News Article | April 17, 2017
CENTURY 21 Affiliated is proud to announce some major improvements in its service to the Western Suburbs. CENTURY 21 Affiliated merges two real estate offices into a bigger and better office to serve their customers with top-notch service. Leading the office is Michael Gobber, Managing Broker of CENTURY 21 Affiliated, Westchester. “Partnering with CENTURY 21 is an affirmation of our commitment to providing our clients with the most superior suite of tools and services. I am so excited to join the Century 21 Affiliated team. The tools, support and training that C21 Affiliated offers will keep us positioned to grow the successful business that we have worked to create over the last 12 years. The merging of the LaGrange Park office and our Westchester office strategically positions us in the western suburbs. As managing broker of the new office, I look forward to merging the cultures of both these successful offices into our new combined office in Westchester. I am excited to have Loretta as part of our team, she is highly respected in our industry and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share." Gobber brings his talent and network to the CENTURY 21 Affiliated family. Having closed more than $100 Million in real estate transactions in his career, Michael brings to CENTURY 21 Affiliated a level of financial and transactional knowledge possessed by few industry peers. Michael holds several designations including the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR), Certified Negotiation Consultant (CNC), and Certified Staging Consultant (CSC). He is a licensed real estate managing broker in Illinois and a member of the National Associations of Realtors (NAR), Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) and Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORE). Currently Michael is the 2017 Treasurer for the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORE) and has served 5 years on their board of directors. He has also served 4 years on the grievance committee at MORE, including one of those years as chairperson of the committee. Michael has a strong belief in community service and loves to volunteer his time to better his community. He has served as a director on the Westchester Chamber of Commerce for the past 15 years, including a one year stint as president. He also has served on the Westchester Fest Committee, Veterans Day Run committee, and served 3 years on the Westchester Economic Development committee. Loretta Alonzo-Deubel, celebrated for her service to the CENTURY 21 family, is ready for Mike to take the reins and continue her great work. She will still be involved and helping to grow this office to new heights. She has been actively involved in real estate since 1976, owned her own company since 1983, and owned CENTURY 21 Alonzo & Associates since 1996 until a recent merger with Century 21 Affiliated. ”I have received the REALTOR of the Year Award an unprecedented six times from my local REALTOR Association. I am excited for this next chapter of my realty journey. After 33 years of ownership and management with CENTURY 21, I'm excited about the merger of two well respected real estate offices in the western suburbs. Michael Gobber is a respected Manage Broker who will continue the excellent integrity and reputation of CENTURY 21 Affiliated in the western suburbs. I look forward to my continued relationship with CENTURY 21 Affiliated and helping in anyway to make this office a success.” Currently the Past President of the Illinois Association of REALTORS and honored with the REALTOR of the Year from the Illinois Association of REALTORS gives this office true star-studded talent. Now located at the Westchester location:1860 South Mannheim Road Westchester, IL. Our job is to bring buyers and sellers together, and we do that by ensuring that your real estate listing in the Westchester, IL area is marketed with new technologies and tools that are used to our client’s advantage. Join us! Our goal is unmatched quality service to our customers and clients. For 39 years, people across the region have turned to us to help buy and sell their homes. Our 2000+ real estate agents currently serve 100+ locations across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota & Florida. Let us help you start your next chapter. Our agents are the new breed of real estate professionals; more educated, better trained, and keenly sensitive to their clients needs. Our clients receive the absolute best service in the market.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Home > Press > Affordable STM32 Cloud-Connectable Kit from STMicroelectronics Puts More Features On-Board for Fast and Flexible IoT-Device Development Abstract: The new high-connectivity STM32L4 IoT Discovery kit (B-L475E-IOT01A) from STMicroelectronics gives unrivalled flexibility for developers building IoT (Internet of Things) nodes by supporting multiple low-power wireless standards and Wi-Fi®, while integrating a complete collection of motion, gesture, and environmental sensors, unavailable on other kits in the market. Designed to help promptly connect IoT devices to Cloud services power-efficiently and cost-effectively, STs new IoT development kit adds modules for Bluetooth® low energy (BLE), sub-GHz RF, and Wi-Fi, with a dynamic NFC-tag IC with printed antenna to a high-performance, ultra-low power STM32L4 microcontroller all on the same board. The comprehensive selection of sensors, leveraging STs large portfolio of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) and laser-ranging devices, support both user interaction and environmental awareness. A MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope IC and MEMS magnetometer for 9-axis motion sensing, a barometric pressure sensor, temperature/humidity sensor, two omnidirectional digital microphones, as well as a FlightSense proximity and gesture sensor, are all ready to use with no extra integration effort needed. The Discovery kit lets users take advantage of STs X-CUBE-AWS expansion software to quickly connect to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT platform, and access tools and services in the Cloud, such as device monitoring and control, data analysis, and machine learning. Support for other Cloud providers will be added in future, as well as software function packs that provide all the components needed to prototype end-to-end IoT solutions, including pre-integrated full application examples. The heart of STs new high-connectivity Discovery kit is an 80MHz STM32L475 32-bit microcontroller that combines the ARM® Cortex®-M4 core featuring DSP extensions, 1MB on-chip Flash, and the Companys ultra-low-power technologies to help build smart IoT devices on a tight power budget. The combination of MCU performance with rich sensor and wireless integration on the board maximizes the Discovery kits utility, while additional custom functionality may be added using the industry-standard Arduino and Pmod expansion connectors. These two established ecosystems give access to a large selection of expansion boards, which can be quickly connected and easily integrated. Equipped with the ST-Link debugger/programmer on-board, the STM32L4 Discovery kit IoT node does not need any external probe, and can be used with ARM® Keil® MDK-ARM, IAR EWARM, or GCC/LLVM-based Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) including free AC6 SW4STM32, or with mbed online tools. The STM32L4 IoT Discovery kit is ready to order now from st.com or distributors, at a recommended price of $53.00 (part number B-L475E-IOT01A1 for 915MHz operating frequency, or B-L475E-IOT01A2 for 868MHz operating frequency). For further information please visit www.st.com/disco-l475e-iot  915MHz or 868MHz available, to suit geographical region: see product code when ordering. For more information, please click Contacts: Carol Brown | Tel: 603 465 9213 Corporate External Communications, Technical Media Relations, US, UK STMicroelectronics, Inc. USA ST online: www.st.com | Follow us on twitter: @st_world If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News Article | October 31, 2016
« JILA team identifies missing piece in how fossil fuel combustion contributes to air pollution | Main | MSU-led regional team awarded $6M NSF grant to research biofuel, carbon capture technologies » Microchip Technology Inc., a provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, has introduced the first automotive-grade Local Interconnect Network (LIN) System-in-Package (SiP) solution including a microcontroller with integrated touch hardware support. LiN systems are used throughout the automobile in comfort, powertrain, sensor, and actuator applications. The SAMHA1GxxA microcontroller family contains capacitive touch hardware support, an event system and complex PWM capability. The series is suited for touch button, touchpad, slider, wheel or proximity sensing applications, including optical and haptic feedback. The SAMHA1GxxA contains an ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller (MCU), a LIN transceiver based on Microchip’s fourth-generation LIN IP and a voltage regulator. The system solution comes in a 7 × 7 mm QFN package, with wettable flanks ready for automatic optical solder inspection and is available with 16k, 32k or 64k Flash memory, up to 8 KB SRAM and 2 KB Read-While-Write Flash. The microcontroller family is automotive-grade and designed to meet the high quality standards of the automotive industry. It features easy-to-create touch buttons with high sensitivity and outstanding noise immunity, supported by the QTouch software function library. The high electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) robustness of the LIN communication fulfills the requirements of OEMs worldwide. To accelerate development for customers, Microchip is providing the SAMHA1G16X-XPRO development kit, which includes support from Atmel Software Framework (ASF). The SAMHA1GxxA device is implemented in the Atmel Studio 7 Integrated Development Environment. Various tools such as GCC and IAR C/C++ compilers, ICE debuggers and a QTouch software function library are also available. The SAMHA1GxxA is available today in volume production with prices starting at $2.88.
News Article | December 30, 2015
A female orangutan and her baby are rescued by animal welfare group, International Animal Rescue (IAR) while trying to escape forest fires and angry villagers in Katapang, West Kalimantan province in this handout photo taken on October 14, 2015 and released to Reuters on... Students stand on the roof of a wooden boat as haze blankets the Musi River while they travel to school in Palembang, on Indonesia's Sumatra island, September 10, 2015. An Mi-17 helicopter carries water to be dumped on a burning forest at Ogan Komering Ulu area in Indonesia's south Sumatra province, September 10, 2015. An Indonesian soldier (L) helps firefighters and rescue teams spray water on a peatland fire in Pulang Pisau regency east of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia October 29, 2015. Students stand on the roof of a wooden boat as haze blankets the Musi River while they travel to school in Palembang, on Indonesia's Sumatra island, September 10, 2015. Indonesian judge Parlas Nababan looks on during a trial against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) at a district court in Palembang, December 30, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Indonesian judge Parlas Nababan (C) reads a sentence during a trial against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) at a district court in Palembang, December 30, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Indonesia brought a civil case in a South Sumatra court against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH), a supplier to Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the world's biggest pulp and paper companies. The $565 million in damages would have been the largest financial award ever levied against a company accused of forest burning activities in Indonesia with the intent of sending a strong message to those responsible for the annual haze. "The lawsuit against PT Bumi Mekar Hijau is rejected because the evidence is not proven," said presiding judge Parlas Nababan. He did not comment any further and then ended the court proceedings. Indonesia and the wider Southeast Asian region suffered for months this year from haze caused by smouldering forest and peatland fires. The fires were largely located on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo and climate officials described them as a crime against humanity as pollution levels soared. The government alleged that BMH failed to prevent the recurrence of fires in 2014 and 2015 on about 20,000 hectares of land in the Ogan Komering Ilir region of Sumatra, Eka Widodo Soegiri, a spokesman at the Environment and Forestry Ministry told Reuters. An appeal to the court's verdict will be made within two weeks, said Rasio Ridho Sani, director general for law enforcement at the Forestry Ministry, after the hearing. "The decision is against the people's will," said Sani. "We had presented the facts from the field that there was indeed forest burning in the mentioned location. The fact on the field also show that the company doesn't have adequate equipment to prevent and control the forest fire in the mentioned location." The government's evidence was far-fetched, BMH's lawyer Maurice, who like many Indonesians uses one name, told reporters after the ruling, citing the extent of the hotspots and the sampling process that the government used. Environmental groups cautioned that Wednesday's ruling will likely frustrate other pending lawsuits. "This will be a bad precedent related to other similar lawsuit against the forest fires perpetrators in the future," said Hadi Jatmiko, director at Friends of the Earth Indonesia, which was involved in monitoring BMH. Indonesia is still pursuing the companies seen as responsible even as the forest fires have eased because of monsoon rains. The government has sanctioned 23 companies because of the fires, with three having land-use or environmental permits revoked, 16 having permits suspended and four issued "government force sanctions." The government says it will also review laws that allow smallholder farmers to burn, ban peatland development and take back all burned land within a company's concession area. Green and palm industry groups have warned that the forest fires, which cost Indonesia about $16 billion in 2015, will flare up next year unless the government issues new regulations on forest clearing.
News Article | September 29, 2016
When International Animal Rescue (IAR) staff found Didik, he was emaciated and near death. The 18-month-old orangutan, who had been dumped at a local store in Ketapang, Indonesia, had a bullet in his shoulder and had very likely seen his mother killed by the same people who put it there. “Our team deals with so many cases like Didik’s in which the baby has ended up as someone’s pet but the true fate of the mother remains unknown,” said Lis Key, communications manager for the IAR, adding that “orangutan mothers are very protective of their babies and wouldn’t let go of them without a fight.” The fact that Didik was found alone almost certainly means his mother is dead, according to the IAR. In the wild, orangutans live with their mother for seven to eight years, longer than any other mammal except humans. Didik was rushed to the orangutan facility where the IAR team spent several weeks focusing on Didik’s recovery from severe malnutrition. Once he was strong enough, the team operated on the young orangutan. “Fortunately the bullet was lodged close to the surface of the skin so it was a straightforward procedure to remove it,” said IAR vet Ayu Budi Handayani. “No one could call Didik lucky after all he’s been through but certainly he was fortunate to suffer only a fairly superficial wound.” Didik is now on the road to recovery and the centre hopes to soon introduce him to other baby orangutans in their care. Located in Ketapang, the IAR facility currently houses 106 orangutans, all victims of deforestation. “With the continuing, relentless destruction of their forest home, orangutans are becoming more and more vulnerable to hunters and increasingly at risk of coming into conflict with humans,” said Key. This summer, the Bornean orangutan was up-listed by the IUCN Red List to critically endangered, the last step before extinction. No one knows for certain how many Bornean orangutans survive today, but experts estimate the population has dropped from around 288,500 individuals in 1973 to just over 100,000. Moreover, experts believe that around 2,000-3,000 orangutans are killed in Indonesian Borneo every year. Unfortunately, the Bornean orangutan’s closest relative, the Sumatran orangutan, is also categorised as critically endangered. The island of Borneo – split between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – has undergone drastic change in the last few decades. Industrialized logging came to the island in the 1970s, decimating ancient rainforests. Then came palm oil: over the last few decades large swathes of the island have been planted with vast oil palm plantations. Since the 1970s, Borneo has lost around 40% of its forests in total. Indonesia deforestation rate is higher than Brazil’s. The destruction of much of Borneo’s forests has pushed orangutan populations into increasing contact with humans, frequently leading to conflict. Orangutans, many of which have lost their food resources, are forced into palm oil plantations where they are viewed as pests and often shot. Orangutans can be destructive to the young palms, but the exotic palm fruit is also not enough to sustain a great ape which in the wild consumes hundreds of different types of fruit. Orangutans are often found stuck in plantations slowly succumbing to starvation and dehydration. Whether or not Didik was a victim of the palm oil industry or simply caught by poachers in a forest remains unknown. But as the orangutan crisis goes on, year-after-year, facilities like IAR’s are filling up with orphans and injured adults. “Sadly there has been no let up in the number of young orangutans coming into our rehabilitation centre and, should there be more fires in Indonesia in the near future, our team could be kept busy once more in the months ahead,” said Key. Last year, large areas of Indonesian Borneo burned. Farmers and plantations often set fire to clear vegetation in Indonesia. But 2015 turned into a conflagration. Experts estimate that the country lost 2.1m hectares, much of it rainforest and peat forest, to the fires. Dry conditions, likely exacerbated by climate change and El Niño, worsened the crisis and covered much of the country in a yellow, toxic pall. Recently scientists estimated that this haze – which spread to Malaysia and Singapore as well – may have led to 100,000 early deaths in the region. No one has tried to estimate how many orangutans – or other animals – may have perished. The island, more than twice as large as Britain – is home to thousands of other species found no-where else including pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, the Bornean bristlehead and a nearly extinct subspecies of the Sumatran rhino. Indonesia is working hard this year to crackdown on any burning and not allow a repeat of last year. As for Didik, he’s been lucky – at least considering what has happened to thousands of orangutans on Borneo. Still, Karmele Llano Sanchez, programme director of IAR Indonesia, said Didik continues to suffer from psychological impacts. “For an animal like an orangutan, witnessing the death of its mother is a profoundly shocking experience. That is undoubtedly why Didik looks so sad and depressed. It will take a long time for him to recover from the terrible trauma he has been through and start to take an interest in his surroundings.” Key said there is still hope that one day Didik will leave the centre and return to his forest home. “We are very optimistic that he, like the many babies in our care, will have the chance to live back in the wild as nature intended,” she said. “They just need time and patience to help them develop all the behaviours and skills of wild orangutans.” The main difficulty in freeing captive orangutans back into the wild, however, is finding enough suitable forest to re-release hundreds of orphans.
News Article | February 3, 2016
Paradoxically, the most luminous things in the cosmos are actually invisible to the naked eye. They are "blazars," mysterious objects that glow not just with visible light—the kind our eyes can see—but with every kind of radiation, from radio waves to gamma rays. At the Boston University Blazar Lab, astronomers Alan Marscher and Svetlana Jorstad and their students are trying to understand how blazars work and where they get their tremendous energy. They think that blazars are powered by supermassive black holes containing the mass of hundreds of millions of suns. But how do black holes—where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape—power the brightest objects in the cosmos? That is the puzzle that Marscher, a professor of astronomy in BU's Institute for Astrophysical Research (IAR), and Jorstad, an IAR senior research scientist, are trying to resolve. Add up all the light that comes from blazars and they are the most luminous objects in the universe. But most of this light isn't in a form that we can see. It is spread out through the entire electromagnetic spectrum—the true rainbow that extends far beyond the colors that our eyes can detect and includes radio waves, X-rays, gamma rays, and more. Though some fluke astrophysical phenomena may shine brighter than a blazar for a few minutes or less, blazars keep up the light show for the long haul. Today, astrophysicists have catalogued thousands of blazars. In fact, say Jorstad and Marscher, if we could see the cosmos with gamma-ray eyes, blazars would dominate the night sky. But what are they, and how do they sustain such powerful cosmic fireworks? When the first blazar was discovered in 1962, astronomers were stumped: they did not know what it was and had never seen anything like it. But time and technology, like NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, have yielded some clues. First, astronomers tracked blazars to ancient galaxies located hundreds of millions, or even billions, of light years from Earth. Each of these galaxies, like our own Milky Way, is centered on a supermassive black hole that's engulfed millions of suns' worth of matter. Somehow, researchers think, those behemoth black holes must be firing up the blazars. But even though nearly every galaxy has a supermassive black hole, only a small fraction of galaxies—about one in ten—is an "active" galaxy, radiating a huge amount of energy. And fewer than one in a thousand active galaxies is a blazar. What makes them different? It all starts with the black hole's diet. Black holes gobble up anything that gets too close. When a black hole is "well fed," says Marscher, matter on its way down the gullet will congeal in a pancake-shaped disk centered on the black hole. Friction in the disk heats it up and makes it glow and flicker with ultraviolet and visible light. That explains one part of the mystery—why some galaxies are "active" when others aren't—but something more seems to happen to transform an ordinary active galaxy into a blazar capable of firing off high-energy gamma rays and X-rays. Astronomers think that "something" is a jet: a fire hose of charged particles, magnetic fields, and radiation that shoots out from the top and bottom of the rotating disk. When one of these jets is pointed directly at Earth, our telescopes pick it up as a blazar. "The black hole sucks nearly everything in from its surroundings," says Marscher, "but it creates so much havoc as everything falls in that somehow jets get shot out." When fast-moving electrons near the black hole meet the strong magnetic field inside the jet, they give off a broad spectrum of radiation, from low-frequency radio waves all the way up to high-energy X-rays. Meanwhile, those electrons can also ram into particles of light, called photons, and give them the extra boost of energy to make gamma rays. Which might leave you asking: What, exactly, kicks the electrons up to such high speeds? Astrophysicists are still debating, but many think that the electrons are whorled through a corkscrew-shaped magnetic field that shoots them out at blinding velocity. Marscher compares the effect to cleaning a pipe out with a snake. "If you keep twisting it around, then it will propel in the forward direction," says Marscher. "If the black hole's rotation can wind up the magnetic field enough, that's what propels the jets out at nearly the speed of light." If that hypothesis is right, the twisty magnetic field should leave a characteristic imprint, called polarization, on light coming out of the jet. But isolating that signature is not easy. To do it, Marscher, Jorstad, and a team of international collaborators had to wait for a blazar to discharge a flare—temporary, concentrated emission—that would give them a chance to trace out the shape of the magnetic field. The team started searching for the polarization signal in 2004, and in 2005, they found just what they were seeking: while peering nearly straight down the barrel of the jet of a powerful, flaring blazar called BL Lacertae, they caught the polarization within the flare rotating by one-and-a-half turns, mapping out exactly the spiral shape astronomers had predicted. They presented their results in Nature in 2008. Flares like this one represent "nature doing its most extreme thing," says Marscher, but flares are rare, and catching them in the act requires long-term, dedicated telescope time. Thanks to a partnership between BU and the Lowell Observatory, Marscher and Jorstad have near-continuous coverage of more than three dozen blazars on the Perkins telescope, a 1.8-meter optical telescope near Flagstaff, Arizona, where Jorstad spends about one week each month. When a flare erupts, she quickly notifies the managers of NASA's Swift satellite, which can be rapidly pointed toward the flare source to capture ultraviolet and X-ray readings, and taps into publicly available data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. By scrutinizing differences in the shape and timing of the flare at different wavelengths, she, Marscher, and their colleagues can deduce the physics behind the flare. Marscher and Jorstad also enlist a network of radio telescopes, called the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), to zoom in on the flare and take pictures of it as it moves and changes. Because the telescopes that make up the VLBA are located on opposite sides of the Earth, the VLBA can pick out, or "resolve," fine details about 1,000 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope. In fact, even though the jets are enormous—many light years long, in some cases—they are so far from Earth that the VLBA is the only instrument in the world that can actually see bright spots (technical term: "blobs") moving through the jets. Now, the researchers in BU's Blazar Lab are trying to understand the source of blazars' most energetic gamma ray flares, the blazar equivalent of a baseball pitcher's 100-mile-an-hour fastball. Astrophysicists expected that the gamma rays should all be coming from very close to the black hole at the center of the blazar. But, to everyone's surprise, the BU team found that a major fraction of the gamma rays is coming from a point, light years away. How does such an extreme burst of energy happen so far from the blazar's central engine? The BU blazar team is testing out a variety of ideas using computer models, and they hope to put them to a real-world test soon with the Discovery Channel Telescope, a 4.3-meter optical telescope at Lowell Observatory. Yet the "eureka" moments often belong to the undergraduate and graduate students in blazar lab, who are the first link in the lab's data analysis chain. "They are often the first to tell us when an event—a flare in brightness, change in polarization, or a new 'blob'—appears in the data," says Marscher. "They are in fact directly participating in the exploration of cosmic phenomena." More information: Alan P. Marscher et al. The inner jet of an active galactic nucleus as revealed by a radio-to-γ-ray outburst, Nature (2008). DOI: 10.1038/nature06895
News Article | November 14, 2016
UPPSALA, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IAR Systems® (STO:IARB) announces support for Microchip’s new generation of the 8-bit tinyAVR® microcontrollers (MCUs) in the highly optimizing development toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench®. This empowers developers to create AVR-based applications with low power consumption and high quality guaranteed. The new 8-bit tinyAVR MCUs are targeted for applications that require performance, power efficiency and ease of use in a small package. The compiler and debugge
News Article | August 31, 2016
The three-year-old is learning to fend for himself since being found wandering a palm oil plantation, alone and suffering smoke inhalation, at the height of fires last year that razed huge swathes of rainforest in Indonesia's part of Borneo. Otan and the other orphans must build nests, find food and avoid predators—especially man—to prove they're ready to "graduate" and return to the wild, but life in the real world has never been more perilous for these primates. Last month, for the first time in history, Bornean orangutans were declared critically endangered –- one step away from total extinction. Experts warn these majestic tree dwellers—who could once cross Borneo without ever touching the ground—could vanish entirely from the island within 50 years as the ancient rainforest they've inhabited for centuries is felled and burned at alarming speed. "It's heartbreaking," said Ayu Budi, a veterinarian who heads the orangutan health clinic at the International Animal Rescue centre in West Kalimantan province. "When you see them, it's really sad. They're supposed to be with their mothers in the wild, living happily, but they're here." The 101 orangutans under Budi's care –- including the 16 playful infants –- are the lucky ones, rescued near death and nurtured back to health with baby bottles in a tranche of protected forest outside the city of Ketapang. But hundreds of thousands of their kin have died in the past four decades across Borneo, slaughtered by hunters, burned in land-clearing fires or starved to death by habitat loss. Rampant logging and the rapid expansion of commercial-scale paper and palm oil operations across the island has reduced the species's habitat by at least 55 percent in two decades, says environmental group WWF, driving them into ever-closer contact with humans. The result has been wild orangutan populations in freefall. In the mid 1970s, nearly 300,000 of these great apes roamed Borneo. Today, just a third of that number remain. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature—which changed the species's threat level to critical—estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025. Those working at the coalface are under no illusions that efforts to arrest this decline have not succeeded, said Chris Wiggs, a conservation adviser at IAR's forest outpost in Ketapang. "I think people on the ground working in Borneo have known for a long time that the orangutan situation was pretty desperate," he told AFP, as a wheelbarrow of baby orangutans passed on its way to the nursery. The number of great apes at the centre has grown nearly tenfold since 2009 as ever-increasing amounts of forest is cleared by industry. Two of the school's newest pupils are Vijay and Moli who were found without their mothers near burned land. They are the victims of fire, an annual scourge that's evolved into a major threat to the future of the species. Every dry season across Indonesian Borneo—an island shared with Malaysia and Brunei—fires are illegally lit by land owners to quickly and cheaply clear forest for new plantations. The fires often get out of hand, tearing through forest and smouldering relentlessly on Borneo's compact, carbon-rich peatlands. Last year's blazes were among the worst on record. Fanned by a prolonged dry season, fires tore through 2.6 million hectares (10,000 square miles) of Indonesian forest, laying waste to prime orangutan habitat. The smoke turned skies yellow in Indonesian Borneo and blanketed neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, forcing schools to shut and causing thousands to fall ill. Conservationists fear a repeat disaster of that scale would ring the death knell for the Bornean orangutan. "I think we're all pretty scared... whether the species can take another hit like that," Wiggs said. This month an Indonesian company linked to the 2015 fires was slapped with a $80 million fine –- a record for slash and burn activities, a spokesman for the environment minister said. Indonesian President Joko Widodo in April proposed a halt on granting new land for palm oil plantations, urging producers of the edible oil to use better seeds to increase their yields. "We need to restore and rehabilitate our peatlands, and fix past mistakes," Sustyo Iriono, the head of the government's conservation agency in West Kalimantan, told AFP. Budi and her colleagues remain optimistic, teaching orangutans like Jack –- a mischievous, attention-seeking seven-year-old—to forage by hiding peanuts and honey inside plastic balls high in the treetops. But she frets her young charge will never get the chance to prove his independence in the wild, as Borneo's lowland forests shrink ever smaller. "I think they still have a chance, but if the forest is gone, it will be difficult," she said. Explore further: Borneo orangutan was shot over 100 times with airgun
News Article | February 23, 2017
Villagers on the Indonesian part of jungle-clad Borneo island often keep the critically endangered apes as pets even though the practice is illegal. Wildlife officials and environmentalists rescued seven-month-old Vena earlier in February from someone in Kendawangan district who had been looking after her. Vena is now being cared for at a centre run by NGO International Animal Rescue (IAR), whose staff ensure she stays clean by regularly changing her diapers and feed her bottles of milk mixed with vitamin supplements. Last year IAR saved 22 orangutans that were either kept as pets or whose natural jungle habitat had been destroyed by huge forest fires started to clear land for plantations. Even when they are well looked after, such as in Vena's case, environmentalists stress keeping orangutans as pets is bad because it means they will later struggle to survive in the wild. "Many people don't realise that keeping orangutans as pets is illegal and could make them lose their instincts for living in the wild," said Ruswanto, an official from the wildlife protection agency who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Vena was being kept as a pet by a lady called Bariah, who found the ape in a neighbouring village. She was rescued after villagers reported the case to authorities. It was the second time Bariah, a mother of seven, was caught illegally caring for a baby ape—she already had to give one up to IAR in 2016. "I know orangutans are protected, I was not killing or harming them, I was only taking care of them," the 50-year-old told AFP. After being rescued, young apes are sent to a "jungle school", where they spend years learning to fend for themselves before being released into the wild. Rampant logging and the rapid expansion of paper and palm oil operations have reduced their habitat, with about 100,000 estimated to remain in the wild on Borneo, which is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature last year changed its classification of the Bornean orangutan from "endangered" to "critically endangered". Explore further: Baby ape recovers after ordeal in Indonesia, finds new playmate
News Article | January 18, 2016
Gito was discovered dumped in a cardboard box in August under the baking sun on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, with rescuers initially believing the primate was dead due to his "mummified" appearance. A team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) picked up the endangered Bornean orangutan, who had been kept as a pet by a local village head, and rushed him to their centre. Gito—who is less than a year old—was suffering from multiple ailments but has recovered strongly, and was recently released from quarantine and introduced to another male baby orangutan, Asoka. New footage released by IAR showed their first encounter, with the apes appearing wary when initially introduced at the orangutan rehabilitation centre on Borneo. However, it was not long before the pair were playing happily together on a wooden climbing frame. Asoka was also rescued on Borneo several months ago after a villager found him abandoned in the jungle and handed the ape over to IAR, although he was in a far better condition than Gito. Gito is doing much better than when he was found suffering from dehydration, malnutrition and a skin infection, but his caregivers warn there is a long road ahead. IAR programme director for Indonesia, Karmele Llano Sanchez, said Gito would still need to take part in "jungle school"—a scheme designed to prepare orangutans for life in the wild—before he could be released. "It's going to take five to seven years before he is ready to be released into the wild," she told AFP. Bornean orangutans are classified as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are protected under Indonesian law. But their jungle habitats are being destroyed by the rapid expansion of palm oil and pulp and paper plantations, while locals view the apes as pests and sometimes target them. Hundreds of Bornean primates were also rescued last year as massive, smog-belching forest fires ravaged the island. The fires, started to clear land for plantations, are an annual occurrence, but in 2015 were the worst for some years. Explore further: Borneo orangutan was shot over 100 times with airgun