Mission of OFI

The mission of the Orangutan Foundation International is to support the conservation, protection, and understanding of orangutans and their rain forest habitat while caring for ex-captive orangutan orphans as they make their way back to the forest.
Furthermore, OFI educates the public, school children, and governments about orangutans, tropical rain forests, and the issues surrounding orangutan and forest conservation and protection.

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History of OFI 

Orangutan Research and Conservation Project (ORCP) was the initial name of the program started in 1971 by Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and her former husband, Rod Brindamour, in Tanjung Puting National Park (originally Tanjung Puting Reserve) in the province of Kalimantan Tengah (Central Indonesian Borneo). The purpose of the program was and continues to be the study of the behavior and ecology of wild orangutans as well as the conservation of wild orangutan populations and their rain forest habitat. Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) was initially established in 1986 to provide support for this program. Dr. Galdikas received her original moral support from Dr. Louis Leakey for whom she named her base camp (Camp Leakey). Louis Leakey also helped find funding for the program, first from the Wilkie Brothers Foundation, later from the Leakey Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

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Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas

Scientist, conservationist, educator: for over four decades Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas has studied and worked closely with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat, and is today the world’s foremost authority on the orangutan. As President of OFI, Dr. Galdikas has studied orangutans longer than any other person in human history and has worked ceaselessly to save orangutans and forests, and to bring orangutans and their plight to the attention of the world.

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They are researchers

OFI operates Camp Leakey, an orangutan research area within Tanjung Puting National Park. OFI also runs the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility in Pangkalan Bun, which is home to 330 displaced orphan orangutans, and co-manages the Lamandau Reserve, where rehabilitated orangutans are released into the wild.  

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They are educators

Community engagement is central to their work in protecting orangutans. OFI produces educational programs for local schools, delivers public lectures in North America, Europe, and Indonesia as well as other countries in Asia. OFI also organizes conferences, training programs and disseminates news about orangutans, their plight, and forest conservation issues. 

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They are protectors

Not only does OFI give a voice to the orangutans and the many species in the rain forests of Borneo, but they also bring to light the difficult issues that face the people of Indonesia after decades of dictatorship and now their new democracy.  The challenges faced by Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) and other NGO’s helping to protect national parks in Indonesia were exacerbated historically by the epidemic corruption and cronyism of the President Suharto era, and later by the widespread lawlessness and political instability that followed his resignation in May 1998 after 31 years of dictatorial rule.  More recently, economic concerns have become paramount and local government decisions are made increasingly with economics, and not conservation, in mind.  Parts of Tanjung Puting were quickly overwhelmed by illegal loggers, and even a small portion of the Camp Leakey study area was briefly invaded by loggers.  Local men and migrants, most working for the new regional timber barons, kidnapped and assaulted two environmental investigators, while an American proboscis monkey researcher was forced out of the park by local people.  During these difficult times, OFI, working with the local government, took over co-management of the park, establishing guard posts, evicting illegal loggers and poachers, and establishing fire-fighting teams.  It has been against this backdrop that Dr Galdikas and OFI have fought to protect Tanjung Puting National Park, its 400,000 hectares and wild orangutans, for the last 40 years. It has not been easy work. 

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