2018 has been an eventful year. In the following, we will highlight significant results from our efforts in Borneo. Thanks to our many supporters, we have been able to support several new efforts in Borneo to save the critically endangered orangutan.

54 orangutans released in 2018

In 2018, a great focus has been placed on releasing the many orangutans that have successfully completed their rehabilitation processes at the rehabilitation centres managed by our Indonesian partner BOS Foundation. The releases are always conditioned by the disposal of approved and protected rainforest areas and by the individual orangutan’s suitability to a reintroduction to the wild. A great effort is necessary to carry out a release of a rehabilitated orangutan, and the subsequent monitoring and protection of the released orangutans are also demanding and important tasks. Consequently, we have increased our support to the work in and around the TNBBBR National Park in 2018. Several of the orangutans included in Save the Orangutan’s adoption programme are released upon into TNBBBR after completing their rehabilitation processes. A total of 54 orangutans were released in Central and East Kalimantan in 2018, including Nabima, Nody, and Grendon. All of these 54 orangutans were released into the TNBBBR National Park. This brings BOS Foundation’s total number of released rehabilitated orangutans since 2012 to 386!

377 orangutans still rehabilitating at Nyaru Menteng

Nyaru Menteng is the rehabilitation centre in Central Kalimantan Save the Orangutan supports with more than 80% of their operation costs. This support goes to the forest school, food, medicine, staff, etc. In 2018, the number of orangutans at the centre decreased concurrently with the number of releases. Still, additional orangutans arrive at the centre. In 2018, 9 new orangutans were brought to Nyaru Menteng, 6 of which have been turned over by the local authorities BKSDA, and 3 of which are the results of orangutan births at the centre.

30 hectares of restored forest via SOS Borneo in Mawas

Save the Orangutan’s forest programme in Mawas has resulted in the preparation for the restoration of 30 hectares of forest. More than 41,000 seedlings in 5 local seed nurseries are soon on their way to the degraded areas that will function as future orangutan habitats after being restored. Moreover, 8 drainage canals have been blocked in Mawas, and the peat can now be re-wetted. This is accompanied by an almost daily patrol and several fire extinguishing efforts, especially in the area around Rantau Upak.

Fundraising campaigns for a playground, an x-ray machine, and a drone

During 2018, Save the Orangutan has raised funds and donated to 3 particular projects after launching three distinct fundraising campaigns. Namely an outdoor playground in two parts by the Baby School at Nyaru Menteng, a new X-ray machine for the veterinary clinic, and a drone for Mawas. The new equipment was put to use in 2018 and they are already a huge help for the orangutans in Borneo.

Free the males

In 2018, Save the Orangutan prioritised freeing the big males at Nyaru Menteng from their cages. We will continue our efforts until all the males are ensured a life outside of their cages on forested islands. With support from private donors and our German partner BOS Germany, Save the Orangutan has donated funds for obtaining access rights to the first 17 hectares of land to establish sanctuaries near Nyaru Menteng in to which more males can be freed.

New empowerment projects initiated in 2018

The year has also held the initiation of two new development projects that are partially financed by the Civil Society pool (CISU). One project near Mawas and another around the Rungan River. As a constituent part of our forest conservation efforts, Save the Orangutan is the project owner and co-applicant on the projects with local implementing partners. Both projects focus on supporting the native Dayak peoples in creating sustainable local societies, and to empower them in their aim to ensure decreased pressure on their forest and the habitats of the wild orangutans. A total of approximately 6000 wild orangutans inhabit these project areas.

Save the Orangutan has also focused on mitigating human-orangutan conflicts due to human development activities in collaboration with BOS Foundation. A new project has been initiated focusing on ensuring the best management possible of those orangutans that move onto oil palm plantations around the protected Mawas area. Moreover, a grant of DKK 1,000,000 has been secured from the Civil Society pool to create better living conditions for the native local community around the TNBBBR National Park, and to mitigate the conflicts between them, the national park, and the released rehabilitated orangutans.

Alba was released just before Christmas

We were also lucky enough to follow Alba’s and Kika’s release in December 2018. Alba is the world’s only known albino orangutan. BOS Foundation, the local authorities (BKSDA), and representatives from the TNBBBR National Park ensured the two orangutans a new life in the rainforest. The release was performed on the 18th-19th of December, and we are still receiving reports from the monitoring team following Alba and Kika closely in the beginning of their reintroduction.

More than DKK 10,000,000 allocated to projects in Borneo

Contributions from our many regular supporters, one-off donations, and grants from funds and CISU have ensured allocation of more than DKK 10 million to projects in Borneo in 2018. This includes our programmes that help orphaned and displaced orangutans, and the protection of the wild orangutan populations through forest conservation activities. In the new year, you will be able to read more about the details of the distribution of funds in our annual report and annual accounts. We are very pleased that we can still make a difference in Borneo!

Thank you for your support and a merry Christmas from Save the Orangutan.