Author Topic: The Orangutan Diaries /News from the Jungle  (Read 52253 times)


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The Orangutan Diaries /News from the Jungle
« on: December 06, 2007, 06:45:16 AM »
Hello everyone,

Please contribute to this thread.

I have been given the opportunity to work full time with the orangutan project and this has given me fulfilment I never thought would exist.

I have therefore asked the members of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, some of whom are writers, to join My Writers Circle.   I felt they would also benefit from the friendly welcome that is always open to our members.

There appears to be a lot of missing knowledge amongst the general public about the problems with the rainforest, we discovered this on our recent visit to England, and I thought this was my opportunity to write about the project and allow you to ask questions.

We need your help to create awareness through your writing skills.  If you need information please check out the web site  Please write to magazines, editors letters and even your own blog.  Every little bit of support counts and one person can make a difference.

We will update this topic and tell the latest stories about the plight of the apes in Borneo.   In this respect we hope it will help with a better understanding of the problems we have yet to face.

A few years ago we had only 100 rescued orangutans, now we have 640 at a cost of 90 pence per day (approx $2) to feed.  Its a huge operation managed by Lone Droscher Nielsen at the Nyaru Menteng Reserve. (Latest update October 2009 we now have over 700)

On the following message is a recent story which I hope you will find interesting and comment.

Thanks for your understanding and please feel free to campaign on our behalf.


 Field notes

Orang-utans will be extinct in ten years if they continue to disappear at the current rate of 5,000 a year
In the last decade the population has fallen by 50%
Orang-utans have lost about 80% of their habitat in the last 20 years
Each orang-utan needs the equivalent of about ten football pitches of rainforest to live. Every minute the equivalent of three football pitches is being destroyed

Picture of Wiwik and Baby Wiwik
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 03:48:56 AM by Orangutansaver »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries (please support)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 06:46:39 AM »
Hidden colony of orangutans is discovered in the forests of Borneo
By Daniel Howden
Published: 03 December 2007

Conservationists working to combat deforestation on the island of Borneo have uncovered a “hidden colony” of 800 orang-utans in an area under imminent threat from the expansion of the palm oil industry.

The previously uncounted apes have been found in the Sungai Putri, a tract of rare peat swamp forest in the West Kalimantan province of Indonesian Borneo. But the area has recently been rezoned by local government and concessions for palm oil plantations could be sold at any time.

Frank Momberg, country director of the conservation group Flora and Fauna international, is part of a group of scientists and environmentalists who were studying the massive carbon deposits in the area when they came upon the colony. “Local people knew of course [that they were there],” he said. “But no scientist had … recorded this population before.”

Mr Momberg is leading an urgent effort to protect the 57,000-acre forest and guarantee a future for the orang-utans and other endangered species in Sungai Putri, as well as the millions of tons of carbon it secures.

Borneo is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and is at the epicentre of deforestation worldwide. Half of all tropical timber used on the planet comes from this one island. Peat swamp forests like Sungai Putri are among the most important carbon sinks on the planet, yet vast areas of them have been drained in recent years for conversion to agricultural land, releasing millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The swampy floor of Sungai Putri, thick with decaying trees and rich organic matter up to 11m deep in places, is not only a dense, deep carbon sink, says Mr Momberg, but the “most efficient terrestrial ecosystem for the sequestration of carbon”.

Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of all carbon released into the atmosphere and Indonesia’s slash and burn policies have already seen the country become the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

It has also meant massive habitat loss for Asia’s only great ape. The orang-utan could be the first great ape to be made extinct. The “man of the forest” used to be common throughout Asia but now survives only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. There are some 7,000 Sumatran orang-utans left and the estimated population of 40,000 remaining on Borneo is also in steep decline.

Delegates at the climate talks in Bali will be asked to radically expand the Kyoto Protocol which would see countries like Indonesia rewarded for avoiding further deforestation.

If the proposals, backed by scientists, environmentalists, developing nations and a growing business lobby, can be agreed, areas such as Sungai Putri could be worth millions of dollars and play a key role in combating climate change.

But the quick returns offered from palm oil mean the threat to the forest remains real and 70 per cent of Sungai Putri could be wiped out within five years.

“Farmers use fire to clear the land and fires are already burning at the edges,” said Mr Momberg. “Illegal logging is ongoing with small scale but continuous degradation of the forest.”

Help may be at hand from a new kind of conservation effort. A green investment company, Carbon Conservation, has been working with local communities, Flora and Fauna International and local government to bring in outside funding. They are setting up a scheme under which private-sector investors put in money which is used both to protect the forest and offer alternative incomes to local people. In return investors get carbon credits for the area which has avoided deforestation.

At the moment the market for the voluntary credits is small but that could change overnight if the UN talks deliver an international framework deal.

Dorjee Sun, the chief executive of Carbon Conservation, said that negotiations were well advanced. A leading investment bank and others were just waiting for a signal from Bali.

“The private sector is showing the way by buying voluntary credits, now it’s over to the governments in Bali,” he said. “It’s time for them to just do it.”


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries (please support)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 10:06:55 AM »
 Adopt Kesi and her friends, Grendon and Lomon
Kesi's hand was chopped off when plantation workers killed her mother with a machete. Now Kesi is the top pupil in Orangutan Forest School at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Champion tree-climbing and nest-builder, Kesi is an excellent role model for newly arrived orphans.

Go to Donations on the site


Picture of Kesi
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 07:19:47 AM by Lin »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries (please support)
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 10:32:41 AM »
Volunteers around the world needed for fund raising and setting up groups around your country to represent the orangutans - they cannot speak for themselves.

Contact me Lin on MWC or or in Holland


Offline matsie14

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Re: The Orangutan Diaries (please support)
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2007, 03:17:55 PM »
Hello everybody,

My name is Jean Kern and I am the chairman of PrimatesHelpingPrimates, a new foundation in Holland. We are partner of BOS International and we support the projects of BOS Indonesia: Samboja Lestari (reforestationproject), Wanariset and Nyaru Menteng (rescue- and rehabilitationprojects) and Mawas (protected nature reserve with the greatest population of wild orang utans in the world)

Orang utans are indeed at the brink of extinction ! They are one of our closest relatives: in intelligence, in behaviour, in emotions !


look at: / / /

« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 03:25:26 PM by matsie14 »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries (please support)
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 03:53:39 AM »
Report from the Front Line
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Hi my name is Dr David Irons. I’m a medical doctor and have been working in general practice and emergency medicine for 20 yrs. At present though I’m working in Borneo at the BOS centre in Nyaru Menteng home to Kesi, Lomon, Grendon and about 650 more wonderful personalities. My function there is mainly based around adding an extra dimension to the medical services for the orangutans, but I have also been getting my hands (very) dirty building climbing / feeding platforms, helping Lone Droscher Nielsen, the Project Manager, plan new facilities and generally trying to solve problems and add my experience to Lone’s amazing creation (and trying to take a little of the huge weight off Lone’s shoulders).

So, I suppose the obvious question is why or how does a doctor end up working with orangutans? Well after working for myself as a GP and also medical teaching for 16 years I decided it was time to ‘give something back’ so I started working voluntarily with periods of ‘fund raising’ working as an emergency doctor and GP locum, in between voluntary jobs. I decided to split my energies between human and animal work, so I ended up working in a wild animal rescue centre in Thailand and also with severely under- privileged children in Argentina.

I’d had a little experience with orangutans and was generally interested in ape conservation so I used to receive various newsletters, one of which was from BOS UK. Then last Christmas I read that BOS was looking for £3000 to buy an area of forest for rescued orangutans from Thailand and I decided it would be a privilege to donate this. So I contacted the Director, Michelle Desilets, and offered the money and decided to send my CV just in case they could use my experience at the centre. Although they rarely have volunteers there they decided to take a chance with me.

So, as I say, I have added a different perspective in the medical management. I think its obvious that medical diagnosis and treatment of animals and humans is part of a continuum and where Great Apes are concerned there is a significant overlap between veterinary and human medicine. Orangutans have 97% of their DNA in common with us, their anatomy is very similar and their systems work in most cases practically the same as ours. They are prone to similar and often the same diseases and respond to similar treatments to us. Medical treatment of most Orangutans closely resembles human paediatric and adult medicine.

With these facts in mind it’s obvious that using the experience of both Veterinary and human doctors gives a more thorough, global view of what are often very challenging and serious conditions.

An example of the challenges and the problems faced relates to a recent and sad case. One of out trainee Bandit boys Julius; usually fit, very bright and naughty contracted what is normally a ‘mild’ type of malaria (malaria is very common in Orangutans and is a major source of medical problems), he was started on treatment and seemed to be doing well, suddenly we had to rush to the clinic as this normally robust baby (approx 3 yrs old) was convulsing. The veterinary team worked well and between us we controlled his condition and checked and treated him for all possible causes. He was receiving intravenous fluids and medicines and was constantly monitored. Sadly the cause of this probable Meningitis was too strong for even his constitution and he died peacefully a day later. Most of the staff had known him all his life and these hopefully rare losses are still very upsetting.

From a medical point of view, events like this have a series of ramifications. Any unknown infection has the possibility to spread and cause epidemics so clearly we had to keep Julius isolated but the problem then was to screen and quarantine any of his forest school group or sleeping compartment group who developed any suggestion of illness. Happily, no other cases presented and we suspect that the cause was a rare complication of Malaria.

However most medical problems have happy endings but I point this case out to demonstrate the demands we face particularly regarding treatment facilities and preventative care. There is always a need for funds for more sleeping quarters (to prevent the spread of disease), diagnostic equipment and tests and of course medicines.

I am always amazed to watch the orphans playing every evening after forest school. The range of personalities is as wide as any playground scene and I must admit I hardly see Orangutans now, I see children playing. I was so shocked when I first saw Lomon, I’d seen him on Orangutan diaries as a waif, mentally scarred and undernourished, so you can imagine my shock when one of the burliest largest orangutans of forest school 1 walks up to me like a simian John Wayne, sniffs my hand and then puts my arm around him (unlike, I assume, John Wayne would have). Without Lone’s unique system of forest schools and surrogacy, this now thriving gentle giant would not be with us!

I have visited and investigated numerous organizations and what I have experienced in Nyaru Menteng is remarkable, nothing is wasted and what money that is raised I can assure you goes to saving, rehabilitating and reintroducing Orangutans.

Dr David Irons MB ChB MRCGP


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 12:00:38 PM »
A great photo showing the work of the babysitters.


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2007, 03:53:09 AM »
A picture of Nick Knowles BBC TV presenter, Michelle Desilets,(left) Director of BOS UK and Lone Droscher Nielsen, Manager of Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reserve, Borneo.  This photo was taken for BBC Saving Planet Earth Series, it was the film premier.

Photo taken by Lin Treadgold  June 2007 (yes I was there too!)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 05:26:28 AM by Lin »

Offline savetheorangutan

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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2007, 05:13:44 AM »
Hello Lin and everyone,
Thanks for all you do to spread the word...this is the most important work of all in saving the orangutan.
I am Michelle Desilets, Director of BOS UK, and have known Lin many years as a dedicated supporter of our organisation.
I will try to contribute when I can, but please also visit our website regularly--it is updated everyday.
My first contribution here is the photo Lin posted of mother and baby--I can tell you that the orangutan is called Wiwik and her baby, Baby Wiwik. Wiwik is very gentle and friendly and often presents her baby to us for a closer look. The baby has the most incredible hairstyle (and I tell you these orangutans really do sport the widest range of hairstyles)-- her hair rises off the front of her head and curls back neatly as if it were set in tight rollers overnight. She rather reminds me of my grandma, if Grandma had red hair rather than white.

Ok my idea for the day: Please if you have a website or a facebook page or myspace or anything like that, mention us on it and post a link--to us, to Primates Helping Primates, to Orangutan Outreach or spread the word. If you don't have a website, why not just send an email to everyone in your address book to introduce us to them.

And here is a video of a report that aired in America on Friday to 4 million viewers:


Offline matsie14

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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2007, 06:59:11 AM »
Hi Everyone,

Michelle, thanks for your contribution ! I wil place another photo of baby Wiwik. I sat before their cage (july 2006) for almost half an hour. Mom was playing with the water and  some vegetables under the cage and the baby was playing all the time.

It's a great idea to ask everyone to mail to all their friends and start a never stopping chain to raise awareness about the terrible situation for the orang utans in the wild and the total dedication and sacrifice of the people of the BOS Foundation.

I have written this morning some emails to a member of Parliament in Holland and to someone of the Dutch Friends of the Earth who is attending the Bali Climate Conference.
I hope for their positive reply.

Everyone and even the smallest contribution can make a change ! THE POWER IS IN EACH OF US !

Baby Wiwik with the great hairstyle
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 07:21:16 AM by Lin »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2007, 12:03:28 PM »
Orangutans vs. CO2 Offsets

It’s appalling that the European environmentalists allowed biodiesel subsidies. The idea we can burn our biosphere in the tanks of our cars, and that this is somehow better than using petroleum, is the death knell to tropical forests. In turn this is the cause of droughts due to loss of transpiration, extreme weather because tropical deforestation undermines the monsoon circulation, and even global warming both due to the thermal impact of hotter open land vs. cooler reflective cloud cover that forms over tropical forests, and (arguably, at least) the CO2 impact of removing perennial uptake as well as the massive one-time release of CO2 when the forest is removed. Tropical deforestation has more to do with climate change than burning petroleum.Despite this strong likelyhood, if not fact, Europeans have patted themselves on the back for their biofuel subsidies, and created a world market for biodiesel that had scarcely existed. And now the genie is out of the bottle, and the last forests are burning away.

To fix the problem at this point, Europeans will have to impose punitive import tarifs on any and all biodiesel, and redirect the full force of funds that had been subsidizing biodiesel, using them instead to purchase, protect and reestablish tropical rainforests. Five million square miles of tropical rainforest have been lost, and less than three million remain. Millions of square miles of rainforest must be restored, in order to avert anthropogenically induced disruptive climate change.

Orangutans are the latest victims of rainforest destruction for biofuel. Nobody should be surprised that as politically correct biofuel is subsidized, not only tropical deforestation occurs (causing climate change), but consequences also include massive destruction of biodiversity and prolific specicide. As reported on MSNBC’s report “Orangutans Squeezed by Biofuel Boom,” tropical deforestation is rampaging faster than ever. According to the report: “Encouraged by government tax breaks, many of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates as well as foreign companies are investing millions in expanding plantations and refining facilities on Borneo, which has one of the richest ecosystems in the world and is one of the only remaining homes of the orangutans.”

As we’ve repeatedly warned, biofuel is not sustainable. A human being, running on calories (products of sun, water and plants), only consumes caloric energy at a rate of about 100 watts. Our cars require on average about 25 kilowatts to operate. That is to say, meeting the nutritional requirements of billions of people literally require 250 times less farmland than meeting the fuel requirements of billions of cars and industrial machinery. That is the energy reality, and small wonder rainforests are toast. Read “Reforesting vs. Biofuel.”

Our love for wildlife and wilderness is undiminished by our contention that over-emphasis on endangered species is strangling the economic growth of American cities. If it isn’t enough that biofueled tropical deforestation is the real cause of catastrophic climate change, then perhaps the impending doom of the Orangutans and other species and ecosystems might move environmentalists at last. Stop the subsidies, stop the slaughter.


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2007, 06:50:43 AM »
Just got this pic from matsie14

« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 06:53:37 AM by Lin »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2007, 06:54:27 AM »
Join in and tell me how much you are enjoying the reading of Orangutan Diaries.

Lin x x x
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 05:07:20 PM by Lin »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories plus photos
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2007, 11:15:47 AM »
A poetic contribution (repeated in "Attempt to Write to Longest Poem in the English Language")

I reach inwards to my heart and discover
There is nothing more rewarding
Or appealing than to look him in the eyes
Your breath is stopped short, he looks back,
He knows, he doesn't speak, just stares,
Talking to me in facial expression
Looking upwards to the sky, arms reaching,
If he could speak he would tell me stories.
He cannot express in words how he feels
I have to assume he is well and happy
I show my teeth and he replies with a kiss
That says "I love you". I just know
I just know, time after time he means it
He is holding tight, clinging to my sweatshirt
Staring me in the eyes, how else could I know
How he feels, those eyes are everything.

Lin Treadgold December 2007
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 05:06:32 PM by Lin »


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Re: The Orangutan Diaries - some great stories plus photos
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2007, 11:57:58 AM »
If you would like to do your bit for nature conservation you can adopt an orangutan on the following link

Adopt an Orangutan
Grendon, star of Orangutan Diary on BBC1, steals everyone’s heart. Looking remarkably like Homer Simpson in miniature, Grendon is a laugh a minute with his cheeky antics. Grendon is popular with staff and orangutans alike at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

Kesi’s hand was chopped off when plantation workers killed her mother with a machete. Now Kesi is the top pupil in Orangutan Forest School at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Champion tree-climbing and nest-builder, Kesi is an excellent role model for newly arrived orphans.

Lomon spent years chained up in a wooden box, and when he was rescued, he weighed only 1/3 of what he should have. Through the love and attention his new caretakers at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Lomon has now gained not only the weight he needed, but also his self-confidence.

Adopt Grendon, Kesi or Lomon for only £25 a year, or £2 a month by Standing Order.

Every little  bit of help counts

Lin x
« Last Edit: December 10, 2007, 05:10:42 PM by Lin »