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 - S e p t e m b e r  2 0 1 2

eyes in the forest


 Guarding the Forest

Step by Step, OFI Forest Rangers 

Keep Orangutans Safe


Mr. Dimun
Mr. Dimun at the OFI Care Center.


For more than a decade, Mr. Dimun has measured time by the hundreds of miles he has walked along remote forest trails in pursuit of an important conservation mission. At 30-years-old, he has shouldered a heavy burden since joining OFI's staff in 2000, helping to protect and defend more than one million acres of ancient orangutan habitat against the onslaught of modern-day 'progress' in order to save orangutans from extinction.


Much of Mr. Dimun's time over the past twelve years has been spent deep within Tanjung Puting National Park (TPNP). TPNP is one of the two largest habitats for wild orangutan populations left in the world. Proclaimed a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1981, TPNP was granted National Park status in 1982. Tanjung Puting represents the last remaining self-sustaining coastal peat swamp ecosystem in the region. It provides the opportunity for many wildlife species to thrive and coexist, among them 18 Vulnerable Species and 10 Critical and Endangered Species, including 6,000 endangered Bornean orangutans.


Forest FiresYet despite its status as a protected national park, TPNP's wildlife face new dangers every day. Corporations are rapidly destroying rain forests to create palm oil plantations, and OFI expects tens of thousands of acres of new palm oil concessions to be granted next to and even within the embedded villages of the Park. This means more human-orangutan conflicts, including incursions, fires, and poaching activity by plantation workers and the men plantations employ as 'pest-killers' -- orangutans often considered one of those pests.  


The cruel and illegal pet trade industry is thriving, too. Illegal roadways built in and around the Park by loggers and miners, and as a result of palm oil encroachment, increase the risk of illegal animal trafficking by providing access into remote habitat areas where orangutans can be easily poached. Strip mining for gold, zircon, and sand is on the increase around the borders of the Park. Without constant vigilance, mining operations will enter the park in a matter of days.


But despite these odds, the vast, ancient forests of TPNP are still largely intact, in part because of Mr. Dimun and a team of OFI forest rangers who, every day, detect, deter, thwart and halt illegal intruders. When 18-year-old Dimun first came to work for OFI twelve years ago, he didn't know he would one day be part of such a heroic mission. Fresh out of high school, he was simply looking for a job. Initially, he was placed as an orangutan caregiver at OFI's Orangutan Care Center  in Pasir Panjang. In those formative years, he learned to understand the psychology and behavior of our great ape relatives.


In 2003, Mr. Dimun became an OFI forest ranger at Camp Simpang Kecil in TPNP. The job of a ranger runs on a rigorous schedule over difficult jungle terrain. After morning camp duties, Mr. Dimun and his partner would embark on hours-long walking patrols of their assigned territory, checking for signs of illicit activity, documenting forest and wildlife crimes, and helping to shut down illegal operations. In Camp Sungai Baung Dimon helped train less experienced rangers in their mapping duties. Relocation in 2006 took Mr. Dimun to Sungai Buluh Sekonyer where he helped fight the catastrophic peat fires set by illegal loggers that burned 60,000 hectares (148,200 acres) of primary rainforest.


Not all of the many years spent in the forest involved chasing 'the bad guys.' On his daily patrols, Mr. Dimun monitored the ecology of the forest, counting deer, pigs, snakes, frogs, birds, wild cats and, of course, orangutans. Despite the hard physical work, his favorite part of the job was walking through

Forest monitoring
OFI staff monitor the forest.

the forest and watching wild orangutans. He is happy to see them living free, building nests, foraging for food, and raising their young.


Today, Mr. Dimun is raising a family of his own, and once again caring for orangutans closer to home at OFI's Care Center. He is proud of his past accomplishments. In twelve years, nine camps, hundreds of miles, thousands of footsteps, and countless forest encounters--both good and bad--Mr. Dimun has helped to safeguard a valuable piece of our world.


OFI's dedicated team of forest rangers and their associates continue to protect Tanjung Puting National Park today, along with thousands of acres within the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest, Pasir Panjung Village Forest, and other privately-stewarded forests throughout the region, keeping orangutans and other wildlife out of harm's way. Your continued support makes their job possible.


Janie Dubman



In this Issue

  • Upcoming OFI Events: Join Dr. Galdikas in New Jersey
  • Thank you to our 2012 Construction Teams
  • Jungle Corner: Bornean short-tailed python 
  • Conservation Partners: From Australia, With Love!
  • External Link: Norway Slashes Palm Oil Consumption


September Events




Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas Visits New Jersey


Please Join Her!

(click on links below for details)



Friday September 28: Lecture at 

R. Stockton College


* * * 

Saturday September 29: New Jersey 

Reception Fundraiser


   * * *   

Sunday September 30: Private Brunch with Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas








Volunteer Team TY 2012  Click here to view a map of project locations!



Jungle Corner

Bornean short-tailed python, Borneo python

Python breitensteini   


Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Reptilia; Squamata; Pythonidae


Threat Status: Least Concern (on the IUCN Red List)

Bornean short-tailed python
OFI rangers spotted this Bornean short-tailed python while out on patrol


Distribution: Borneo­­ (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia)


Habitat: This non-venomous snake is found in lowland areas, such as poorly drained flood plains, on the edges of swampy areas and on farmland. This snake has not yet been recorded at altitudes higher than 1,000m (3,281ft) above sea level. This python is nocturnal and tends to hide in rodent burrows during the day.


Morphology: On average, adult Bornean short-tailed pythons reach 1.2m (4ft) in length; however, the males often being smaller than the females. This species is quite dense and can weigh up to 13.6kg (30lb). The Bornean short-tailed python has orange eyes and tan skin with brown blotching­ - this blotching is unique to each snake. Juveniles have a yellow head, which generally turns a shade of brown as they approach their adult years.   


Interesting Fact: A strong swimmer, the Bornean short-tailed python uses irrigation canals and other bodies of water to move from place to place.


Conservation Partners  


From Australia, With Love! 

Down Under Enterprises Launches New 'Tea Tree for Orangutans' Campaign


Down Under Enterprises Logo OFI is pleased to announce a new partnership with Australia-based Down Under Enterprises, aimed at both raising funds to support OFI's conservation work and providing 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil for the care of orphaned orangutans at OFI's Care Center in Pasir Panjang. 


According to company owners Phil and Dee-Ann Prather, "We've been looking for a good cause to support for some time now.  We have contributed financially to various initiatives over the years, but nothing which was really unique and interesting. Certainly nothing with a direct tie-in to our own products for which we feel so strongly."


In addition to supplying tea tree oil from their family-owned plantations in Australia to OFI's facility in Borneo on a continuous basis, Down Under Enterprises is reaching out to its customers throughout the world to raise at least $15,000 to help care for orphaned orangutans and to purchase and protect the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest.  


Read more here on their new Facebook page (and be sure to "Like" them).


Many thanks, Down Under Enterprises, for your amazing support!


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




 Norway's Palm Oil Consumption
 Cut by 64%





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Thank you very much 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 have your thoughts, comments or submissions ([email protected]). In the meanwhile, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our official website: www.orangutan.org   
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