Orangutan public awareness volunteers wanted

posted in: News | 0

Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia) is currently looking to enlist two highly passionate Malaysian volunteers, part time, to join us in preserving our national heritage, the orangutan. You will play a major role in our awareness raising programme on orangutan conservation.



–          Lead and conduct awareness raising programmes in national schools and in public,

–          Communicate with national schools to set schedules for presentations,

–          Take part in public events organized by the NGO.



–          Able to conduct awareness raising programmes during weekdays too

–          Fervent passion and beliefs in animal rights and environmental issues,

–          Good communication skills

–          Punctuality,

–          Proficient in Bahasa Malaysia, both written and spoken,

–          Good command of English, both written and spoken,

–          Computer proficient, especially with MS Power Point,

–          Valid driving licence, preferably possess your own vehicle

–          Based in Kuala Lumpur/Selangor


This is a volunteer position. However, your traveling costs will be covered by the NGO.


Interested candidates should email us and include a copy of your resume.

For more details please email us at info@fotomalaysia.org, thank you.

Free Lasah the elephant

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

If most of the email addresses below fail/bounce please re-send the same email to all the email addresses. If some fail/bounce, no worries!


Please write to:

Y.B. Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar (Environment Minister of Malaysia)



CC your email to:



It would be great if you could also CC emails of the Malaysian embassy in the country you live. Emails can be obtained from this link.

You may use this email draft below if you wish. Please feel free to make changes.

Dear YB Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Bin Tuanku Jaafar,


The Langkawi Elephant Adventures on Langkawi island has held the elephant Lasah under deplorable conditions for ten years and used him for elephant rides. Investigators also found Lasah kept in brutal conditions behind public eyes, chained on all four legs. Is Lasah chained in this cruel manner during LEA’s closing hours? This is devastating for a social animal like Lasah and his treatment is unacceptable.

Lasah has spent over 20 years in several zoos, forced to work in a logging camp, perform in shows including in a popular Malaysian entertainment outlet and used in commercials and films.

Lasah has endured a lonely life of exploitation at the Langkawi Elephant Adventures and other places long enough. Over 370,000 supporters around the world have spoken up for Lasah through the Care2.com petition at this link http://tinyurl.com/freelasah3. It is disgraceful what this elephant has endured all these years. It is time the Malaysian government put an end to Lasah’s suffering.

I join FOTO Malaysia and other animal lovers like myself from around the world in asking you to please order the transfer of Lasah to the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary where he will have the companionship of other elephants, space, and care that he deserves for the rest of his life.

Thank you.


Yours Sincerely,

[Your name here]


Why you should stay away from orangutan rehabilitation centres

posted in: News | 0

What’s wrong with visiting orangutan (and other great ape) rehabilitation centres? Orangutans undergoing rehabilitation should not/must not be exposed to the public for two reasons:

1. Risk of disease transmission – orangutans who contract diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and influenza (from humans or other orangutans) may not be releasable into the wild and doomed to a lifetime of captivity. Humans can also get infected by orangutans as we share 97% of their DNA.

2. Habituation to humans – Habituated orangutans may fail rehabilitation and never make it back into the wild. It is for this reason ethical and responsible orangutan rehabilitation centres such as International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rehabilitation centre in Kalimantan, Indonesia, does not allow any form of tourism and strictly control the presence of people unconnected to their centres. To make matters worse, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) in the East Malaysian state of Sabah allows rotating volunteers to be part of the rehabilitation process. These individuals pay to volunteer at SORC for four weeks and there are a maximum of twelve people in a group. Click here to know why this can have an impact on the rehabilitant apes at SORC.

Please reconsider visiting or volunteering at rehabilitation centres which offer hands-on activities with rehabilitant orangutans, such as at SORC. The Sabah Wildlife Department, which manages SORC, is aware that tourism must not be allowed in great ape rehabilitation centres. Besides, the tourism at SORC doesn’t abide by the “Best practice guidelines for great ape tourism” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. See here for more details. If you want to see orangutans in Malaysia, see them in the wild, like at Kinabatangan in Sabah, Malaysia.

Please also read Orangutan Project’s excellent article on human-orangutan contact and its consequences, click here to read.


Three photos in this post of visitors to Sepilok in contact with orangutans.


14446046_1652329131746691_8017310801393534335_n   14468265_1652329151746689_3876523950337350984_o


The banks and investors exposed to deforestation risks in Southeast Asia

posted in: News | 0

Rainforest Action Network has produced an excellent report on financiers which backs companies involved in forest destruction, including for palm oil. The report can be viewed at this website: http://forestsandfinance.org/

Meanwhile, Clean Malaysia has published article with a summary of the report. Link to the article can be found here. Excerpt from Clean Malaysia’s article is as follows:

“Between 2010 and 2015 lenders from around the world gave an estimated total of US$50 billion (RM205 billion) to corporate entities, including palm oil companies, that engaged in extensive deforestation in the two countries. The total value of loans Malaysian banks gave to companies engaged in forest clearance amounted to US$7.7 billion (RM31.6 billion).

The top two financiers of companies that posed threats to forests were Malayan Banking and CIMB in Malaysia: each provided loans amounting to US$2.5 billion (RM10.25 billion) for such purposes.”

Help save Lasah the elephant

posted in: News, slider | 0


Lasah is a 37 year old wild born elephant who has suffered in zoos, tourism and entertainment for over 25 years.


Please click here to help #FreeLasah.


Lasah has been forced to work in a logging camp, lived in zoos including Singapore Zoo, perform in shows including in a popular Malaysian entertainment outlet and used in commercials and the 1999 film Anna and the King.


Chained on all four legs


12 years ago he was sent to the popular Malaysian tourist island, Langkawi and since then has been used by the profit-making Langkawi Elephant Adventures [LEA]. There, Lasah is used for elephant rides and lives all alone, which is devastating for a social animal like elephants. LEA also continues to offer Lasah for other commercial purposes on their website.

In July 2016 activists exposed photos of Lasah chained on all four legs behind public eyes during LEA’s closing hours. In March 2017, eight months after the campaign for Lasah started, the Malaysian environment ministry said that Lasah is chained on two feet (when not exploited for tourist money).

Lasah has suffered for too long. This abuse must stop. Please help #FreeLasah so he may get to a sanctuary in Cambodia.

Click on the link below to take action now.






Indonesia’s zoos from hell

posted in: News | 0


Below we post a special commentary by the CEO of Nature Alert regarding the dreadful condition of many zoos Indonesia. Orangutans and other wildlife are mismanaged and abused by uncaring zoos and they need urgent help.

Zoos in Indonesia have been in the news recently for all the right and wrong reasons.

Let me explain. In one day the Jakarta Post, recently published two articles critical of what is supposed to be Indonesia’s flagship zoo: Ragunan. In reality it’s a horrible place to visit. Most people go there at weekends only to escape the mayhem elsewhere in Jakarta.

What was refreshing about one article were the candid opinions of a zoo keeper. He clearly cared about the tigers he was responsible for. Even so, he admits tigers should not be imprisoned.

People do not go to Jakarta Zoo to learn about the animals. Mostly, they go to tease and torment them, because this zoo, like all others in Indonesia, is there to entertain and attempt to make a profit. They have nothing to do with conservation or education. Any foreigner who has the misfortune to visit this zoo on a weekend will surely live to regret it – the stuff of nightmares.

I’ve been visiting Ragunan Zoo for about twenty years and in that time have seen nothing improve. Yes, I have had plenty of sleepless nights after each visit.


OKI (2)

Orangutan at Ragunan Zoo (Photo: Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia)

Elsewhere in Indonesia you can easily see, if so inclined, widespread cruelty in zoos. It’s impossible to avoid. One of the worst is known as the ‘Zoo from Hell’, at Bandung, the capital of West Java province.  This place is an endless pit of animal neglect and depravity. A sickening place to visit with starving animals and filth everywhere.

Now, anyone with a heart, might reasonably ask, ‘why does the government permit this zoo to remain open, especially as the Mayor of Bandung, agrees the zoo is hell on earth for animals and is on record as saying he’s told the ministry of environment and forestry many times to close the zoo, but they won’t?’

When well-meaning NGOs like SCORPION offered their help and free food for the animals at Bandung Zoo, the manager aggressively denied there was anything wrong. Tachrir Fathoni, director general of ecosystem and natural resource conservation, has shown no interest in this, or any other zoo, in dire need either of closing, or new management.

All the evidence suggests neither the minister, or Tachrir Fathoni, care one bit about this zoo or the many others where animal suffering is of a plague-like scale. If you are fortunate not to have visited any of these zoos, imagine a concentration camp for animals and you will get the picture.

What happens next? Probably, nothing. Why? Because no one in the environment and forestry ministry cares. Not a single individual in the ministry has shown the slightest interest, or concern, for the appalling state of Indonesia’s zoos.

What can you do to help? If you want to avoid encouraging animal cruelty and depravity, being reduced to tears by the sight of sick and hungry animals, your children being exposed to dirt and disease, it’s best to stay away from every zoo in Indonesia.

If you doubt what I say, you need only to look on TripAdvisor for comments about any zoo. Just remember these comments are made by visitors – not NGOs or experts in animal welfare – people whose comments would be a lot more detailed and harsh.

Am I biased? Yes. Along with others, I do my best to speak for the animals incarcerated in dreadful zoos, unable to speak for themselves.


Sean Whyte


Nature Alert

Poster campaign for Lasah

posted in: News | 0

Help us #FreeLasah! We have just launched our photo campaign in our continued efforts to free Lasah the elephant from a life of torment on the holiday island of Langkawi to a elephant sanctuary in Cambodia.

This wild born elephant has spent all his life in zoos, a logging camp, used in films and commercials and is now used for tourists to ride on him. Recently investigators found Lasah chained on all four legs when he was not being made to work for tourist money. For more information on Lasah’s plight click here.

Without your support none of our previous campaigns would have been victorious. The very unfortunate Lasah has got only YOU to rely on. Please help us free Lasah today and join our photo campaign.


1. Download and print the poster from this link: http://www.fotomalaysia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/new-01.jpg

  • To save the photo onto your computer: right click anywhere on the poster,  click ‘Save Image As’ and save the poster in the folder of your choice in your computer.

2. Take a photo of yourself with the poster (example: photo of the child above)

3. Send your photos to info@fotomalaysia.org, OR

4. Tweet us your photos at https://twitter.com/fotorangutans


Please let us know if you need help!


Please remember to sign and share the petition for Lasah at this link.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead


P11804844444  P118048666666

PepsiCo exposed again

posted in: News | 0

PepsiCo, one of the biggest food manufacturers in the world, has been exposed again for its use of Conflict Palm Oil.

Manik, who is trafficked into work on a Malaysian palm oil plantation, trapped in debt and without his passport; Sutantri, a young mother who accepts part-time work with toxic chemicals so she can provide for her family; and Adi, a father who must bring his wife and children to work on the plantation so he can make his quota and afford to make ends meet for his family.

These are just some of the victims of Conflict Palm Oil in Malaysia and Indonesia. FOTO joins Rainforest Action Network in exposing PepsiCo‘s use of Conflict Palm Oil. Please watch and share this short video to expose the truth.


Rampant deforestation in Kedah

posted in: News | 0


In May this year The Star exposed deforestation of valuable forests in the state of Kedah. Not long after consultancy group AidEnvironment released a damning report of thrashing of forest in the state. Timber from logging in the state is exported to outside Malaysia and given the ‘sustainable’ MTCC label. You can read AidEnvironment’s full report here.

Friends of the Orangutans revealed the extent of the deforestation currently taking place in Kedah in a publication by Malaysiakini and it can be read in full below. More news about the deforestation will be exposed on our website.


Rampant deforestation in Kedah needs to stop

Despite the Malaysian government’s promises to protect our forests and the environment, deforestation is occurring on a destructive scale. As you read this article, forests in the Kedah state are being devoured on a daily basis, and this needs to be stopped.

Only recently The Star exposed rampant deforestation in the Ulu Muda forest reserve. Ulu Muda is a vital water catchment area as it supplies water to over two million Malaysians. It is also teeming with wildlife. Destroying Ulu Muda will not only severely disrupt supply of water but will lead to increased illegal wildlife trade, which is taking place at a alarming rate, to say the least.

In recent years, the Kedah state government approved logging leases in the virgin forests of the Ulu Muda forest reserve and just over the past four years at least 10,000 hectares of forests have been logged in Ulu Muda. So let’s not blame on forces of nature alone when water supply in Kedah, Perlis and Penang is severely affected.

Aside from Ulu Muda the pristine Gunung Inas forest reserve is also being destroyed, including at very steep slopes. In 2012, Sirim QAS, one of two forest management auditors of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), stated that deforestation in Gunung Inas had stopped after clearing was exposed by The Star. However, earlier this year deforestation simply resumed, including in forests above 1,000m above sea level.

Is it not the case that our government policies prohibit clearance on steep slopes and in forests 1000 metres above sea level?

Clearing has also been spotted in the Chebar Besar forest reserve. Forests cleared here would most likely qualify as High Conservation Value (HCV) forest.

Meanwhile, the primary forests inside Pedu forest reserve have not been spared either. Hundreds of hectares were cleared in 2012 and open burning to clear land continued into 2014. Bukit Perangin forest reserve has also been affected.

Is there no end to this avaricious madness? Much of the forests cleared above are primary or High Conservation Value (HCV) forests. Villagers in the area surrounding the reserves mentioned above are at risk of facing water pollution/shortages, landslides and flooding. The government must take immediate action and stop all deforestation in Kedah.

To make matters worse, the Kedah state exceeded its Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) by 283 percent between year 2009 and 2014.

One might ask, what happens after logs have been cleared from the forest reserves? They will be marketed globally with the MTCS label, claiming the timber originates from sustainably managed forests. Malaysians know that this is a farce but even locally, voices of dissent are ignored by MTCC.


Direct link to publication can be found here.

Katarina’s new lease of life!

posted in: News | 0

Last year you helped us in our campaign for Katarina the orangutan at the horrible Kuala Lipis Zoo in the Peninsular Malaysia. She was the lone orangutan at the zoo and was kept in awful conditions. After several months of campaigning we won and Katarina was moved to Taiping Zoo.

Earlier this month [June] we visited Katarina at her new home [again] and was delighted to see her busy having fun with her new red ape friends, never still, always bugging the other orangutans to play with her!

Video of Katarina in the enclosure at this link: https://youtu.be/2MYcJFI5SBI

Thank you to all of you who participated in our campaign for Katarina. You’ve helped give an orangutan a better life!