One of the many things the patrol team looks out for during their patrols is the presence of snares in the forest. There are various types of snares, but the steel wire slings shown in the photos are the type most commonly found by the team. On average, the team encounters eight snares each month (based on data analysis from 2021), meaning their presence in the forest and ability to dismantle the snares is saving around eight animals each month. Though the snares are usually set by people hoping to catch deer or pigs, they can, of course, also catch other animals of a similar size. This is particularly worrying in areas where rare species like tigers are moving around on the forest floor.
Thank you for continuing to support this vital, life-saving work.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. With that in mind, here are some photos of just a few of the wild species you're helping by supporting our colleagues to tackle wildlife crime in Sumatra.
Your donations are helping birds, from tiny songbirds to hornbills and eagles; they are helping mammals from orangutans and macaques to lorises and sun bears; and they are helping plant life by preventing illegal logging and ensuring the diversity of animals in the rainforest is high and seed dispersal can continue.
Thank you for everything you are doing for Sumatra’s wild animals and plants.
Sumatran elephants, like Sumatran orangutans, are Critically Endangered. They were given this status in 2012 after losing half their population in just ten years.
Similarly to orangutans, the elephants are threatened by habitat loss - these large-bodied mammals need a lot of space and many trees and plants to survive in the wild. However, for elephants, poaching is also a threat, with a recent court case seeing 11 people jailed for their role in killing elephants in Sumatra's Aceh province to harvest their tusks for the illegal wildlife trade.
With an estimated 2,400-2,800 individuals left in the wild, tackling wildlife crime is vital for Sumatran elephants. This encompasses not only tackling the direct crime against them (poaching for their tusks), but also things like traps and snares which, despite being set for deer and wild pigs, can also harm elephants which share their habitat.
This, combined with habitat restoration, is key to the elephants' survival. Thank you for helping to tackle wildlife crime in Sumatra.
Have you heard of pangolins? Sometimes known as scaly anteaters, these reptilian-looking mammals are found in Asia and Africa and are unfortunately often hunted and trafficked for the keratin scales which cover their bodies.
The Sunda pangolin species is found in Sumatra and, like all the other species of pangolin, is nocturnal and feeds on ants and termites. Most pangolins captured from the wild, no matter where they are found, end up in China and Vietnam, where their scales are used as an ingredient in traditional medicine.
To prevent the continuing catastrophic decline in pangolins in the wild, it is vital that conservationists and law enforcement agencies gather information about trafficking routes and the people involved in this wildlife crime. Our team in Sumatra recently collaborated with local authorities to seize two suspects and the evidence of their involvement in trafficking pangolins - nine kilograms of scales.
Tragically, it is too late to save the pangolins these scales came from, but by gaining information from the suspects and continuing to keep a close eye on potential trafficking hotspots, our team can be part of the ongoing effort to keep pangolins safe in the wild.
Orangutans are protected by law in Indonesia and are also listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that trading orangutans nationally (within Sumatra and Indonesia) or internationally is prohibited. However, despite this, hundreds of orangutans have been captured from the wild for the illegal pet trade over the last two decades. It is estimated, in fact, that more orangutans have been captured for the wild than all the other great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas).
The numbers of orangutans being captured (and therefore lost to the wild) may not sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it represents over 1% of the total wild population - this means it is an unsustainable loss and presents a serious threat to the species.
Just a few days ago, colleagues in Sumatra were called to confiscate a baby orangutan being kept as a pet in a village in Aceh province. Though this orangutan is now being cared for by experts at a rehabilitation centre, it would, of course, have been far better if it had never been removed from the wild in the first place.
This is just one of many reasons why tackling the illegal wildlife trade is so important, and why we are so grateful for your donations.
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