangutan habitats.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Foundation logo
  • Need


    The critically endangered Bornean Orangutan has been suffering from loss of habitat as a result of conversion of forest to oil-palm plantations and other agricultural developments, encroachment, illegal logging, and forest fires. This loss of habitat was aggravated during the last extreme El Nino dry season in 2015 that resulted in extensive loss of forest cover due to devastating forest fires. This was exacerbated by the response teams having insufficient capacity to deal with these threats


    By supporting increased patrolling effort in priority habitats to prevent illegal activities, increasing local capacity to deal with outbreaks of forest fires, restoring forest habitats through replanting degraded areas, and reintroducing rescued orangutans back to the wild; these actions will all help to safeguard orangutans and their forest habitats. All these activities will be conducted in collaboration with local stakeholders and authorized government agencies.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Strengthen protection of priority orangutan habitats


    » Operate guard posts and conduct regular patrols to prevent encroachment, illegal logging, and hunting.
    » Increase capacity to prevent and extinguish outbreaks of forest fires.

    From monthly patrol reports showing the areas being monitored and the number of cases of illegal activities being reported, stopped and subsequently resolved.

    Aim 2

    Prevent loss of isolated orangutans


    » Rescue threatened orangutans in danger in isolated forest patches and reintroduce them back to wild.

    From the number of cases of orangutans that were in danger being rescued and, after subsequent medical health screening, reintroduced back to the wild.

    Aim 3

    Restore degraded forests affected by forest fires


    » Collect wild seedlings, nurture in nurseries, then replant in degraded forest lands.

    From the number of wild seedlings replanted in degraded forest lands.

  • Impact


    By increasing capacity of local response teams to carry out patrolling, awareness-raising meetings with communities around conservation areas, fire prevention, and rescuing orangutans, this will have a long-term impact on safeguarding orangutan habitat from degradation and isolated orangutans from persecution.
    The success of this will be demonstrated by GIS analyses of satellite imagery showing no further encroachment or degradation of target areas and a reduction in reports of orangutan losses.


    The main risk would be if local stakeholders were against conserving the target areas. This has been avoided through regular co-ordination with local stakeholders; involving local communities in all activities; and conducting awareness activities with local government agencies and surrounding communities. In addition, multi-stakeholder meetings were held to address management issues and all the main stakeholders signed a multi-party declaration of support for conserving the main target area.


    Donors to this project will have the option of receiving a monthly email update describing progress and related developments. Anyone who wants to see the progress first-hand can join a study tour or volunteer programme.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £75,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £12,000 Rescues/reintroduction Logistics for orangutan rescues; salaries for post-release monitoring staff.
      £8,000 Guard posts Construction and maintenance of guard post.
      £20,000 Patrolling Patrol costs for 6 rangers at 2 guard posts, covering salaries and logistics; joint patrols.
      £9,000 Forest fire prevention Logistics for fire-fighting, community participation, detection system.
      £12,000 Habitat restoration Restoration of degraded forest land; seedling, nursery, replanting costs.
      £6,000 Equipment Purchase and maintenance of long boats and outboard motors for patrolling.
      £4,000 Community extension Agricultural extension and awareness for communities in surrounding area.
      £4,000 Capacity building Training and support for Forestry rangers.
  • Background


    The project is located in Central Kalimantan Province, Indonesian Borneo. The main project site is the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which was established in 1998. The Orangutan Foundation operates a successful programme here to reintroduce orangutans back to the wild. The other location is Tanjung Puting National Park. Both sites are priority habitats for orangutan conservation, and contain many other endangered species, including hornbills, eagles, Proboscis monkeys, gibbons, and Clouded Leopard.


    (i) The world: the target areas mainly comprise peat-swamp forests that are rich in carbon deposits, so protecting these areas contributes to reduced GHG emissions and REDD+ targets.

    (ii) Orangutans and many other endangered species (including Storm’s Stork and Proboscis Monkeys) will benefit from the increased habitat protection.

    (iii) Local communities, students, and the national and international community will benefit from the conservation of these sites of natural heritage.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Orangutan Foundation has worked in conservation for 25 years and supported conservation in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve since its establishment in 1998. The Foundation runs an orangutan reintroduction programme there, as well as a conservation programme to protect the integrity and biodiversity of the Reserve. This includes operating 6 orangutan reintroduction camps and 6 guard posts from where patrols are launched to monitor and protect the Reserve from illegal activities.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Ade Soeharso

    Dr Ade Soeharso is our Programme Manager in Indonesia. He is an expert in orangutan conservation, forestry laws and habitat conservation.

“These great people of the forest are uncannily like us: but their fate hangs in the balance, unlike ours. The Orangutan Foundation champions their cause and protects their fate. Please let us support them with all our might."

Joanna Lumley OBE