The Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility was established in 1998, by Dr Birute Galdikas, founder of the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), and the famous Camp Leakey in the Tanjung Puting National Park. The Centre was initially designed to accommodate less than 100 orangutans who were confiscated from private individuals or rescued from palm oil plantations. However, due to the devastating forest fires of 1996/97, the Centre was soon flooded with many more orphans than they had anticipated.
It is a sad fact that over the past years, the numbers have continued to grow and the Centre now cares for more than 330 orphans, ranging in age from under a year to 15 years. The orangutans get excellent medical care from the permanently employed vets, and are encouraged on their way to be rehabilitated for the wild by the more than 150 local staff at the Centre.
It is here, that I have been privileged to spend a month in 2008, 2010,2011 and 2013 helping out at the nursery pondok, caring for some 30 infant orangutans. These life-changing experiences working with such amazing creatures, were instrumental in my setting up Orangutan Aid in Hong Kong in order to try and do something to help. Naturally the Centre is very close to my heart and is therefore the focus of our first project.
As you can imagine, the monthly running costs for the Centre are huge and OFI receives no government funding or large grants to help with the operating costs. They rely solely on donations and their own fundraising efforts. Not only do they need funds just to keep operating, but funds are needed to be able to adequately house the increasing numbers of Orangutans. In 2010, Orangutan Aid was able to donate a small amount of money to be used at the nursery pondok (see blog "How your donations were spent") and also put money towards building a new enclosure for Hocky, one of the disabled young orangutans. Each year we have been able to increase the amounts donated and we continue to support OFI in helping to improve conditions for the orangutans at the centre. This is an ongoing project.
BUY A FOREST' CAMPAIGN
The greatest danger facing orangutans in the wild is the loss of their habitat due to deforestation. Millions of hectares of virgin rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra, are being destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations.
This is disasterous for the survival of the few remaining orangutan populations, and puts ever-increasing pressure on the existing rehabilitation and care centres, as more and more orphaned and displaced orangutans are brought to them. These centres are now faced with a huge problem - where to find suitable, protected forest where those already rehabilitated orangutans can be returned to the wild.
One of the ways forward, is for responsible organisations to purchase forested land which they will be able to protect for future years, when the current infants they are caring for will be ready to be released back into the forest. The Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) have set themselves a goal to purchase a 640 000 acre piece of forest , near the Care Centre, called the Rawa Kuno Legacy forest in Pangkalanbun, Central Kalimantan. So far they have raised just over 20% of the money required to complete this purchase, but time is of the essence. To read more about this forest and see a map of the actual land, please go to their website www.orangutan.org.
In 2011 we were able to donate USD2000 which could purchase a parcel of 20 acres, and in 2012 were were delighted to donate an amount of USD10000 equal to 100 acres. We would like to make this an ongoing project and hopefully increase our donation next year. This land will need to be protected from illegal loggers and mining which are threatenening the area, and it is vital that this remains a safe release site for many of the orangutans already waiting for release at the Care Centre.
KALIMANTAN FOREST PURCHASE
This certificate from the Orangutan Foundation International, represents our first donation of US$2000 towards the purchase of 20 acres of land in the Rawa Kuno Forest Legacy. We are delighted to have been able to contribute towards this, and further funds raised through our "Buy A Forest" campaign will be donated towards buying more of this land. For a satellite image of the actual location and the story of the land acquisition, please click on the link below.