Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas
President, Orangutan Foundation International (OFI); Professor, Dept. of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, BC Canada
Location: Central Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia
Research: Defend Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest - Phase 2
Species/Topic: Bornean Orangutan
Abstract: The destruction of tropical forests and the illegal killing and trade of orangutans is pushing the orangutan species closer to extinction every day. The limited capacity of government authorities to enforce environmental regulations has been a formidable barrier to their protection. Over the past 20 years, 90% of the world's orangutan habitat had been destroyed. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the orangutan today is an IUCN-listed Endangered species with fewer than 50,000 scattered orangutans located in fragmented ranges in Borneo and Sumatra. Without their forest habitat orangutan populations in the wild will disappear. This project will safeguard and defend the 6,400-acre Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest (and thousands of acres of surrounding buffer forest), home to 50-100 wild orangutans and a future release site for rehabilitated orangutans. It will strengthen local capacity to minimize human-orangutan conflicts; reduce illegal wildlife trade; and support the long-term survival of wild orangutan populations.