E y e s   o n  t h e   F o r e s t
A   M o n t h l y   B u l l e t i n   f r o m   B o r n e o  -  M a y  2 0 1 2

eyes in the forest


Saving Wildlife in Borneo: 

OFI Launches New 'Zero Tolerance-No Kill Policy' Training Program for 

Palm Oil and Pulp Industry Workers


I love jogging at dawn in Borneo. It's the only time of day cool enough to exercise, and the morning mist gives the familiar landscape of Pasir Panjang a mysterious quality. This effect is amplified by the melodious calls of gibbons that resound throughout the protected village forest near OFI's Care Center. Gibbon calls are an unearthly sound, but every once in a while, as a stark reminder of the ongoing threats to both gibbons and Borneo's endangered orangutans, the buzz of chainsaws completely drowns out the morning gibbon chorus.


Most of the 340 orangutans at OFI's Care Center and Quarantine facility in Pasir Panjang are direct victims of the rampant deforestation rapidly devouring Borneo's forests. An area of forest the size of 300 football fields is cleared every hour of every day in Indonesia to make room for palm oil. While many people recognize the peril of unabated forest clearing to wildlife (including loss of habitat cover and food), there is another, hidden threat: According to OFI co-founder and president Dr. Birut� Mary Galdikas, "Orangutan killing is the dirty big secret of the palm oil and pulp and paper concession world."


As orangutans are still sometimes considered agricultural pests, even today some palm oil and pulp/paper managers

Beaten Orangutan
Male orangutan found beaten in palm oil plantation. Photo courtesy COP web images.    
offer bounties on orangutan heads. The beating, burning, shooting, and killing of orangutans--out of fear, or to steal and sell infants--is notoriously commonplace. Thousands of orangutans lose their lives or freedom every year. Other animals (sun bears, gibbons, and clouded leopards, etc.) are killed for similar reasons, or for bush meat or black market organ-harvesting.


In November of 2011, OFI signed a precedent-setting "Zero Tolerance-No Kill-No Harm to Endangered Species Policy" agreement with PT Smart (largest palm oil company in Indonesia) and PT Lontar (pulp and paper

Dr. Galdikas advises palm oil workers.
Dr. Galdikas advises palm oil workers on the humane treatment of orangutans.
equivalent). Under this agreement, OFI will provide professional training to palm oil managers and supervisors for the proper management and humane treatment of orangutans and other endangered wildlife on and near palm oil plantations. This comprehensive training program, predicted to directly impact over one thousand plantation workers and managers, is scheduled to begin in May 2012, and will last for two years.


This agreement grew out of OFI's deep concern about the widespread killing of wildlife on plantations, and reflects the two companies' increasing efforts to improve the manner in which they treat Borneo's forest and wildlife resources. While the agendas of conservation groups and industrial developers do not often align, Dr. Galdikas is confident this partnership will have a direct positive effect on orangutans and other endangered wildlife in Indonesia. Ensuring the safety of individual animals goes hand-in-hand with protecting habitat, and neither conservation tactic can work without the other.


Borneo clearly needs a paradigm shift today in order to save endangered orangutan populations from extinction. Direct, field-based, animal-engaged training under OFI's new Zero Tolerance-No Kill Policy training program is the best chance we have of shifting the current culture of destructive behavior that has long defined the palm oil and pulp industries. By teaching people to value and appreciate individual animal life, we will help affect the change that is so desperately needed by thousands of orangutans--the freedom to live unharmed in the wild. Of course, the rest of the job is to save their rainforest homes so they can be wild and free forever. And OFI is working on that as well. Please continue to help. Orangutan lives depend on it.


Janie Dubman
Newsletter Editor


 In this Issue

  • Orangutans of the Month: Jessica & Weyerhauser
  • News from the Field: "The Joy of Scent"
  • Jungle Corner: Bornean Agile Gibbon 
  • Conservation Partners: SeaWorld Busch Gardens, Chester Zoo, Chase Giving Program Join OFI
  •  OFI Earth Day Lecture and Concert Wrap Up

Orangutans   of the Month:

Jessica & Weyerhauser

"A good friend is hard to find."
Click on photo to read more.

OFI Events 

"Seeing Red: 

An Introduction to Orangutans, Palm Oil and Sustainability" 


On April 19th, Dr. Birut� Galdikas shared her special insight into the fascinating world of orangutans, and the many threats they face from palm oil agriculture and forest destruction, at the UCLA School of Law. As always, she delighted her audience with personal stories gleaned from more than 40 years of experience in studying orangutans and advocating for their conservation. Dr. Galdikas received her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA in 1969 and 1978, respectively.


Benefit Concert


OFI held its second benefit concert event on April 22nd at Dragon Fly, located in Hollywood, CA. Indonesian hors d'oeurvres, a stunning silent auction, and amazing music were a few of the event highlights.


    Forest fern


News from the Field 

"The Joy of Scent" 

Berman loves the smell and taste of lemon myrtle.

Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, star anise, ginger, and other scents are being used to enhance orangutans' experience and support their well-being at the OFI Care Center. Click here to read more.


Jungle Corner  

Bornean Agile Gibbon, Bornean White-bearded Gibbon  

Hylobates albibarbis


Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Primates; Hylobatidae; Hylobates


Threat Status: Endangered (on the IUCN Red List)


Distribution: Southern Borneo, between the Kapuas and Barito rivers

A Bornean Agile Gibbon at Camp Leakey


Ecology: Agile gibbons prefer to eat fruits high in sugar, but will eat leaves and insects as well. They are one of the few primate species that mate for life, and they live in small family troops containing a mated pair and up to four offspring.


Habitat: Found in tropical evergreen and peat swamp forests


Morphology: Gibbons are known as lesser apes. Like an ape, no gibbon species has a tail. However, they have many traits that differ from great apes. They are smaller, do not make nests, and have anatomical details which more closely resemble monkeys. Both male and female agile gibbons have white eyebrows; however, males also usually have white cheeks. Males and females are similar in size with the average male weighing 5.8kg (12.8lbs) and female weighing 5.4kg (11.9lbs). Gibbons are extremely vocal and can be heard up to 1km away. They use their vocalization to announce location, defend territory, and maintain bonds with their family unit.


Interesting Facts: Gibbons are the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals. They swing through trees using their long forearms and can cover approximately 8m (26ft) in a single leap. Within their troops, adult females are dominant. The hierarchy places female offspring second, male offspring third, and the adult male last.



Conservation Partners


SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund Helps OFI Protect Forest Habitat and Rehabilitate Orangutans  


OFI is pleased to announce its newest Conservation Partner--Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. A total of 89 projects--from among a crowded field of 428 grant applications submitted from all across the globe--were recently selected to share in theSeaWorld Busch Gardens Logo Fund's $1.1 million 2012 funding award. A $20,000 Sea World Busch Gardens grant will enhance OFI's ongoing forest patrol program, known as "Saving Orangutans by Safeguarding their Habitat." A second grant in the amount of $12,000 will provide much-needed funding to support the social, physical, and cognitive health of 330 orphaned orangutans at the Care Center and Camp Rendell in Pasir Panjang by enhancing OFI's "Holistic Environmental Enrichment Program."  Keeping forest habitat safe and orangutans healthy are the hallmarks of meaningful conservation work. Thank you, Sea World Busch Gardens!



Chester Zoo Grant Award Supports "Soft Release Site" Enhancements


A $1,580 grant from the Chester Zoo and North of England Zoological Society (NEZS)Chester Zoo Logo will be put to good use at OFI's new "Soft Release Site" known as Camp Rendell. Home to 26 juvenile orangutans, ages 6-9, Camp Rendell offers opportunities for OFI's more mature orangutans to fine-tune their survival skills prior to their permanent release back into the wild. Chester Zoo grant funds will provide added enrichment food, supplies, and materials to ensure their good health and well-being. Thank you, NEZS and Chester Zoo!


OFI Voted 'Top 100': Receives Chase Community Giving Program Grant


Chase Giving Program More than three million Facebook voters from all around the globe participated in selecting 100 non-profit organizations--from a pool of thousands--to receive grant support through the 2011 Chase Community Giving Program. Orangutan Foundation International was among the winners, and was awarded a $25,000 grant to support its operations in Borneo. Chase Community Giving Program aspires to be a catalyst for meaningful, positive and sustainable change within high-need communities across the globe. Many thanks to Chase and all who voted for OFI.

For more information on ways your business or organization can partner with OFI, please contact Hollis Burbank-Hammarlund, Development Director, at [email protected].



Don't forget to watch The 26th Genesis Awards on Animal Planet 

Saturday, May 5th at 4:00 p.m. and 

Sunday, May 6th at 8:00 a.m.

'Born To Be Wild'--featuring Dr. Birute Galdikas--wins 

best documentary. Now available on DVD at stores near you!


Thank you for following "Eyes on the Forest - Bulletin from Borneo". From now on you can expect this eNewsletter to reach your mailbox monthly.  We'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions ([email protected]). In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our official website: www.orangutan.org   
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