Archive | August 2012

Blind Sumatran orangutan mother able to see her baby twins for first time after ground breaking cataract surgery

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP)

Jl. Wahid hasyim No 51/74
North Sumatra

The PanEco Foundation
partners with
Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari
Ditjen PHKA (Indonesian Ministry of Forestry)

Blind Sumatran orangutan mother sees her baby twins for first time after ground breaking cataract surgery

The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is delighted to announce that cataract surgery was performed on an elderly, blind female orangutan named “Gober” on Monday 27th August at 13.00.

Gober is unique, as in addition to being blind in both eyes, she is also the mother of two 18 month old twin infants, “Ganteng” (male) and “Ginting” (female). Furthermore, the father of the twins is also blind, as a result of being shot 62 times by an air rifle several years ago, 2 pellets being lodged in one eye and 1 in the other.

“Twin orangutan births are not unheard of, “ explained Dr Ian Singleton, Conservation Director of the Swiss based PanEco Foundation and head of the SOCP, “I have heard of some 10 to 15 cases in my career, but twins whose parents are both blind is totally unique”.

Gober came from an area of mixed rubber trees and natural forest, where she had lived wild and reared a number of infants over many years. She was captured in late 2008 for her own safety, as she had become blind due to cataracts, probably as a result of her advancing years. “Based on the condition of her teeth we estimate she is probably well over 40 years old, and if we hadn’t brought her here she would have been killed by local farmers, as she was raiding their crops to survive”, stated SOCP veterinarian drh Yenny Saraswati. She now resides at the SOCP’s orangutan quarantine centre near Medan, in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

“Normally we don’t encourage orangutans at the centre to breed, as there are already far too many orangutans in captivity in Indonesia. We much prefer they do that after they have left, and are once again living free in the wild. But we made an exception in Gober’s case, since we knew she was a good mother and felt that being blind, it would dramatically improve her quality of life. We therefore introduced her a couple of years ago to another blind orangutan, a male named Leuser, who is blind in both eyes, as a result of being shot 62 times by an air rifle (twice in one eye and once in the other). But even then we were all very surprised when she produced twins”.

As predicted, despite her blindness Gober has been an exemplary mother to the twins and when an opportunity arose to operate, and perhaps restore her sight, the SOCP jumped at the chance. The surgery was performed on Monday 27th by Dr R. Arie Umboh, a “human” eye specialist from Samarinda, assisted by Ms. Juliana Sasambe, and SOCP vets drh Yenny and drh Rachmad Wahyudi. It lasted just 40 minutes and so far all appears to be going well. “We found no evidence of any damage to the retina of either eye and so I am very hopeful that Gober will regain a large amount of her sight, meaning that all being well, there’s every chance she will finally be able to see her twin infants for the first time very soon”, commented Dr Umboh.

“Its absolutely fantastic that we were finally able to do this for Gober. We had to wait until the twins were big enough to be separated briefly from their mum but now that we have done it, all being well it will change each of their lives. We are extremely grateful for the help of Dr Umboh and also to the Orang-Utans in Not foundation from Germany for covering the logistical costs of the work”.

Cataract surgery for orangutans is still very rare and this is probably the first such operation in Indonesia.

The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is engaged in all aspects of orangutan conservation in Sumatra including:

1. Confiscation, medical quarantine and reintroduction back to the wild of illegal pet orangutans
2. Field research, surveys and monitoring of the remaining wild Sumatran orangutan populations
3. Rainforest habitat protection work
4. Conservation education and awareness raising

To date, the SOCP’s quarantine centre near Medan has received over 150 illegal pet orangutans, of which over 180 have been returned to the wild in Jambi and Aceh provinces.

Donations are always needed to care for and reintroduce the SOCP’s orangutans and can be made via paypal at or by contacting the PanEco Foundation directly (

Contact persons:

Dr Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation, Paneco Foundation

drh Yenny Saraswati, SOCP senior veterinarian

or contact Mr Gunung Gea +6285280108401;


Senior Aceh official reported to Police accused of falsifying data regarding Tripa peat swamp forests

Aceh Integrated Licensing and Services Board reported to the Police

Firman Hidayat | The Globe Journal


Wednesday, 29 August 2012 14:15 West Indonesia Time


Banda Aceh – The Aceh Integrated Licensing and Service Board (BP2T) was reported to the Aceh Provincial Police in connection with suspected falsification of the data in a position paper prepared for the Governor of Aceh on 27th October 2010. In the said position paper, it was written that the peat depth in the Tripa Peat Swamps was between 0.5 to 1.5 metres.

“As a result of this position paper, the then-Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf (Governor from 2007 – 2012) issued a ‘permit in principle’ to PT Kallista Alam in the Tripa swamps. Whereas the position paper contradicted PT Kallista Alam’s own 2010 Environmental documentation (UKL/UPL) prepared by their environmental consultation that stated that the peat depth averages over 3 metres (page III-6)” said the spokesperson for the Coaltion Team for Saving the Tripa Swamps (TKPRT), Irsadi Aristora, who was making the report to the police.

He told the Globe Journal in Wednesday (29/8) that investigators from the Ministry of the Environment had also measured the peat depth in Tripa to be greater than 3 metres. The report from TPKRT was recorded by the Aceh Police as report number BL/188/VIII/2012/SPKT, signed by Aipda Khairuddin.

The Globe unsuccessfully tried to contact the head of BP2T, as he did not answer repeated calls to his cell phone. When he finally answered his phone he claimed “I am sorry, I cannot hear you on my cell phone, the Cell phone is not functioning”.

At midday, Gustav Leo from the Public Relations section of the Aceh Police, when contacted, promised to follow-up the report. “I will check the report, I am at ‘SPKT (Sentra Pelayanan Kepolisian Terpadu/Integrated Police Service Centre)’, but it will definitely be followed up” he said.

“It will definitely be followed-up, hopefully members of the public can provide strong evidence” he reiterated.

The Director of Walhi Aceh, TM Zulfikar stated that the head of Aceh Police must pursue this case to its conclusion. The report from TKPRT and the public in the Tripa swamps must follow-up until it goes to court. “Don’t just stop with the report and then there is no follow-up” said Zulfikar, while also saying that Walhi Aceh together with the TKPRT, will continually monitor developments with this case until it goes to court.


(Original Text)

Badan Pelayanan dan Perizinan Terpadu (BP2T) Aceh dilaporkan ke Polda Aceh terkait dugaan pemalsuan data yang dikeluarkan BP2T terhadap data yang tertulis dalam telaah staff yang ditujukan kepada Gubernur Aceh pada tanggal 27 Oktober 2010. Telaah staff tersebut menulis kedalaman gambut 0,5 – 1,5 meter di kawasan rawa tripa.

“Akibat telaah staff BP2T itu, Gubernur Aceh periode 2007-2012, Irwandi Yusuf mengeluarkan izin prinsip untuk PT. Kalista Alam di rawa tripa. Padahal telaah staff itu jelas-jelas tidak sesuai dengan UKL UPL PT. Kalista Alam melalui konsultan Amdal pada halaman III-6 2010 bahwa rata-rata kedalaman gambut lebih dari 3 meter,” Kata Juru Bicara Tim Koalisi Penyelamatan Rawa Tripa (TKPRT) Irsadi Aristora sebagai pelapor.

Kepada The Globe Journal, Rabu (29/8) Ia mengatakan penyidik KLH juga sudah mengukur kedalaman gambut di rawa tripa yang tebalnya diatas 3 meter. Laporan TKPRT ini diterima oleh pihak Polda Aceh bernomor BL/188/VIII/2012/SPKT yang ditanda tangani Aipda Khairuddin.

Sementara itu Kepala BP2T Aceh, M. Yahya saat dihubungi The Globe Journal tidak berhasil. Beberapa kali dihubungi via sellulernya tidak tersambungkan, hanya bunyi nada dering. Namun beberapa saat kemudian, M. Yahya menjawab dengan mengatakan maaf hp saya sudah tidak bisa mendengar, hp saya tidak bisa mendengar.

Tadi siang, Humas Polda Aceh, Gustav Leo saat dihubungi juga berjanji akan menelusuri laporan tersebut. “Saya akan cek laporan itu dan masih di SPKT, baru kemudian pasti ditindak lanjuti” katanya.

“Pasti ditindak lanjuti, masyarakat mudah-mudahan bisa berikan informasi yang kuat,” katanya lagi. Direktur Walhi Aceh, TM. Zulfikar mengatakan Kapolda Aceh harus menuntaskan kasus ini. Laporan TKPRT dan masyarakat di rawa tripa tersebut mesti ditindak lanjuti hingga ke pengadilan. “Jangan hanya berhenti dilaporan tanpa ada tindak lanjut,” kata Zulfikar sembari mengatakan Walhi Aceh bersama TKPRT akan terus memantau perkembangan laporan ini hingga kasus tersebu bergulir ke pengadilan.





Film and article by CBS news with Ian and Jennifer Davis of Oregon Zoo, recorded end of August ate orangutans SSP husbandry workshop in Portland, Oregon USA