In this issue
Feature Story
A Look Back at the History of Iconic Camp Leakey
News from the Field
Reforestation: Recovering from the Fires
Orangutan of the Month
Unique Monroe
Science Corner
Save the Orangutan, Save the Ecosystem
Upcoming Events
Philly Run Wild 2016 5K
When: April 24, 2016
Where: Philadelphia Zoo
Orangutan of the month
2016 Construction teams
Team 1:
July 10th to July 31st
Team 2:
August 7th to August 28th
Communications Volunteer
Help create engaging content to raise awareness about OFI's work.
MARCH 2016
Feature story
by Morgan Pettersson
"When Birute Mary Galdikas ventured deep into the heart of Borneo in 1971 as a young graduate student, it was in pursuit of a long sought-after dream - that of exploring an ancient tropical rainforest and discovering more about the mystery held within it: the Bornean orangutan. Dr. Galdikas was fascinated by these animals we knew so little about, and with the help of famed paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey - who had already enlisted Dr. Jane Goodall and the late Dian Fossey to study chimpanzees and gorillas, respectively - she was able to realize her dream. She would have done it anyways but Louis Leakey's support made it a bit easier. But even with his support, she had to wait over three years to find the funding and permits necessary to begin her study.

Nothing was easy. With no modern communication tools available to them, Dr. Galdikas and her former husband Rod Brindamour journeyed into one of the last truly wild and unexplored places on Earth. Soon after arriving in Tanjung Puting Reserve in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, the pair established Camp Leakey (named after Dr. Galdikas' mentor) as their study site within the reserve. They had only a bark-walled hut for shelter. Brindamour had to cut trails through the trackless jungle while Galdikas spent bone-wearying thirteen hour days searching for wild orangutans to observe and habituate. Difficulties stalked them. When their boat motor broke down, they had to paddle twelve hours non-stop to the nearest town to get supplies and fourteen hours to get back. Once they got to town, there were no telephones, no electricity, and no supermarkets. Restaurants were basically street stalls. Sometimes they totally ran out of funds and had to depend on the goodness of local merchants to give them food and supplies on credit. Heat, humidity, mold, voracious insects, and constant rain reduced their clothes to rags. Tropical ulcers appeared on their legs and took months to heal. They suffered from malaria, dengue, and dehydration. Leeches were everywhere.

Dr. Galdikas and Rod Brindamour established the Orangutan Research and Conservation Project as the initial name for Camp Leakey's research program. Through the program Dr. Galdikas was able to collect over 100,000 hours of observations on wild orangutans, documenting their life histories over three generations. The purpose of this study was (and continues to be) to better understand the behavior and ecology of wild orangutans as well as the conservation of wild orangutan populations and their rainforest habitats. . ." 
News from the Field
by Morgan Pettersson
"After fighting the devastating fires of 2015, Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) is as dedicated as ever to the protection of rainforest and orangutan habitat in Borneo. Unfortunately, large areas of OFI's Orangutan Legacy Forest (OLF) that had been purchased and placed under protection burned in the 2015 fires, despite the relentless firefighting efforts of OFI staff. Almost 2,000 ha of this forest burned. Most of the burned forest consisted of peat swamp which is difficult to protect. You can stop the fires in the trees above the ground but you can't easily stop the fires raging underground since the dry peat soil provides fuel for fires to continue burning underneath the forest. The fire then comes up in areas some distance from the initial fires through cracks and fissures in the ground. This is similar to the coal fires that have long been burning underground in Pennsylvania since the 1950's.

As the cleanup from the fires began at the end of the dry season, OFI Founder and President Dr. Birutė Mary Galdikas decided that OFI needed not only to protect forest, but also to reforest. OFI had planted trees in the past but these projects had only involved five thousand trees at a time. This new long-term project will be much more ambitious. It will probably take ten years to reforest the areas that were destroyed by the fires. Yet without taking this proactive step, orangutan habitat will continue to be fragmented and eventually disappear, without much chance of providing a future home for an increasing number of orphaned and injured orangutans under OFI's care. . ."

Science Corner
by Montana Hull
"Great apes, including orangutans, are of great scientific interest due to their high cognitive abilities and the many similarities they share behaviorally and physically with humans. Their ability to make and use tools and pass on these skills to other individuals has become a fascinating area of research, within both captive and wild populations. However, orangutans are more than just a species with an intelligent mind and lovable personality. Recent developments in conservation have found that the orangutan serves as an integral part of ecosystem protection by acting as an umbrella species.

Umbrella species are vital to efficient in-situ conservation efforts. These species are often strategically selected for conservation focus due to the fact that protecting them effectively protects the many other species sharing the habitat. Hence the name, umbrella species. Conservation "umbrellas" shelter a wide range of species. Selecting an umbrella species is an important strategy in conservation, especially when considering areas of high biodiversity. Orangutan conservation actually goes beyond the orangutan species. . ." 
Upcoming Events
There's only three weeks left until the 3rd annual Philly Run Wild 5K!

Every dollar raised at the Philly Run Wild 2016 5K will go towards providing orphaned orangutans a stronger chance of survival in the wild. So come support OFI by taking part in the 5k Run through the beautiful Philadelphia Zoo and nearby city sidewalks with plenty of room for spectators. Awards and prizes for top-finishers and age group winners, food, drink, and fun for everyone!

Register today and join us on Sunday April 24th at the Philadelphia Zoo to show your support for orangutans and their rainforest home.

Thank you to S.A.V.E.S. Club Inc. for organizing the 3rd Annual Philly Run Wild 2016 5K.
Did you know?
2016 is the 30th Anniversary of Orangutan Foundation International
Help us count down to Orangutan Awareness Week (OAW) in November when we will celebrate our Anniversary.

Have an idea for OAW, want to get involved with the celebration? Sign up now!

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