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.
Thanks to your generous support, hundreds of thousands of tree seedlings have now been planted on over 200 hectares of damaged orangutan habitat in Northern Sumatra. A group of local farmers have been managing the project, and are now proud guardians of the Leuser forests, the last stronghold for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, along with countless other endangered and endemic species which share their rainforest home.
There was a small setback when a herd of wild elephants passed through the replanting site on their migration route - but this just goes to show how important this area is for so many species, and planting was able to continue once the elephants had moved on. And the silver lining is that elephant dung makes an excellent natural fertiliser for the newly planted seedlings!
Thanks to our education and outreach programme in the region, the communities living on the edge of these critical forests now have a deeper understanding of the ecological services that rainforests provide, and the ways that these benefit millions of people every day. This is the first step to fostering conservation action - and indeed the local people have sprung into action to save their forests.
Thank you for your help in reaching our target of raising at least £1,000 from 50 donors - we have earned a permanent place on the GlobalGiving website, which will help us raise even more money for our forest restoration projects in Sumatra. Your donation will be used to plant indigenous tree seedlings in damaged areas of the Gunung Leuser National Park in North Sumatra, one of the last strongholds for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan.
You can follow our progress by signing up for our e-newsletter, on the front page of our website: www.orangutans-sos.org.
Many thanks once again for your support - we couldn't have passed the challenge without you!
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