Help save Lasah the elephant

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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.





Victory for the orangutans in Sabah’s Shangri-La Hotel!

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Game Over! FOTO Malaysia received confirmation both remaining orangutans at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort in Sabah have been sent back to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, thus ending the 20 year exploitation of Sabah’s orphan orangutans at the luxury hotel. We were also informed “we [the resort] will never have anymore orangutans here“. But our group will keep a close eye on the resort always.

Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia would like to convey our huge thanks to all supporters who have made this victory possible. Without your concern and support the exploitation would still be happening.

This victory for Malaysian orangutans over a huge corporate entity proves people power can prevail.


Our Shangri-La campaign officials ends today. THANK YOU, and remember:

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

Orangutan Caring Week with FOTO

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Friends of the Orangutans (Malaysia) is excited to announce our next event on November 14th and 15th 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.

After the success encountered during the Orangutan International Day on last August 19th, we will renew the experience on the occasion of the “Orangutan Caring Week”. This event is celebrated by all the orangutan’s groups all around the world.

If you don’t have your FOTO t-shirt yet, it’s time to go get one! They will be available to purchase at our booth with other items to give away.


Location: 1 Utama Shopping centre Bandar Utama city centre, First floor oval (between Juice Works & Aveda)

Time: 10.00am – 10.00pm


Come to join us and show your support on November 14th and 15th, or just to learn more about our beloved friends on this special event.

If you wish to help out on the booth please send us an email at

See you there!

Shangri-La’s exploitation of orangutans exposed

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Please sign the petition to help orphan orangutans exploited at a luxury, 5-star resort.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is a 5-star holiday resort an hour from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Sabah state in Malaysian Borneo.

For over 10 years the Rasa Ria Resort (RR) have been continuously supplied with orphan orangutans from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) in Sandakan.

According to the Shangri-La website, the purpose of RR’s ‘Orangutan Care’ project is to rehabilitate orangutans (for wild release). The orangutans are later returned to the SORC to continue the rehabilitation process.

However, the Shangri-La Group uses the facade of rehabilitation to exploit the orangutans at the resort through tourism for profit and it’s time this is put to a stop.



Tourists photograph orangutans at RR


Many individuals have expressed concern regarding the treatment and care orangutans at the resort receive. Late last year an orangutan called ‘Tenten’ died at RR. We have asked the Shangri-La Group to publicly announce the number of orangutans who have died at the resort but they have refused to do so while ignoring our request to voluntarily stop the exploitation at RR.

Earlier this year the General Manager of RR claimed “this (the orangutans at RR) is one of the assets that we have here”.

Orangutans at RR are ‘assets’ to make the Shangri-La Group profits and nothing else. Moreover, rehabilitant orangutans don’t belong in a luxury resort. FOTO demands the Shangri-la Group to stop the exploitation of Sabah’s orangutans and return all existing orangutans at RR back to the SORC. No orangutan should be sent to the resort again.

Please take action today by signing the petition and tweeting. The orangutans at RR are counting on us all to help them.

Remember to also join our poster campaign. How it works:

1. Download and print the poster

2. Take a photo of yourself posing with the poster

3. Tweet it! Sample text for photo tweet: Stop exploiting #orangutans @ShangriLaHotels.They aren’t yours to use and abuse.Return them to Sepilok @rrrshangrila

3. Send it to us at

Help Save Mowgli From Exploitation

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Sign the petition to help Mowgli the orangutan in the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah.

Mowgli, who will turn 13 this year, arrived at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in 2002, at only a month old, after his mother was most likely killed by oil palm plantation workers.

At the tender age of two, the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) sent him to the 6-star Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort hotel, a few hours away from Sepilok, for commercial purposes under the pretense of rehabilitation.

At age five, he was sent to a local zoo in Sabah and was used in animal shows. Mowgli was made to paint, among other tricks he was forced to perform.

Now that Mowgli is too big to be used in the local zoo’s animal shows, the SWD wants to release Mowgli into the Sepilok-Kabili forest to draw more tourists into Sepilok. This may happen soon unless you take action today.

Mowgli is too habituated to humans to be released into the Sepilok-Kabili forest. He may contract diseases from tourists via direct contact or from getting too close. He is growing bigger and stronger, and at this age he can seriously injure tourists. When this happens, it’s him who will pay the price like what may have happened to other orangutans at Sepilok.

Humans must not be exposed to habituated orangutans. The irresponsible parties who have made financial profits from exploiting Mowgli, including the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, should pay for Mowgli’s lifetime care in captivity, with excellent support including daily enrichment.

Please sign our petition to ask the SWD not to release Mowgli into the Sepilok forest.

Read our Press Release.

Katarina Saved!

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Friends of the Orangutan wishes to thank all supporters who played a part in getting Katarina transferred from the horrific Kuala Lipis Zoo in the Malaysian Peninsular to Taiping Zoo, 3 hours north of Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. This campaign started in November, after private negotiations with the Malaysian Wildlife Department failed to get Katarina moved out of the Lipis Zoo.

After a long, hard campaign, she was finally transferred on 12th February 2015.

We have received tremendous amount of support from supporters within Malaysia and around the world, and the petition for Katarina, which will be closed today 16th of February, has gathered over 14,500 signatures! On the 6th of February, we delivered this petition to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office. We have also received a lot of support through social media platforms including Twitter, asking the authorities here to take Katarina out of the Lipis Zoo. Every single action by supporters has played a part.

Our campaign actually called for Katarina to be transferred to the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary, a sanctuary where orangutans and other animals live. It is managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC). Matang is actually the best place in Malaysia for captive orangutans. We have campaigned hard and done the best we could to get Katarina transferred there. However, the final decision on where Katarina should go rests on the Malaysian Wildlife Department, as they are the authority.

Taiping Zoo is head by the president of the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (MAZPA). It is one of the better zoos in Malaysia. Katarina will be a much happier orangutan at this zoo.

We will also be visiting Katarina and will bring updates and photos to post here.

We wish to thank you again for all the kind and relentless support from you, friends of Katarina, to help get her out of the Lipis Zoo. We could not have done this without you!

Media release regarding Katarina’s transfer:

Friends of the Orangutans have more campaigns and projects coming up this year, stay tuned!

Note: Photo of Katarina in the banner above was taken at her previous home, the Kuala Lipis Zoo

Help us get Katarina the orangutan sent to a sanctuary

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While imported pandas from China are given VIP treatment daily at Malaysia’s Zoo Negara, Katarina, an orangutan who spends her days alone in squalid and deplorable conditions, is given quite the opposite treatment at the Kuala Lipis Zoo in the state of Pahang.

Katarina is a victim of the illegal wildlife trade. She was kept as a pet and after she became too big to handle was given up to the Lipis zoo, three years ago. She is estimated to be between 10 and 12 years old.

Visitors can freely feed Katarina junk food or even try to get her smoke cigarettes. There is no supervision of visitors and the zoo is not in a state to meet the needs of Katarina, as it is also severely underfunded. She is the only orangutan there and needs to be moved so that she can start to exhibit natural behaviours in an environment more suited to a sub-adult orangutan.

Katarina receives no enrichment. Her night cage is completely void of any bedding nor enrichment tool and she is forced to sit on cold concrete everyday for at least 12 hours after the zoo is closed.

After suffering for many years, it is time she is relocated to the Matang Wildlife Centre in Sarawak, where the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) provides captive care for orangutans at its sanctuary.

At least RM 60 million ($18 million) has been spent on two pandas from China. The least that can be done for poor Katarina is for the Environment Ministry Malaysia to take her out of her misery and send her to the Matang sanctuary.

Please help Katarina by taking action as per below to get Katarina relocated to the Matang Wildlife Centre sanctuary urgently.


Action One

Sign and share the petition below.

Action Two

Tweet the Malaysian Environment Minister at the link below. Only two clicks needed to post your tweet.


Thank you for caring about Katarina.



FOTO & SAM protest Kuala Lumpur Kepong in Malaysia

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Despite relentless calls by the local communities urging Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) to leave the shores of Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea, the Malaysian palm oil giant remains defiant. In the month of May this year, Friends of the Orangutans earlier reported that in the month of May this year the National Court of Papua New Guinea cancelled two land leases owned by KLK totaling 38,350 in total. The company still claims to own almost 6,000 hectares of forest which is extremely important to thousands of Collingwood Bay local communities.

On 30th October 2014, Friends of the Orangutans and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia) organized a public protest outside the head office of Kuala Lumpur Kepong in Ipoh, Perak, to further urge the Malaysian company to leave Collingwood Bay.

Before the protest, both Friends of the Orangutans and Sahabat Alam Malaysia spoke to attending members of the media, who were present to report on the protest.

After the protest, officials from both groups met representatives from KLK to hand over our petition together with that of Rainforest Action Network, totaling over 10,000 signatures from around the world.

Both Friends of the Orangutans continue our call in demanding KLK to withdraw from Collingwood Bay. We have previously stated why KLK cannot clear forests in this province of Papua New Guinea and must quit altogether.

More photos from the protest can be found on our Flickr page.

Please sign and share the petition to ask KLK to leave Collingwood Bay.

Report to FOTO

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Do you work in a zoo, orangutan rehabilitation centre or in/near orangutan habitat in the wild? Do you have concerns about practices, standards or care at your workplace? Or if you know orangutans are harmed/killed in the wild?

Across Malaysia we work with individuals to identify (and sometimes, expose) poor standards and practices in zoos to help improve the quality of life of orangutans in captivity. We also look to expose any company/individual who harms orangutans in their forest home. You can report to Friends of the Orangutans if you experience or have information on these issues:

Our assurance:

– We will protect the identity of any individual that contacts us with information and will guarantee complete confidentiality if required

– We will not publicize any information or photos without your express consent


Example of information you can provide us:

– Unsupervised feeding of food (with photos) of any kind to orangutans at a zoo

– Use of orangutans for public entertainment. An example would be orangutans used in public photography sessions, animal shows

– Poor captive care of orangutans

– Abuse and murder of orangutans in captivity or the wild (e.g. a palm oil plantation)

Furthermore if you have visited an orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sabah or Sarawak and have come across visitors being in too close proximity to orangutans, for example, holding them for the purpose of taking photographs, please let us know. Orangutans can catch human diseases from contact with humans which could be deadly to them. Plus such practice can result in injury to both apes and humans.

Click here to report to contact us.

KL Kepong refuses to quit Collingwood Bay despite court loss

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On 20th May, the National Court of Papua New Guinea ordered the State to cancel two massive land leases claimed by Malaysian palm oil giant Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK). A total of 38,350 hectares in size, the two large pieces of land provide the indigenous communities in Collingwood Bay with what they need for survival and they are the basis for the locals’ economy.

It is confirmed the Malaysian company has conceded in this legal case and the 38,350ha of forest is safe! It is extremely rare that landowners (‘local communities’) succeed to stop an oil palm project of this size. This victory for the people Collingwood Bay is not only extremely important but also a huge one. Most of the 38,350 ha of land consist of pristine tropical forest containing extremely high levels of biological diversity.

However, KLK claim to have rights over another 5,992 hectares of forest also within Collingwood Bay, of which most is primary forest. The indigenous locals also depend on the forest within the 5,992 ha of Portion 5 State Land as a source of their livelihoods & survival.

KLK is a member of the RSPO and recently a signatory of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto (SPOM), which declared several commitments including no deforestation in High Carbon Stock (HCS) areas. RSPO Principles & Criteria also prohibits deforestation of primary forests.

Over 80% of forest in Portion 5 State Land is primary forest and High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest.

Please sign and share the petition to tell KLK to pull out from Collingwood Bay.