Rawa Kuno is home to some of the last endangered Orangutans on the planet. The ancient rainforests on the island of Borneo are 130 million years old (70 million years older than the Amazon rainforest) and support some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet.
Sadly, these forests suffer from extreme deforestation due to logging for hardwood/paper products, the demand for palm oil, and anthropogenic fires. Indonesia is the worlds number one supplier of plywood, and is also a major source of palm oil. It is estimated that almost 80% of the nation’s wood supply comes from illegal logging. After the forest is cleared, large palm plantations are planted in its place. Several studies have found that converting the forest to a palm monoculture leads to an 80-90% reduction in biodiversity. Extensive draining of the swampy forest has also caused peat-lands to dry out, leading to massive wildfires. The conservation of Borneo’s ecosystems cannot wait. Unless we do something, within the next ten years, almost ALL of the forest will be gone…
Below is a satellite image of southern Borneo near the city of Pangkalanbuun (airplane icon). Green is forest and red is recent deforestation. The large green area on the upper part of the peninsula is the 1,600 square mile Tanjung Puting National Park which is home to about 4,000 of the last 45,000 Bornean Orangutans and just to the right is the adjacent 247 sq. mi. Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve, which is part of a REDD project and probably supports about 600 Orangutans as well. The large green area to the left of the airplane icon includes the 208 sq. mi. Lamandau Wildlife Reserve which is a site where Orangutan Foundation International releases many of their rehabilitated Orangutans into the wild. The medium-sized rectangle of green southwest of the airplane icon just above a large swath of red is the 12.5 sq. mi. Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest. It is very important to protect the Rawa Kuno forest before it is destroyed, so we can eventually reunite its wild Orangutan population with the Orangutans in the larger Lamandau and Tanjung Puting reserves by creating a series of biological corridors. Recently, Orangutan Foundation International was able to purchase the entire Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest! They are also attempting to purchase surrounding forest plots including Rawa Kubu and Bakau, which would make the whole reserve around 20 sq. mi. This forest is estimated to be home to 50-200 wild Orangutans.
Here is a video of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is adjacent to the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest. This will give you an idea of what Rawa Kuno looks like.
-Baby Orangutan (endangered)
-Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa diardi) vulnerable
Sun Bear (vulnerable)
Bornean Slow Loris (Nycticebus menagensis) vulnerable
Horsfield’s Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus) vulnerable
Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica) endangered