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Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia

by Sumatran Orangutan Society
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Replanting Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia
Wild orangutan spotted in the restoration site!
Wild orangutan spotted in the restoration site!

As we sit in our office in the UK, we often long to be in the heart of the rainforests of Indonesia. When we receive messages and photos from our colleagues on the ground in Sumatra it is always the highlight of our day, and sharing these with our supporters means that we can instantly brighten your day, too!

The latest photos from the forest restoration site certainly brought a smile to our faces, as the team spotted a wild orangutan, and the camera traps snapped Sumatran elephants too! Both are critically endangered species. The ever-more-frequent sightings of both orangutans and elephants at the site is a great sign that the young forest is already becoming valuable habitat for these and countless other species.

If you have ever daydreamed about exploring the rainforest, consider joining a very special expedition to the Leuser Ecosystem with us - the very forests that your donations are helping to protect and restore.  

Thank you for helping us bring back precious orangutan habitat - this project embodies the phrase 'conservation in action' and it is so wonderful to see the real results that your donations are enabling on the ground.

An elephant passes through the site at night
An elephant passes through the site at night

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An orangutan feeding in the canopy
An orangutan feeding in the canopy

It has been a great month for the new orangutan research team in Sumatra. 

Based at our flagship forest restoration site in the Gunung Leuser National Park, the team have been tasked with following orangutans in the new and secondary forest, and collecting data on their behaviour and feeding habits, to compare with orangutans living in primary forest areas.

After following a mother orangutan with her infant for two days, the team met three more orangutans, just 1km from the restoration cabin. These orangutans were found to be having what the researchers referred to as 'a food party' in a particular fruiting tree, a Marak Bangkong tree (Endospermum diadenum). 

Orangutans are usually solitary animals, not living or travelling in groups like the African great apes, but when a particularly favoured tree is fruiting, it is possible to see several orangutans, and other animals too, all eating together.

The team followed the mother (named Pebi) and her 7 month old baby (named Panizo) for ten days in total, before then starting to following and observe a young male orangutan, named Baneng and thoughts to be 3 years old.

The research team has taken some great photos of the orangutans in the restored forest - this is the best evidence possible that forest restoration really does provide viable habitat for orangutans, and we're delighted to be able to share these images of wild orangutans feeding in the trees that you helped us to plant - thank you so much for all your support, and please help us plant even more trees!

A mother orangutan & her infant
A mother orangutan & her infant
Three orangutans feeding from the same tree
Three orangutans feeding from the same tree
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Seedlings in the nursery
Seedlings in the nursery

There's a lot of work involved in planting a rainforest. Once the tree seedlings are planted, the team in Sumatra then set to work making sure they have the best possible chance of survival. This isn't always easy in harsh tropical conditions - when land has been deforested, the soil may be dry and cracked, and flood quickly when it rains.

One of the ways they help the new seedlings to thrive is through a process of 'maintenance'. This involves weeding, cutting back any foliage that may be overshadowing the newly planted trees which need lots of sunlight, and adding compost and mulch.

The restoration crew have also been busy with enrichment planting. This involves planting indigenous rainforest tree seedlings on tracts of land that are naturally regenerating, and increasing the species diversity on areas of replanted land, for example by adding in slow-growing 'climax' tree species. They have conducted enrichment on more than 60 hectares in the last couple of months.

The team also conducts research and collects data to support the restoration process. They record the presence of young leaves, flowers and fruit on the trees throughout the year, and compare the primary forest with the trees in the restoration site, so that they can predict fruiting seasons and the best time of year to plant certain species. 

As you can see, planting a tree is just the start, and we are rather fond of the saying "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

With your support, we are bringing life back to devastated landscapes. Would you like to join us on an expedition to Sumatra to see the forests that your donations are helping to restore? See below for more information.

Growing a forest
Growing a forest
Orangutans need trees!
Orangutans need trees!

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Al Jazeera's Earthrise series has been to Sumatra to explore the threats to orangutans and their forests, and the frontline projects that offer hope for the survival of the species - including our forest restoration work with our partner organisation, the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC). You can also see conservation technology in action as our conservation drones take to the skies to monitor deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem. This short film really brings the project to life - please have a watch and share it far and wide - we need more awareness of the power of positive conservation action!

The film features Panut Hadisiswoyo, the head of the OIC, and David Dellatore, SOS Programme Manager.

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Bagong poses for the camera!
Bagong poses for the camera!

One of the best ways to see the real impact of our project to plant trees for orangutans and other wildlife is to use camera traps to see animals returning to the restoration site. These nifty bits of kit are set up in the new forest and in the nearby primary forest, and take a snap every time an animal walks in front of them. 

We always love checking the cameras to see who's been roaming past, and we got a treat recently when one camera captured a photo of a very special orangutan.

Bagong - a 30 year old flanged male orangutan - looks like he's posing for our camera trap. Two years ago our rescue team relocated him from farmland, where he was threatened with being shot for crop raiding, He now looks to be enjoying life in the Gunung Leuser National Park! Bagong is a bit of a local celebrity, as his longcall can be heard booming through the forest for miles around!

Bagong, and all orangutans, need trees! Please consider setting up a regular monthly gift to support this project, and help us restore more critical forest for orangutans and the many other species they share their habitat with.

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Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
Project Leader:

UK Director
Abingdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom
$128,260 raised of $150,000 goal
 
2,104 donations
$21,740 to go
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