It’s about time for us to introduce you to Kopral and Shelton, two orangutans that Kaltimber has adopted in May 2018. World NGO Day (27/02/19) coupled with World Wildlife Day (03/03/19) is indeed the perfect time to highlight the amazing work of Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, who is providing love and care to our “kids”.
Kaltimber is strongly committed in advocating against deforestation, be it for the purpose of logging precious wood species such as ironwood (ulin), or for massive clearing of forest to make space for palm plantations. Kaltimber only process timber reclaimed from old structures such as boats, pontoons or buildings into flooring and decking. Ironwood is one of very popular among timber exporters because of being one of the hardest and most durable timbers in the world. While Indonesia has a total prohibition on export, and cutting is restricted to certain dimension, there is a lot of illegal logging.
Today, only half of Borneo forest is left and with a “current deforestation rate of 1.3 million hectares per year” (source: WWF), we fear for its future.
We have always looked with a mix of sadness and anger at what is happening to orangutans in Borneo, where their available habitat to live peacefully and away from humans, has drastically shrinked, statistically increasing the potential for encounterings with humans whenever the primates are looking for food that use to be plentiful in the forest. Such meetings often result in dramatic consequences because the population feel like they have all rights compare to those who were living there way before them.
Kopral and Sheldon were victims of this situation but fortunately BOS Foundation was there to rescue them. Kopral is a 13 years old male who was kept in a cage by his tormentors. One day, he managed to escape, but while looking for the safety of height and probably looking for a tree that was nowhere to be found, he climbed an electricity pylon that electrocuted him. His arms got burned so badly that the only way to save him was through their amputations.
Thanks to BOS Forest School, he learned how to climb trees using his mouth and feet and nowadays, Kopral is a dominant man with tough character, but still have lots of friends!
Shelton has nothing less of a sad story but with a similar happy ending thanks to his rescue by BOS. He was found with multiple shot wounds as he probably only looking for food and angered whoever it belonged to. Humans can be very cruel and forgetful of their own responsibility in having orangutans coming closer to their homes and shooting at him was their way to keep wildlife away from “their” property. All the gun pellets were removed, but Shelton’s right eye was too injured to be saved, causing him permanent blindness.
Maybe it is the shared trauma and permanent injuries, but it appeared that Shelton and Kopral are great friends and, while not living in the same quarters anymore, they spend time together during Forest School hours, where all orangutans get the self confidence they need to, when possible, be released back into the forest. This will unfortunately not be the case for our two friends, whom disabilities would put them in danger back in the wild, so their care will require lots of funding.
We would be grateful if you would join us in fostering Kopral & Shelton, but there are many other orangutans you can adopt through BOS. We cannot highlight the amazing feeling we have when receiving news about our orangutans: the progress they make in all aspects of their life, from new friendships to self confidence, really does something to your soul.