Eddy and partners collaborate to produce community surveys.
Back in the field and ready for action – local conservation leader Eddy Santoso leads the Rare Pride campaign in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which aims to reach out to the communities in and around the reserve to protect the orangutan.
In February 2009, Rare Pride Campaign Manager Eddy Santoso returned to the field from his university training to plan and determine the goals of his Pride Campaign. This training gives Eddy the essential skills to deploy various community outreach strategies tailored to his community’s current culture regarding conservation. Some of the tools Eddy uses to disseminate the importance of protecting the reserve include a charismatic campaign mascot, radio songs about conservation, conservation messaged posters, community meetings, etc. These tools are designed to modify core values, lower behavioral barriers, and address the most urgent environmental issues in efforts to save the orangutan and the orangutan habitat.
Eddy’s employer, Yayorin, along with the Orangutan Foundation, are Rare’s local partners for this new Pride campaign. Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and its surrounding corridors are the primary focus of Eddy’s campaign. Comprised of 77,000 hectares of peat swamp and lowland tropical forest, Lamandau is home to some of Borneo’s most extraordinary wildlife. Proboscis monkeys, Rhinoceros hornbills, crocodiles, sun bears, orchids, hundreds of bird species, and the iconic orangutan. Threats to Lamandau’s biodiversity include land clearing for subsistence agriculture, illegal logging, and unsustainable or illegal hunting, fishing, and fuelwood collection. Larger threats on the horizon include proposals for industrial-scale oil palm plantations, which would mean clearing a significant majority of the buffer zone since global demand for palm oil has skyrocketed as worldwide hunger for biofuels has grown.
This year Rare and its partner organizations will build on these local agencies’ existing skills and experience in education and community outreach to launch a Rare Pride Campaign in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Lamandau’s forest still stands in large enough pieces to provide habitat for the orangutans. The Pride campaign is aiming to protect the remaining forest by engaging surrounding communities to protect and rehabilitate areas adjacent to the reserve, and empowering local communities to become beneficiaries of their own good stewardship of the forests on which they rely. Rare and local partners believe that enough forest can be preserved and maintained to support the needs of both people of the forest and orangutans.
Thanks to campaign supporters, Eddy is making great progress so far. He has identified threats and created a concept model that illustrates how threats affect wildlife, and has developed relevant conservation survey questions for the Lamandau’s surrounding communities. Together with Yayorin staff, Eddy is conducting surveys in a dozen surrounding communities and comparing results to those of six control communities around the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. This process informs Eddy and his partners where current attitudes and behaviors stand with regard to Lamandau’s resources, providing a baseline from which the Pride campaign can determine metrics for future success.
Eddy and local partners have been reaching out to craftsmen and village leaders, activists and farmers, oil palm workers, rubber tree tappers and others harvesting from the forest to learn about their behaviors and to engage them in conserving orangutan habitat. Eddy’s campaign will also inspire another receptive audience-- children. Eddy has been visiting schools and using tools like stories and coloring books to inform children in a fun and interesting way about preserving Lamandau’s natural resources. This kind of outreach is just one of several tools Eddy will continue to use over the duration of his Pride campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in July 2010.