May 7, 2020

Before lockdown.

With all of Indonesia's schools closed until at least the end of May due to Covid-19, we want to bring you some happy stories and photos from the months prior to the lockdown.

In March, students from a junior high school based in another part of Sumatra visited Sekolah Alam Leuser for the second time. To entertain their guests, the students presented traditional dance performances. They also led them on tours of the school and adjacent permaculture and restoration projects and invited them to learn more about plant nurseries and maintenance, including growing rosella seedlings.

Though the school has limited sports facilities, the students enjoy being creative in practising sports skills. They use the office wall to practise table tennis, and make table tennis bats by recycling offcuts of wood.

Another creative activity the students enjoyed before the lockdown was cooking Javanese traditional food - Cenil and Lupis. The objective of this was to introduce students to various Indonesian traditional foods, so they will understand the richness of Indonesian culture through foods and carry on to preserve and share them in the future.

Thank you for continuing to support this project. The funds we're raising at the moment will help the school get back up and running, and keep providing high quality education for free, as soon as the lockdown ends.

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Apr 17, 2020

"Conservation can't stop for a pandemic."

Baby Sisca. Photo courtesy of OIC.
Baby Sisca. Photo courtesy of OIC.

In the last week, while most people are working from home, the orangutan rescue team has been on the road attending to orangutans in desperate need of help. As one of the team pointed out, "Human-wildlife conflict hasn't stopped for the pandemic, so conservation can't stop for a pandemic either".

The first, Maria, was found inside a mixed oil palm and rubber plantation around 7km away from the forest. Estimated to be around 18 years old, and thankfully in good health, Maria was released back into the wild later that same day.

Two days later, the team received reports of a female baby orangutan being kept in a village in Aceh province after someone found her in their plantation, reportedly with no sign of her mother anywhere nearby. The baby, named Sisca, is thought to be around 10 months old. She was weak and malnourished when the team picked her up, so she is now in the care of vets at the rehabilitation centre.

Finally, the team rescued a 25 year old male orangutan, later named Bangun, from a rubber plantation in Aceh province. Sadly, Bangun was found with a bullet in his foot and in a poor, malnourished condition, so he is also undergoing treatment at the rehabilitation centre.

The team are doing everything they can to stay safe and healthy while they undertake their rescue missions, but of course the fear of contracting Covid-19 is making an already tough job even more difficult. Please, if you can, continue to support them by donating to this project.

 

 

Maria undergoing a health check. Photo by OIC.
Maria undergoing a health check. Photo by OIC.
Bangun receiving treatment. Photo by OIC.
Bangun receiving treatment. Photo by OIC.

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Mar 28, 2020

The rainforests still need us.

Photo credit: Andrew Walmsley.
Photo credit: Andrew Walmsley.

Dear supporter,

I hope you're well and coping okay with the 'new normal' we find ourselves in during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Though social distancing means that the teams on the ground in Sumatra are having to find new ways of working, they are very much still there, still committed, and still doing everything they can to keep rainforests standing.

Our satellite deforestation monitoring runs continuously, providing essential data that will help the teams protecting the forests pinpoint where their help is most needed once they can start regular patrols again. Meanwhile, they are refreshing their training and getting a head start on reports and evaluations. 

The legal experts we work with are carrying on as usual, but working from their homes, so efforts to support the communities protecting precious areas of forest like Batang Toru are still going ahead. 

Finally, the Sumatran Orangutan Society team in the UK is still working too. We are all working from home, but keeping in regular contact with each other and with our colleagues across the globe to ensure we keep raising the funds and awareness needed to protect Sumatra's irreplaceable rainforests.

Thank you for continuing to support us and have faith in our work at this difficult time. 

P.S. In case you haven't seen this on our social media pages - did you know that orangutans are semi-solitary? Apart from the time that mothers and babies spend together, they largely live alone. With this in mind, we've started thinking of social distancing as 'being more orangutan', which makes it a bit easier to deal with.

Photo credit: Andrew Walmsley.
Photo credit: Andrew Walmsley.

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