Dr. Karmele Llano Sanchez and friend....
Orangutan Outreach is enormously pleased to be working with International Animal Rescue (IAR) in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.
As Orangutan Outreach continues to grow as an organization we are constantly looking for ways to better help the orangutans. While the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation continues to do phenomenal work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing orangutans at the Nyaru Menteng facility in Central Kalimantan and the Samboja facility in East Kalimantan, the orangutans in West Kalimantan have been suffering a very cruel fate.
For the past two decades hundreds of orangutans have been slaughtered in this badly neglected Indonesian province as their forest was destroyed by timber and oil palm companies and converted to endless square miles of oil palm plantations. No one was there to help these orangutans in need-- until now!
International Animal Rescue's team in Indonesia specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans, macaques and slow lorises and releasing them back into protected areas in the wild. Their track record is stellar.
The plight of the orangutan in Indonesia has reached a critical stage, with the survival of the species under serious threat. Animals are suffering and dying because of the systematic destruction of the rainforest, primarily for palm oil production, particularly in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
International Animal Rescue’s team is working in West Kalimantan to rescue and care for baby orangutans who have been taken from their mothers to be illegally sold as pets and adults that have spent their entire lives in captivity, chained up or imprisoned in tiny cages. Their human-orangutan conflict (HOC) team also comes to the aid of orangutans left stranded when their forest home is destroyed and translocates these vulnerable animals to safe areas of protected forest. Any animals that can no longer survive in the wild will be given a permanent home at the center. The project is an ambitious one but IAR is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating as many orangutans as they can and giving them a second chance to live safely in their natural environment.
The Transit Center
In August 2009 IAR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesian Forestry Department in West Kalimantan, agreeing on plans for the rescue, rehabilitation and relocation of orangutans who have lost their forest habitat due to the expansion of oil palm plantations int their habitat. The agreement allowed for the purchase of land and the creation of facilities where the rescued orangutans could be rehabilitated before being released back into protected areas of forest. The priority was to set up a temporary facility where confiscated and rescued orangutans could be given immediate care and emergency veterinary treatment. The IAR team soon began caring for nearly a dozen orangutans in a small, transit center in the small town of Ketapang, West Kalimantan. They also began working with Indonesian authorities to establish a large, long-term facility to care for more orangutans. Learn more about the history of the Transit Center
The IAR Ketapang Orangutan Rescue Center
Towards the end of 2010, thanks to support from generous donors, International Animal Rescue was able to purchase 24 hectares (60 acres) of land in Ketapang not far from the transit center. Planning permission was granted for a rehabilitation facility that would house up to 100 orangutans at a time and architect's plans were drawn up and approved. Initial construction began in 2011 and quickly gained steam in 2012.
The new facility has a large quarantine areas for new arrivals and pre-release candidates; a fully-equipped veterinary clinic; an education center; indoor accommodation and an outdoor play area for babies and infants and spacious forested enclosures where rescued orangutans can develop the natural skills they will need to survive back in the wild.
In 2013, IAR established the first large scale rescue and rehabilitation center for orangutans in the province of West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) in the village of Sungai Awan (often abbreviated to Sei Awan), about a 30 minute drive from the town of Ketapang. The site was selected because of its rural location, and because it is not too far from Ketapang, where the previous transit center was based, and the town where most of IAR's staff lives. The goal of the center has always been to provide as natural an experience for the orangutans as possible. The land the center was built on contained a large expanse of secondary forest and peat swamp forest, which was appropriate for forest schools for the younger orangutans, and islands for the older orangutans in the pre-release stage of rehabilitation.
Since first moving into the center IAR has been able to acquire more land surrounding it, and the site now covers 150 hectares. The facility houses all the rescued orangutans, and is also where IAR has their office, as well as being the base from which they run their conservation programs. Near to the office, at the front of the land, is a guesthouse for visiting researchers and volunteers. As you move further towards the back of the site, away from the visitor area, you reach the clinic. Thanks to kind donations from members of the public and private companies, IAR has one of the most well-equipped clinics in Indonesia. Adjacent to the clinic is the quarantine area, and then the cages. As you move further north on the land, you reach the forest schools and the islands. IAR currently has four islands, on which orangutans in the final stages of rehabilitation are living.
Rescuing orangutans is a difficult and challenging process, whatever the situation, and unless the orangutan is in a desperate situation or being kept as a pet, rescuing is always a last resort, and only carried out if every other option to keep the orangutan in the wild has been explored. The sad truth is that rescues are ongoing and never-ending. And during fire season, the number only goes up as orangutan flee the fires in their forest home....
Learn more about IAR's Orangutan Rescues
Things took a momentous turn in Spring 2011 following a tragic disaster at the fledgling, ill-fated orangutan rescue center in Sintang, also in West Kalimantan but much further to the north near the border with Malaysia. Orangutan Outreach had tried to set up a facility in this town known to be the last stop on the animal smuggling route from the Indonesian interior to Malaysia, but it was never able to acquire legal status. The center was thwarted at every turn by an incompetent local management that ultimately could not be trusted with the lives of the rescued orangutans. Indeed, unspeakable tragedy struck when one of the orangutans, precious Baby luna, 'disappeared' from the center one afternoon under extremely suspicious circumstances. After months of negotiating with the authorities, the remaining orangutans in Sintang were evacuated to IAR Ketapang where they would receive professional care in a legal facility free of corruption.
Learn more about the Sintang Refugees
Orangutans in Borneo Need Your Help!
Adopt an orangutan!
You can directly support the orangutans at IAR Ketapang by adopting them! For just $10/month you can help cover the costs for their food, care and enrichment. There are so many wonderful orangutans to choose from! You can 'meet' them on our adoption page. Just click on the images below to learn more and choose your adoptee!