Past Projects

Panut Hadisiswoyo
Project Title: Human Wildlife Conflict Monitoring and Mitigation: The Facilitation of an Orangutan Task-Force and Conflict Mitigation Response Unit in North Sumatra, Indonesia

Description: With increased human encroachment into orangutan habitats, conflicts between humans and orangutans in Sumatra are on the increase. This project aims to promote the conservation of orangutans though understanding how and when such conflicts take place, and to establish and manage a Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit to investigate and help mitigate conflicts. In addition, this project will develop a best practices document for handing orangutan-human conflict.

Anne Russon
Project Title: Ranging in East Bornean Orangutans

Description: This project studies ranging in East Bornean orangutans at a new research site in Kutai National Park, East Kalimantan. Ranging offers a good window on essential features of orangutan lives: where they go and why (food, nesting, companions), and how they understand and navigate forest space and change over time. Findings should provide much-needed updates on orangutan behavior in East Kalimantan, and they should aid conservation by improving monitoring in the study area and understanding orangutan roles in conflict with humans.

Michael Reid
Project Title: A Serologic Survey of Tuberculosis (TB) in Semi-Captive Orangutans: Implications for Orangutan Conservation Medicine

Description: This project tests the use of a new tuberculosis (TB) test that is suitable for use in the field. TB is greatly feared among those working on ape rehabilitation because it can cause illness and death in great apes, and it is a communicable disease. Worries that rehabilitant apes with TB will spread the disease to wild populations are especially relevant. The development of a new test that better suits orangutans can help to prevent the spread of the disease.

Didik Prasetyo
Project Title: Orangutan Research Information Center

Description: The goal of this project is to create a website for orangutan research findings that are not published in international journals. Nearly 90% of studies of orangutan behaviour and ecology are not published in international scientific journals. Many of these studies have data that would be valuable to conservation and research. This website would make available a large amount of findings and information that otherwise may not be accessible. This will further our understanding of orangutans and their ecology.

Entertainment orangutans grant.
In 2009, we received a major donation to support ex-entertainment orangutans, and were very pleased to grant $2000 from it to the Center for Great Apes. The funds will help CFGA construct new night cages for its maturing male entertainment orangutans.

Forest schools grant and project.
With the support of a collaborative Knowledge Mobilization Grant from York University, a BOS Canada team (Anne Russon, Laura Adams, Purwo Kuncoro, and Joshua Smith) developed designs for age-graded forest schools for the behavioral rehabilitation for immature ex-captive orangutans. Forest schools may be among the most effective programs for rehabilitating ex-captive orangutans to free forest life. They are typically protected areas of local forest into which small groups of healthy youngsters are placed to encourage their learning forest and social skills. Some function reasonably well but problems have arisen, pitfalls are known, and no standards exist. Our aim was to develop guidelines for orangutan forest schools that improve methods for fostering adaptive and discouraging counterproductive learning, improve evaluation of individual orangutan's progress, respect international standards, and facilitate early identification and remediation of problems. We completed these guidelines and offered them to the BOS orangutan reintroduction project in East Kalimantan. This project is now establishing a new release site for returning its ex-captives to forest life, so it should need new forest schools in the near future. Hopefully, these guidelines will prove useful in developing these facilities.

Great Ape Guidelines on Reintroduction and Conflict: Translation and grant.
Over the last few years, the Great Ape Section of the IUCN Species Survival Commission's Primate Specialist Group has published several sets of "best practices" guidelines in aid of great ape conservation. We are very pleased that they have been translating these guidelines into the languages of great ape habitat countries, and even more pleased that Purwo Kuncoro, a BOS Canada member, is translating both conflict and reintroduction guidelines into Indonesian. The Indonesian version of the reintroduction guidelines is now completed and is available electronically. We obtained a grant from the Great Ape Trust of Iowa to print and distribute the reintroduction guidelines in Indonesia, and are pleased to report that there has been a high demand for the document.

Other Grant Receipients
Lita Kabangnga studied orangutan nests and nest building in East Kalimantan. She is particularly interested in trying to determine how many nests orangutans build each day.
Gail Campbell-Smith has a research project on human orangutan conflict. She is seeking to find effective solutions for limiting conflicts so as to help promote the survival of wild orangutans in areas that are facing human encroachment.
Panut Hadisiswoyo, who is working with the Orangutan Information Centre in North Sumatra, is providing conservation education training for teachers in Sumatra so that they can go back to the classroom better equipped to teach their students about the value of the rainforest and the orangutans who live in them. She hopes to inspire the next generations to protect their natural resources.
Purwo Kuncoro examined how orangutans' harvesting of palm hearts modifies palms so it is easier for other orangutans to learn the technique.
Joshua Smith studied developmental factors influencing orangutan social orientation to humans to improve understanding of orangutan initiatives in interactions and conflict with humans .

Full reports on these projects are available in our newsletters.

We also supported the Sumatram Orangutan Society's conservation camp to help local children learn about their own forests and the orangutans.