Critically Endangered Orangutans Lose Habitat To Make Way For New Plantations

Three days in a row, five orangutans saved from plantations in Pancasila Sub-village, Mekar Makmur Village, Sei Lepan Sub-district, Langkat District, North Sumatra. The orangutan was under the threat of being injured by the local people who considered them as a pest. This orangutan is predicted to be isolated inside plantation area. The HOCRU team conducted the rescue in collaboration with WCS, BKSDA and Gunung Leuser National park authorities. Photo credit: Orangutan Information Center (OIC)

Every day the last of the wild Sumatran orangutans are fighting for survival as their homes are destroyed to make way for new monocrop plantations. Thankfully, a brave team from the Orangutan Information Centre is dedicated to rescuing endangered Sumatran orangutans in and around the Leuser Ecosystem. Over the past week, members of the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) have rescued six orangutans from palm oil and rubber plantations.

The first rescue was to evacuate a mother and baby from an oil palm plantation in Kampung Batu village, Bakongan, South Aceh. These orangutans were isolated inside a palm oil plantation owned by local people.

Photo credit: Orangutan Information Center. 11th July 2017.

Less than 24 hours later, the HOCRU responded to a request from local community members to rescue three orangutans in the Dusun Kermal Tenggulun village, in Aceh Tamiang.

Photo credit: Orangutan Information Center. 12th July, 2017

An hour after rescuing the 3 orangutans, the HOCRU team received a phone call from World Conservation Society about the presence of an isolated orangutan in Pancasila Sub-village, Mekar Makmur Village, Sei Lepan Sub-district in the Langkat District of North Sumatra. The orangutan was under threat of being injured and was thought to have been isolated inside this plantation area for some time. This rescue was conducted together with WCS, BKSDA and the Gunung Leuser National park authorities as it was in close proximity to the boundary of the Leuser Ecosystem.


Photo credit: Orangutan Information Center. 13th July, 2017

The rescue of endangered orangutans like these is critically important but the root cause of this crisis is the destruction of their forest homes, including the vast stretches of lowland rainforests and peatlands inside the Leuser Ecosystem.