Protecting the habitat of orangutans in Borneo

“Orangutan” means “man of the forest” in Malay

And for good reason! Both day and night, these primates spend most of their time in the trees. It is also among the branches that they find their main source of food: fruit. The Bornean orangutan is one of the three species of orangutans, whose forests on the island of Borneo are the only habitat in the world. Victims of deforestation and poaching, their population has decreased by more than 60% in 60 years! Critically endangered, there are now only 57,000 left*. *Utami-Atmoko, S. et al. (2017) Orangutan Population and Habitat Viability Assessment: Final Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN.

Restoration and reintroduction

In recent years, the Pairi Daiza Foundation, in collaboration with BOS Foundation, has worked on the realization of two important projects for the species: restoring the natural habitat of the orangutan in Borneo by planting over 11,000 trees in a degraded area, and reintroducing 9 individuals to Borneo by financing, notably, the transport of the primates to their reintroduction island.

Preventing forest fires

Since 2023, the Pairi Daiza Foundation has continued its work to protect and restore the habitat of Borneo orangutans, in collaboration with the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF), by participating in a project to prevent forest fires in the Sebangau National Park, a sanctuary for 6,000 orangutans. In their natural state, the peat forests in this region are constantly saturated with water and therefore resistant to fires. However, drainage canals were dug in the past to extract wood. By draining the peat, it becomes dry, making the forest extremely susceptible to fires, especially during the dry season. A exacerbating factor is that when the peat dries out and burns, large amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Our goal: to reduce the risk of fires and limit their impact by building dams at the drainage canals to rehydrate the peat. Additionally, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of local patrol teams to respond quickly to fires.


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