BORNEO — Surviving on a burnt landscape

Rescuing orang-utans in the midst of fire chaos
  • orangutan peatland fire Borneo
  • IAR staff search for orangutan after peatland fires, West Kalimantan Borneo
  • rainforest peatland fire Kalimantan Borneo
  • orangutan peatland fire Borneo
  • orangutan peatland fire Borneo
  • orangutan peatland fire Borneo

Project Info

Client Yayasan International Animal Rescue

Project Description

In mid-November 2015 I journeyed over an hour east of Ketapang, West Kalimantan with IAR orang-utan rescue staff to search for trapped male orang-utan. What we found was devastating and unfathomable. I could imagine that an animal the size and needs of an arboreal orang-utan could still survive on still smoldering scorched peatlands: The fire destruction a by-product of creating palm oil plantations in West Kalimantan Borneo. During the 2015 fire season, which lasted over two-months, millions of hectares were scorched releasing a toxic plume of smoke into the global atmosphere equaling the annual carbon output of Germany or Japan – the 3rd and 4th largest industrial economies in world. When I left Yayasan IAR in December 2015 rescues of fire victims were continuing at an alarming pace. Sadly the second year of the El Niño season in 2016 promises to be equally as devastating.

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