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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
The orangutan was being kept in a tiny cage
The orangutan was being kept in a tiny cage

An orangutan, being illegally held in a palm oil plantation in the East Aceh district, has been rescued thanks to a tip-off by the local community. The situation was reported to the Orangutan Information Centre - our partners in Sumatra - last week.

The orangutan was discovered by a member of the local community who contacted Kriezna, a member of the OIC's Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) team. Kriezna then notified the appropriate government authorities, who have the power to confiscate protected species, and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), who manage an orangutan rescue, rehabilitation and release programme. 

The orangutan was being held in a cage normally used for chickens. The ‘owners' of the orangutan worked for the oil palm plantation company, and were originally intending to sell him. However, after hearing that orangutans are a protected species and that harming, capturing, killing, or selling them is illegal, they requested that HOCRU take the orangutan away.

Dave Dellatore, SOS Scientific Director, said:"The authorities arrived the next day, and confiscated the orangutan, putting him in the care of the SOCP's veterinary staff, who then transported him back to their quarantine centre near Sibolangit.After going through a period of rehabilitation, which could take a few years, he will be released back to the forest, at the Jantho orangutan reintroduction site in Aceh."

We may never know exactly how the plantation workers acquired this orangutan. It is very hard to attain a full and true account in almost all orangutan confiscation operations, as the people holding them are afraid of the consequences of admitting to any illegal activity. What is known, however, is that in this area alone 500 hectares of forest have been opened up by this plantation company in the past year. The conversion of forests to plantations gives poachers increased access to forests, making it easier for them to capture orangutans and other species.  As the orangutans’ habitat shrinks, they may also be forced into plantations in search of food, making them easy targets.

SOS and OIC work to protect wild orangutan populations and their habitats, and restore damaged forests. The team in Sumatra do a lot of work increasing awareness amongst the local people about the value of forests and biodiversity, and educating them about the fact that orangutans are a protected and critically endangered species. Although the OIC don't run a rescue centre, thanks to the relationships that they build with the communities living next to the forests, they do receive reports about orangutans being kept as pets - an illegal practice.

Please make a donation today, to help us keep working to protect the remaining forests, and engaging the local people in conservation action. It's so important that the team in Sumatra keep reaching out to the communities living next to the forests. If the local people had not reported this orangutan to the OIC, he might still be living in a tiny cage on an oil palm plantation. Instead, he has a second chance at a life in the wild.

The plantation where the orangutan was being kept
The plantation where the orangutan was being kept
Help us protect and restore Sumatra
Help us protect and restore Sumatra's forests

With 2011 designated the International Year of Forests, the spotlight is on rainforest conservation. Here’s how SOS is working to save precious orangutan habitat.

Imagine your home being flattened in a matter of minutes; for orangutans, this is a very real threat. In fact, deforestation is the biggest threat that they face. In the last 25 years, Sumatra has lost a staggering 48% of its forests, largely due to logging and ever-spreading oil palm plantations. This has devastating consequences for wildlife - not just critically endangered Sumatran orangutans but many other species too, including the Sumatran tiger, rhino and elephant. Not to mention all the birds, insects, reptiles and plants.
Of course deforestation is bad news in terms of tackling climate change too. Combined with forest fires and peat land degradation, it has placed Indonesia among the world’s top three greenhouse gas emitters. Lose forests and, as well as carbon storage, we wave goodbye to other natural ‘services’ they provide; things like fresh water, food and flood prevention. This is why rainforest restoration is so crucial. Together with the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), our partners in Sumatra, SOS has been restoring orangutan habitat since 2005. Thanks to the help of our supporters, we have already planted more than 570,000 trees, including thousands within the Gunung Leuser
National Park (GLNP), restoring areas of forest damaged by illegal oil palm plantations. Since 2007, we’ve removed approximately 6,000 oil palms from the national park too.

Wherever we are restoring forest, local people have been involved from day one. As well as distributing seedlings, we help establish organic forestry centres and also provide training so communities can grow their own tree seedlings for future replanting. So far, we have established 11 tree nursery centres in villages throughout Aceh and North Sumatra, producing seedlings for six replanting sites. In our Besitang site alone, an area of once lush lowland forest has been replanted with more than 300,000 trees. We have also been spreading the word about tree nursery management and composting, reaching more than 5,000 people through a combination of training sessions and school visits.

We’re seeing some really exciting results; our team has already reported evidence of wildlife returning to restored forest areas - not just orangutans but also siamangs, gibbons and many endangered and critically endangered bird species. Camera traps installed at Besitang have captured some fantastic images, with species snapped including the pig-tailed macaque, leopard cat, wild boar and porcupine.

“Sightings like these show that what we’re doing really is making a difference,” says Dave Dellatore, Scientific Director of SOS.

In March, SOS teamed up with a coalition of conservation organisations to launch the Clear Labels, Not Forests campaign, calling for mandatory labeling of palm oil on food packaging in Europe. We have already convinced the
European Parliament’s Environment Committee to vote yes. We now need to convince the European Council.
Palm oil is found in up to half of packaged food products but is typically listed as ‘vegetable oil’. Unsustainable palm oil production has disastrous consequences for critically endangered species, including the orangutan, Asian elephant, rhino and tiger.

Clear Labels, Not Forests was launched to increase demand for certified sustainable palm oil from European food retailers and manufacturers. Convincing the Environment Committee was a major step forward. We would like to thank all those who took part – more than 1,400 people wrote to their MEPs and MPs to ask them to back the labeling of palm oil. This is a fantastic result, but we need to keep up the pressure - the next step of the campaign, calling on the European Council to back this move, is absolutely crucial.


To find out how to get involved please visit our website: www.orangutans-sos.org

Links:

Ari at Besitang
Ari at Besitang

This is Ari, the manager of our forest restoration site at Besitang, North Sumatra - as you can see, our tree seedlings are growing really well! In the background you can see some oil palms - these were illegally planted in the national park, and we're gradually cutting them down and replacing them with rainforest tree seedlings. As you can see from this little film, taken with camera traps at this site, wildlife is starting to return to the area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3bk4eDjA7U Thank you so much for donating to this project - we love sharing these successes with our supporters.

Links:

Curious macaque
Curious macaque

Earlier this month, we installed some camera traps at our forest restoration site in Besitang, north Sumatra. We've already received some fantastic images showing the wildlife that is using this area, and have created a short film showing what happened when a curious macaque came across one of the cameras:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QPx1VJhUGw

It's wonderful to be able to share evidence with our supporters that our restoration work is great news for the wildlife of Sumatra - please share this far and wide with family, friends and colleagues!

And thank you, as always, for your support.

Links:

Community tree planting scheme
Community tree planting scheme

Thanks to your support, we have been training local people in the Besitang region of North Sumatra to manage tree nurseries, growing indigneous seedlings and planting them on damaged areas of land within the Gunung Leuser National Park. Our team have reported evidence of lots of wildlife starting to return to the area - including orangutans, Siamangs, White-handed gibbons, leopard cats, as well as many endangered and critically endangered bird species too. With the restoration site up and running successfully, we are now planning to expand our work to a new part of the Leuser forests - Ketambe in the Aceh province of Sumatra. Whilst carrying out another project in the area, helping the local community to compose conservation action plans for their villages, we discovered that their farmlands had been encroaching on the national park. So we have begun working with the people of Ketambe to help them understand why protecting the forests is important, and they now fully support setting up a restoration site, which they will manage in order to undo the damage. They will also become guardians of this part of the park, ensuring that encroachment doesn't happen in the future. All the communities we work with become part of a network of "conservation villages", and we will continue to support the community in Besitang as well as beginning work in Ketambe.

Thank you, as always, for your support.

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Sumatran Orangutan Society

Location: Abingdon, Oxon - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @orangutansSOS
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UK Director
Abingdon, Oxfordshire United Kingdom
$93,283 raised of $150,000 goal
 
1,535 donations
$56,717 to go
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