Fauna & Flora International (FFI)


A future for wild orang-utans in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Where in the World?

West Kalimantan, Indonesia


Three grants totalling £51,962

The orang-utan is Asia's only great ape and despite efforts to protect them in the wild, prospects for their survival look bleak. Once found across most of South East Asia, they are now limited to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. On Borneo, it is thought that less than 60,000 orang-utans are left, with around 80% of these in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

The pressures on the species are numerous, but the greatest threat is habitat destruction and fragmentation through illegal and unsustainable logging and forest conversion to agriculture. The latter is being driven by the fast growing global demand for vegetable oils and bio-fuels, resulting in many local governments re-zoning forest lands for the expansion of oil palm plantations.

Wildlife Finder: find out more about orang-utans.

How your money has helped

This project aims to effectively protect orang-utans in two priority landscapes for orang-utan conservation in West Kalimantan (Danau Sentarum peat swamp forest and Rongga-Perai lowland forests) through improved, collaborative law enforcement (based on community ranger schemes), improved protected area management, improved spatial planning to reduce conversion of forests to palm plantations and through development of sustainable forest management for orang-utan habitat under timber concession licences.

Your money has gone towards reducing deforestation and orang-utan habitat degradation. This means working collaboratively with local communities, local business and government to secure areas of forest which are protected specifically for orang-utans.

Secondly, the project is working to protect orang-utans from illegal hunting. This is happening by training local people to work in patrols to monitor and protect orang-utans and report on illegal trade and operations happening in protected areas.

As well as saving individual orang-utans, the project is fully staffed by local people, providing them an alternative income to plantation work, logging and hunting. It also offers education, health care, insurance and low or no interest loans for business ventures to the local community.

One of the most important aspects of the work is raising awareness among local schoolchildren about the plight of the orang-utan and its habitat. The children in turn then educate their parents. The project hopes to change the way the local communities think about their future and give them strength and knowledge to say no to the government and to the companies when offered to sell their land.


By putting these measures in place FFI hopes to see orang-utan populations stabilise and protected zones of forest flourish in the future as secure homes for orang-utans in Kalimantan.

Did you know

  • Female orang-utans do not undergo the menopause, despite living to well over 50 years of age.
  • An orang-utan will chew a single piece of fruit for up to 20 minutes before spitting out the seeds.
  • Orang-utans climb differently from African apes, such as the gorilla and bonobo. Orang-utans take longer strides, moving their arms and legs a greater distance during each climbing step, and rotate their major joints over a greater range of motion.
  • The word orang-utan (also written orangutan, orang utan and orangutang) is derived from the Malay and Indonesian words orang meaning ëpersoní and hutan meaning ëforestí, thus ëperson of the forestí.

See a full breakdown of the grants we awarded to organisations around the world

Download Grant spreadsheet [38Kb]

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