Through the new relationship with The Orangutan Project (TOP), OURF aka TOP-USA is now supportive of a number of orangutan conservation programs in Indonesia including the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme's (SOCP) conservation programs in North Sumatra and Aceh, International Animal Rescue (IAR) Rescue Center in Ketapang, West Kalimantan; Leuser Ecosystem Protection and Advocacy through local organizations; Research in the Sabangau through Borneo Nature Foundation.  OURF now includes these programs below within its portfolio of supported programs. 

Batu Mbelin Quarantine Centre (SOCP)

3390833 2 batu mbelinBatu Mbelin is the only quarantine and care centre for the Sumatran orangutan. Opened in 2002, it is managed and operated by the Sumatran Orangutan and Conservation Programme (SOCP) and is located near Medan in North Sumatra. Illegally held orangutans confiscated in Sumatra are taken to the Batu Mbelin Orangutan Quarantine Centre. Many have been kept as pets or have been injured by palm oil plantation workers. Orangutans are given a full medical check upon arrival and treated for any illnesses and parasites. They undergo a quarantine period before being introduced to other compatible orangutans.

Many confiscated orangutans are very young and require regular milk feeds. Young orangutans have full time carers during the day and night and are also given tree climbing lessons in the grounds. When orangutans are deemed suitable for release they are either sent to the Bukit Tigapuluh release site in the province of Jambi or to the Jantho Reintroduction centre in the province of Aceh.

It costs approximately $200,000 AUD per annum to run the Batu Mbelin Quarantine Centre. Costs include staff salaries, orangutan confiscation costs, transportation costs, orangutan food, orangutan medical costs, food for staff and maintenance work.

International Animal Rescue (IAR) Rescue Center

ketapang orangutan rescue centreIn 2010, 24 hectares of land was purchased in Ketapang, West Kalimantan by IAR to build an Orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre for orangutans that had lost their forest habitat in the province of West Kalimantan. The aim is to rehabilitate the rescued orangutans and release them into protected areas of forest.

The new facility contains a fully equipped clinic for orangutans, a quarantine facility for infants and adults, socialization cages for adult orangutans, open enclosures for the rehabilitation of orangutans, an office and an education centre. 90% of the purchased land is forested. This forest provides an excellent way to provide a natural environment for the rehabilitation of the orangutans, allowing them to learn vital survival skills prior to being released back into the wild. 1 ha forested enclosures have been constructed to house orangutans being rehabilitated for release. Such enclosures also provide an easy way to monitor the development of an orangutan in a semi-natural environment.

One of the biggest problems faced when reintroducing animals to the wild that have spent considerable time in captivity is their inability to be able to recognise available food sources, especially during seasonal variations. Wild orangutans eat hundreds of different plant species and they change their diet according to the season and food availability to survive. Orangutans predominantly feed on high calorie fruits during the fruiting season but must rely on eating other food sources such as leaves and cambium when fruit is scarce.

The aim is now to purchase further forested land that borders the centre so larger semi-natural enclosures can be constructed. These forested enclosures will be enriched with known orangutan food trees so the orangutans undergoing release training will gain some knowledge of the wild food sources that are available to eat in the forest.  If this extra land is purchased, it will also allow an orangutan food tree plantation to be established. This will supply food for the captive orangutans, thus reducing the operational cost for food and it will create a sustainable financial source for the centre.

Leuser Ecosystem Protection & Advocacy- Wildlife Asia & HaKA

aceh and tripa swamp protection




Tripa in the Leuser Ecosystem of Aceh Sumatra, is home to one of only six remaining populations of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan and also has amongst the highest densities of orangutans anywhere in the world. Palm oil companies are destroying the forest here, and the total destruction of the remaining forest is predicted within less than five years if appropriate action is not implemented quickly. TOP-USA is supporting the work by local groups involved with the conservation of Tripa and the greater forests of the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, which involves the following objectives -

  • Empower communities to politically engage on the spatial plan by drawing links of ‘cause and effect’ from the likely deforestation and its potential to natural disasters including flooding.
  • Field mobilisation to uncover and highlight illegal activities.
  • Boost legal capacity and monitor legal proceedings including ongoing meetings and communication of news and developments to the public.
  • Enhance communications and campaign outreach by liaising with global and national networks for action and mobilisation.

Sabangau Research Unit - Borneo Nature Foundation

sabangau research unitLong-term research activities in the Sabangau peat swamp include work to monitor orangutan population, behaviour, diet and health, plus habitat quality and orangutan food availability. This work is important for understanding both how orangutans survive in logged and regenerating peat swamps which is one of their most important habitats.

Well-targeted, scientifically-sound, long-term ecological monitoring is now widely recognised as an essential complement to direct conservation activities. This provides essential information for conservation managers and strengthens conservation initiatives through:

1. assessing the impacts of human threats on forest condition and target conservation  species;

2. assessing the effectiveness of conservation management initiatives in achieving their stated   conservation aims, enabling more efficient resource targeting;

3. facilitating conservation management initiative adaptation to maximize conservation success and     minimize associated costs; and

4. enabling conservationists to provide objective evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of their     conservation initiatives to their funders and important local conservation stakeholders.

Despite these clear benefits, ecological monitoring is frequently neglected by conservation practitioners, owing to either a lack of appreciation of its value, inadequate expertise and/or insufficient funds. An ecological monitoring programme in Sabangau has already been designed and implemented, which will help strengthen conservation by providing constructive feedback for conservation managers. This programme enables monitoring of the impacts of human activities on ape habitat and numbers of orangutans in the Sabangau research site, providing essential feedback on the effectiveness of management in maintaining and enhancing the area’s ape populations.

information extracted from The Orangutan Project website