The Lamandau Wildlife Reserve is the result of OFI working with local and national government officials to save two expired logging concessions from becoming a palm oil plantation. It took one and a half years for OFI’s President, Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, to persuade the Indonesian government to establish the logged forest as a wildlife reserve where OFI could release graduating orangutans from its rehabilitation program at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Pasir Panjang, Kalimantan Tengah (Central Indonesian Borneo)
With the help of the Governor of Kalimantan Tengah and the Minister of the Environment, the mission to establish a government reserve where ex-captive orangutans from OCCQ could be released was accomplished on February 26,1998 when the Minister of Forestry decreed that 76,040 hectares near the Lamandau River now constituted Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.
Since the Reserve’s establishment OFI has released 150 ex-captive orangutans from the OCCQ program and helped translocate ten wild orangutans from other areas where those particular orangutans were in danger for a total of 160 released orangutans.
Unfortunately, the Reserve was reduced in size to 54,000 ha a few years after its establishment. However, the national and local governments agreed that a relatively large area of lightly logged dry ground forest will be added to the Reserve in the future, perhaps increasing the Reserve’s area to the previous size. This represents good news because currently much of the Reserve consists of peat swamp forests. The addition of dry ground forest will substantially increase the Reserve’s habitat diversity.
Management, conservation, and development work with local communities at or near Lamandau Reserve is currently carried out by The Orangutan Foundation based in the UK. In accordance to local and national regulations relating to orangutan rehabilitation and release, Lamandau Reserve is not open to visitors.