Please note that all photos are copyright OFI.
They say that a photo is worth a thousand words. Here is the equivalent of a few thousand words: photos of the fires that OFI is facing and fighting in 2009. The extreme droughts that enable human-made fires to blaze throughout Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and Sumatra seem to be much more frequent than they ever used to be. The last El Nino was in 2006 when over 50 of our OFI assistants fought the fires for almost two months before the fires were brought to a stop.
Some scientists believe that the increasing frequency of El Nino years is related to global climate change. Having lived in Borneo for several decades I suspect that this belief is true.
The eastern part of Tanjung Puting National Park, which is directly next to palm oil plantations, burned in 2006, making it particularly vulnerable to fire again in 2009. It is in this critical area of double jeoparty that the above photos of OFI rangers fighting the fires were taken. Once forest is repeatedly burned, secondary succession is deflected and it is very difficult for the tropical rain forest to return.
At least one thousand of the six thousand wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park and its vicinity live on the eastern side of the Park where the fires are currently burning. It is crucial that these fires be stopped for the sake of wild orangutan populations and all wildlife in the area. OFI is doing all it can to make this happen but we need help and funding.