Every year Indonesia is engulfed in fire and smoke, causing destruction and death. Most fires in Borneo are set for land-clearing purposes, with satellite mapping revealing that commercial development for large-scale land conversion – in particular, oil palm plantations – was the single largest cause of the infamous 1997/98 fires.
An estimated 5 million hectares were burned during the 1997/98 fires and a thick haze choked much of the region. The fires were so widespread that they impacted solar radiation across the globe, and had a measurable impact on global temperatures.
Today fires continue to be set annually for land clearing in agricultural areas and degraded forests. When conditions are dry, these fires can easily spread to adjacent forest and burn out of control.
With the intensity and frequency of fires in Indonesia ever increasing, the threat to orangutans and their remaining habitat is extreme.
Without exception, all of BOS Foundation’s working areas. both in East and Central Kalimantan, are susceptible to these serious fire threats. Every dry season we face the danger of fire and swiftly dealing with it is critical. Regular patrols are undertaken and their frequency increased significantly during the dry months to detect potential fire risks.
BOS Foundation relies on basic firefighting equipment to combat fire outbreaks across all of our programs.
- The Kehje Sewen Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC) is an area of 86,450 hectares of land that we have purchased specifically to conserve as an orangutan reintroduction forest in East Kalimantan.
- The Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest within the Central Kalimantan forest, covers 35,000 hectares, where we reintroduce, monitor and protect over 180 orangutans
- At Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Centre we care for just under 500 orangutans on natural islands, enclosures, Forest Schools and at our pre-release quarantine facility. Two years ago, a fire outbreak reached dangerously close to our main clinic centre. During the dry months, the water around the islands can dry up leaving our teams to focus heavily on 24-hour patrols to ensure the safety of the orangutans.
- At the Mawas Conservation Area we are responsible for the management and rehabilitation of a 309,000 hectares of peat forest which is home to 3,000 wild orangutans. The area was badly damaged in the 1990s through human development activities which were later abandoned, but not before huge areas of peat (including significant peat domes) were damaged and left to dry. Fire outbreaks here are frequent and we have developed, with the local community, fire teams to patrol, detect and extinguish fire outbreaks.
Forest and in particular peat fires can burn for weeks at a time, even smouldering underground and re-emerging, making them incredibly difficult to extinguish. Smouldering fires produce high levels of harmful gases, meaning that the effects of smoke inhalation for orangutans is particularly damaging, making them sick and unable to feed.
On top of this, we see many other life-threatening injuries to rescued orangutans, such as burns and infected wounds as well as serious psychological and emotional issues.
How Can You Help
There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.
Adopt an Orangutan
Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction means hundreds of orphan orangutans need to care for every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.Adopt Now
Make a Donation
Please help the Orangutans in their struggle for survival. Your donation is important and goes directly to BOS Indonesia. By donating, you are helping bring this noble yet endangered species back from the brink of extinction and on a path to freedom - from rescue to rehabilitation and release.Donate Now
Visit Our Shop
The perfect gift for any occasion! Choose from our selection of instant gifts that directly support our orangutans. You can buy a wheelbarrow, provide food for an orangutan for two months or lots more. You will receive a certificate, personalised with the name of your choice - perfect gift for you or a friend.Shop Now