February 2023 News

Nusantara Construction Update

As previously reported, construction of Indonesia’s new capital city of Nusantara has been underway since August 2022. Located in East Kalimantan, Borneo, Nusantara threatens the highest concentration of wild orangutans and unparalleled biodiversity. Having promised minimum changes to the environment, the Indonesian government continues to promote the new capital city as an urban utopia in which green spaces and nature are paired with high-tech. 

As shown in the pictures below, current construction projects are already changing the landscape and include a parliament, workers’ homes, a dam, a grand mosque and a presidential palace. The rise in construction-related activity is already threatening animals and vegetation in this ancient forest. Illegal encroachments have intensified since the capital’s location was announced including on land home to an orangutan sanctuary with 120 orphaned and injured orangutans. 

Experts fear Nusantara will speed up deforestation in one of the world’s largest and oldest stretches of tropical rainforest, estimated to be more than 100 million years old. The risks from Nusantara are in addition to already-existing risks of deforestation from palm oil, logging and mining in addition to hunting and poaching. And, all of this comes at a time when the Indonesian government has clamped down on wildlife research and population studies further hampering the ability to monitor and report effects on biodiversity.

AmazonSmile Is Ending

Amazon recently announced that it will discontinue AmazonSmile—it’s charitable giving fund where customers support their favorite charities, effective February 20, 2023. With over 1 million eligible organizations, Amazon concluded that the program was not creating the impact they had hoped it would. 

For those of you who designated Save Orangutans Now as your favorite charity, generating contributions on our behalf, we are so deeply appreciative. The program was never meant to be a windfall, but every contribution matters and we can’t thank you enough for your past support.

As AmazonSmile ends, we encourage anyone who is able to consider making a monthly donation of at least $10 (about 33 cents/day). Just use the link below and designate the amount then check the monthly donation box.

Indeed, every little bit helps in the fight to save wild orangutans from extinction! 

“Orangutans Are At The Verge Of Extinction”

For those unfamiliar, Dr. Galdikas is the Jane Goodall of orangutans having spent 50 years in the jungles of Borneo doing ground-breaking research on the species. Her research, rescue, rehabilitation, and advocacy of orangutans is legendary and continues to influence global efforts to save them. Dr. Galdikas founded Orangutan Foundation International—our partner on the Patrol Post Project, and she and her organization continue to have a strong, unwavering presence in Borneo. 

This very recent video provides her unique perspective on orangutans and introduces her protege, Ruth Linsky, near the end. For those of you who may have seen the documentary “She Walks with Apes” several years ago, Ruth and her journey to becoming Dr. Galdikas’ replacement was featured. She is currently in Borneo finishing her PhD and we are excited to have her as our point of contact for the Patrol Post Project. 

Note: Although the host’s questions are in Spanish, Dr. Galdikas’ responses are easy enough to follow along and understand the context.

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