Baby Bornean orangutan are being forced from their homes as devastating fires rip through rainforests in Kalimantan.
Instead of foraging for food in the wild, the copper-coloured apes are living a life indoors, sheltered from a deadly carbon haze creeping closer to their territory in Indonesia.
Some 7,000 miles away on South Quay, the Orangutan Protection Foundation is trying to help.
The charity sends money to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation’s (BOSF) rescue efforts at Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary, Borneo, and the Samboja Lestari Volunteer Project. These look after 4,500 orangutan, 10% of the total on the island.
Orangutan Protection Foundation’s head of operations Dr Grainne McEntee said: “The peat the rainforest grows on is a massive carbon sink so when the fires start, the levels of carbon emissions in a month are equivalent to that of the US in a year.
“It’s released into a haze and has nowhere to go so the pollution becomes global – and then is everyone’s problem.”
Experts believe it will be mid-2016 before the blaze is extinguished, taking the toll of forest damage beyond the 50,000 hectares already affected.
“At Nyaru Menteng they are fighting fires a kilometre away from the project,” said Dr McEntee. “Smoke full of toxins is affecting the respiratory tracts of the orangutan.
“All the babies who would go into the forest every day to practise skills, like gathering food, are being kept inside to protect them”
Meanwhile, BOSF’s teams on the ground are hosing flames, digging trenches and trying to keep the forest floor as wet as possible.
The foundation has secured £25,000 in emergency cash donations during the past six weeks. Now the South Quay charity is looking to Canary Wharf workers to help provide funding for emergency supplies such as masks, goggles and gloves.
She added: “We are not just about rescue, we don’t just take orangutan from dangerous situations and we have no intention of keeping them locked up.
“We want them out there living a normal life. We release rehabilitated orangutan back into the wild after giving them the skills they need to live independently.
“They’ve learned foraging skills, how to build nests, get foods and recognise good and bad poisons and we’ve released 120 so far.”
Text 70555 and the keyword is ORANG. This will automatically donate £5 to OPF.