50 Hours to Indonesia

FiresPhoto from the Bornean OrangutanSurvival Foundation-Indonesia.See more photos.

I’m writing this blog entry on my way to Palangkaraya, Indonesia (Borneo Map). For the past
month fires have intensified throughout Indonesia. Wild fires are unfortunately common and have
wreaked havoc for years, causing farm owners to lose their farms as well as their livelihoods.
Hundreds of animals have burned in the process as they attempt to run from the flaming jungles,
with the fires escalating to disaster levels on both Borneo and Sumatra islands. The fires are
threatening the livelihood of neighboring farms as well as the lives of many endangered species
that inhabit the dense jungles, including the endangered orangutan.


My purpose in going to Indonesia with an IFAW ER team is to support the Bornean Orangutan
Survival Foundation-Indonesia (BOS) at their rehab center in Palangkaraya. BOS has the largest
rehab center in Borneo which currently cares for 500+ orangutans. They have saved 300+
orangutans in just the past 3 years! I will be providing daily updates with photos and
hopefully even video from these ongoing rescue efforts.


Just in these past 2 weeks the fires have reached a disaster level. They have not raged out of
control like this since 1997. Just as it was in 1997, palm oil companies are quick to blame
local farm owners, as the rest of us look on and know that it’s palm oil management that
strategically placed these fires during the dry season. The palm oil debate is a whole other
arena, but do read and get involved.


Due to the fires, the center has received an influx of rehab patients, and not just orangutans,
but also gibbons and other forest animals. To make the situation even worse, the release site
where 42 orangutans were released this year is surrounded with fire. IFAW and BOS made the
decision to immediately send teams to this area to try and relocate the orangutans.


The BOS website lists several reports from the field, one from Pak Hardi, BOS assistant manager
of the Nyaru Menteng Rehab Center. In just one more day I will be meeting Pak Hardi at the
airport. From here our ER team will assess the current situation along with the local
Indonesian rescue teams.


Is there anything in particular about this rescue you would like me to report back to you on?


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