The Borneo Project
I'm a local South Australian Photographer capturing our beautiful landscapes and seascapes as well as weddings, family portraits and commercial photo shoots. In April 2011 I added a new photography interest... Orangutans in Borneo. I first visited Borneo last year and returned this year in May. My reason for travelling through Borneo is to photograph what the corrupt Palm Oil Corporations are to doing to our fragile planet and wildlife, many of which are now endangered because of palm oil. I capture these amazing Orangutans on camera in hope to educate people back home on the Fleurieu as well as all over the world by fundraising products such as Orangutans calendars, photographic prints and canvases on my websites and social media. By learning what the palm oilindustry is doing to the planet, animals and also our health as it is a saturated fat, I now researches and educates people on everyday items that are palm oil free (pof) such as food, toiletries and cosmetics. This has led to creating a dedicated palm oil free online web store called Ethikool (visit the online shop or follow on facebook) where customers can safely purchase items without getting confused with the 200 plus cover up names for palm oil, and to save time by not needing to read labels anymore.
In 20011 we find a mother & her baby moving across the canopy of the rain forest looking for food & a place to build a nest for the night. Twenty meters away the Forest has been cleared as far as the eye can see to growpalm oil. The area the size of 300 football fields is cleared every hour to make way for palm oil.
We find young plants ripped from the ground evidence orangutans have been hear looking for food. This is why plantation workers will kill any orangutan they find, some times a bounty is put on there heads. Usually a mother is killed & the baby is then sold via the illegal pet trade or sold to zoos. Having evidence of orangutans in this area, it is supposed to have now stopped any more destruction of Forrest in this area. I have recently found out most of the Forrest we were trekking through has now been cleared.
This area is in Central Kalimantan ( Borneo ) & to get to this area we had to drive through this palm oil plantation. Passing through a check point guarded by a security company paid by the plantation, I had to hide in the back seat of the truck so we could get through. The local Dayak tribe who live in this area on the river also have to pass through this check point to go into the near by town.
Palm Oil, or Elaeis guineensis is the cheapest oil you can buy, as it is very high yielding. It is found in 60% of products on our supermarket shelves & growing. Demand is predicted to more than double by 2030 and to triple by 2050. The oil is very thick & this is the reason it is used to thicken creams & lotion's, It also allows soaps & chocolate to harden quicker allowing a quicker time to process. As you can see, this is why it is highly desirable for manufactures to use. With our labeling laws in Australia it is very hard to detect, we currently have a list of over 200 names it can be found under.
Palm Oil is also used in the Bio fuels industry. Indonesia already has 6 million hectares of oil palm plantations, but has plans for another 4 million by 2015 dedicated to bio fuel production alone.
Also 2011 we investigated a small government run zoo with two orangutans. One adult in a very small cage rocking back & forward. A zoo keeper asked, if I had a cigarette to give to the orangutan, I could not say anything as we were under cover as tourists. A young baby in another cage near by clearly emaciated, with a chain around his neck lying on the concrete floor in its own mess. His lips were scared with fresh cigarette burns. The Centre For Orangutan Protection are now in the process of trying to have this zoo shut down.
This year while in Saramarinda in East Kalimantan, Centre For Orangutan Protection took me to see three orangutan's in different locations in peoples homes. It is illegal to keep orangutan's, yet people still own them in horrible conditions & the government dose nothing.
1st- adult female, her name is Gundul. 21 years of age. She lives at Kampung Jawa, East Borneo. She has been in the location since she was a baby. She is owned by a elderly man about 75yrs old. She was tied to a tree with no protection from the weather.
2nd- adult orangutan found in a wooden small box living outside an apartment block. Owner use to live there & has since moved. All the residents feed her lots of food as a result she is heavily obese.
3rd- Baby orangutan found in front of a home / shop. She is owned by a local police man.
As you can see, this is why Im so passionate about this issue. Orangutan's are 97% of our DNA, another 3% & we might not be having this problem.
Glenn Alderson Photography is donating 100% of the profits from the sale of all framed & non-framed prints, 2012 calendar, cards & other merchandise from this project to :
The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP)www.orangutanprotection.com
COP are a direct action group of Indonesian people who campaign to bring an urgent end to the destruction of our rainforests and the killing of orangutans. They focus on the cause of the problems as well as rescuing orphaned orangutans whenever they find them, which is often.
The Orangutan Land Trust (OLT)www.forests4orangutans.org
As a land trust OLT focus on supporting the preservation, restoration and protection of land masses in the areas where orangutans naturally exist or have existed in the past. The main aim of this trust is to ensure that there are safe forest areas set aside for orangutans and other species which accompany them within their habitat to form a healthy ecosystem.