Orangutan Legacy Forest

A Biological Treasure and an Important Orangutan Refuge

Orangutan Legacy Forest Land Purchasing Program Orangutan Foundation InternationalThe Orangutan Legacy Forest is part of OFI’s plan to purchase and protect a network of parcels of primary and secondary lowland forest located between the 1 million acre+ Tanjung Puting National Park, the 188,000 acre Lamandau Reserve, and the 1,000 acre Pasir Panjang Village Forest, home to OFI’s Camp Rendell. OFI envisions a province-wide system of contiguous, biologically intact nature reserves, parks, corridors, and protected areas, which together will help provide essential habitat to ensure the long-term conservation of the endangered orangutan in our region.

The Orangutan Legacy Forest is a biologically-rich forest area home to more than a hundred orangutans and other endangered wildlife species. Its acquisition and permanent protection is key to ensuring the health and safety of the region’s last remaining wild orangutan population. Vast and biologically diverse, it includes ancient peat swamp forest, dry ground forest, secondary forest, swamps and lakes. Contiguous with other undeveloped rainforest fragments and relatively far from human settlements, it is a perfect home for endangered orangutans.

More than one hundred wild orangutans (already forcibly evicted from much of their historical habitat by forest destruction) have found refuge in the Orangutan Legacy Forest region. Orangutan presence is readily visible within the peat swamp areas where the verdant forest canopy is festooned with orangutan sleeping nests. An exemplary Southeast Asian biodiversity hotspot, this forest is also home to sun bears, clouded leopards, wild pigs, mouse deer, rusa deer, long-tailed macaque monkeys, pig-tailed macaque monkeys, proboscis monkeys, red leaf-eating monkeys, and agile gibbons—some found nowhere else in the world and endemic to Borneo.

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    Like so much of Borneo’s forestland, unprotected portions of the Orangutan Legacy Forest are currently at risk of being clear-cut and converted to palm oil agriculture or timber concessions. Without your financial support and OFI’s immediate intervention, this forest habitat could be lost forever.

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Piecing Together a Safe and Secure ‘Sanctuary’

Map of forest 2

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Specifically, the Orangutan Legacy Forest includes several distinct forested areas including more than 7,900 acres of forestland in and around OFI’s recently acquired Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest. Today, OFI is working to expand this protected forest by purchasing two village forests to the south of Rawa Kuno. These village forests were recently offered for sale to OFI and include the 900-acre Sungai Bakau Village Forest and 2,800-acre Kubu Village Forest.

Acquisition of these two southern village forests by OFI will extend the protection of critical orangutan habitat beyond Rawa Kuno’s border and provide ideal locations for patrol posts and water towers to help protect this vast forest region from illegal logging, mining, hunting and forest fires that may sweep the region during the dry season. Additional land purchases within the Orangutan Legacy Forest Region will include a minimum of 2,500 acres of forested wildlife corridor land, connecting the Orangutan Legacy Forest to the Pasir Panjang Village Forest and beyond, thus creating a large, protected and interconnected orangutan habitat ‘sanctuary.’

Orangutan Legacy Forest Land Purchasing Program Orangutan Foundation International

The Orangutan Legacy Forest boasts an amazing array of plant species as well as wildlife. A short walk into the forest reveals an abundance of carnivorous, creeping pitcher plants, some towering trees with girths larger than the arm span of three grown men, and a variety of fruiting plants that sustain a biologically diverse ecosystem. On a larger scale, the forest is an important ‘carbon sink,’ with carbon (a contributor to global climate change if released) safely sequestered deep below its swampy waters and throughout the root systems of its peat swamp forest trees.

A Future Home for Rehabilitated Orangutans

As Borneo’s rainforests are cleared for palm oil plantations, orangutans are left homeless and vulnerable to starvation, disease, and predation by humans. Orangutan mothers are killed and their infants fall victim to the cruel and illegal pet trade industry. If they are lucky, they eventually find their way to an orangutan rehabilitation facility, such as OFI’s Care Center and Quarantine.

Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine Orangutan Foundation InternationalFor the 320 orangutans currently being cared for by OFI, the Orangutan Legacy Forest truly is ‘the promised land.’ Each month orphaned orangutans enter OFI’s rehabilitation program. Yet with so little protected forest remaining (and with many national parks off limits to ex-captive animals), it is extremely difficult to find suitable release sites for those ready to return to the wild.

OFI is working hard to change that by purchasing, protecting & patrolling, and replanting the region’s forestland. Portions of the Orangutan Legacy Forest damaged by the devastating fires in 2002, 2006, 2012, and 2015 will be reforested through an aggressive, long-term Reforestation Program carried out by OFI staff and volunteers in the years ahead. This will transform existing open swampy grasslands back into lush tropical rainforests capable of supporting an expanded population of orangutans. A vast, wild, and fully reforested ecosystem, the Orangutan Legacy Forest will become home to orphaned and rehabilitated orangutans—giving them a second chance to grow up and be wild.

A Unique Conservation Opportunity and a Special Fundraising Challenge

For OFI, the Orangutan Legacy Forest initiative is a race against time in a must-win battle against the powerful forces of wealthy and influential palm oil and timber industry elites. Keenly aware that the vast majority of land sold by local landowners is converted to palm oil plantations or pulp and paper concessions, we have made a firm promise to our many stakeholders that we will purchase and protect critical orangutan habitat as best we can.

Thanks to you, OFI was successful in keeping the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest and surrounding buffer and wildlife corridor land out of the hands of short-sighted developers by raising $743,000 in 2011 and 2012 which we used from 2011 through the beginning of 2013 to buy these areas.
Orangutan Legacy Forest Land Purchasing Program Orangutan Foundation International

Your generous financial donation will ensure the permanent protection of the Orangutan Legacy Forest and its population of wild orangutans. It will also create a much-needed sanctuary for the release of orphaned and rehabilitated orangutans back into the wild. Let this be your legacy!

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