Ketapang Orangutan Rescue Unit

Orangutan populations are estimated to have declined by well over 50% over the last 60 years and the threat of imminent extinction in the wild is very real. The massive increase in oil palm plantations has caused the most destruction to orangutan habitat however other factors including unsustainable timber extraction, development of tree plantations for paper and pulp, small-scale community agriculture, mining and direct orangutan killings have also contributed to the decline in orangutan numbers.

Most orangutans are located outside of protected areas, leaving them even more vulnerable. If deforestation in Borneo continues to replace primary and degraded forests with oil palm plantations, then the incidents of human-orangutan conflict will increase and it is unlikely that orangutans will survive in the long-term.

An Orangutan Rescue Unit has been established in West Kalimantan due to the increasing habitat destruction and displacement of orangutans in this province. The Rescue team is composed of a veterinarian and people with experience in handling orangutans. The aims of the Rescue Unit are to -

  • Provide a quick response for the rescue of orangutans.
  • Relocate orangutans from isolated and fragmented areas of forest where populations are not viable and orangutans are in risk of being killed, hunted or captured, to protected forested areas or to the Rescue Centre in West Kalimantan if needed.
  • Assist the authorities in the implementation of law enforcement programs carrying out confiscations of orangutans in captivity.
  • Alleviate the conflict between humans and orangutans.

TOP has fully funded the Orangutan Rescue Unit since 2012.

Project Leader: Dr. Karmele Llano Sánchez