TOP Supported ProjectsTOP currently supports a variety of projects in Borneo & Sumatra, Indonesia. A summary can be found below with links to more detailed information on each project.
Meet some of our project leaders view profiles.
Project Leader Dr Ian Singleton
The Batu Mbelin Care Centre is located near Medan in North Sumatra and opened in 2002. It is run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). SOCP is a collaborative programme involving numerous organisations. It is a multifaceted programme engaged in all aspects of Sumatran orangutan conservation including:
- Confiscation, quarantine and reintroduction of illegal pet orangutans
- Surveys and monitoring of remaining wild populations
- Research on conservation and behavioral ecology of wild orangutans
- Habitat conservation; and
- Education and awareness.
Illegally held orangutans that are confiscated in Sumatra are taken to the Batu Mbelin Care Centre. Many have been kept as pets or have been injured by palm oil plantation workers. Orangutans are given a full medical check upon arrival and treated for any illnesses and parasites. They undergo a quarantine period before being introduced to other compatible orangutans. Many confiscated orangutans are very young and require regular milk feeds. Young orangutans have full time carers during the day and night and are also given tree climbing lessons in the grounds.
When orangutans are deemed suitable for release they are either sent to the Bukit Tigapuluh release site in the province of Jambi or to the Jantho Reintroduction centre in the province of Aceh. As of the end of 2010, over 220 orangutans had been received at the Batu Mbelin Care Centre, with 135 orangutans transferred to Jambi for release and six transferred to the newly established Jantho Reintroduction Centre. Over 120 Sumatran orangutans from Batu Mbelin have been released into the wild since the first release in 2003.
Costs to run Batu Mbelin include: staff salaries, orangutan confiscation costs, transportation costs, orangutan food, orangutan medical costs, food for staff and maintenance work.
Tripa Swamp Protection
TOP funding is provided for legal advocacy and assistance to the community in Tripa Peat Swamp in terms of supporting a proper and sustainable community based management plan of the area. It is located in the Aceh province, Indonesia (districts of Nagan Raya and Aceh Barat Daya).
This programme is to ensure that the process of Provincial Spatial Planning reaches down to the process of the District Spatial Plans for both Nagan Raya and Aceh Barat Daya. The programme will also collect data and field facts related to violation of environmental laws and human rights at the community level, as well as to strengthen and to empower the communities of the 21 villages to follow up to their signed petition, requesting conservation of the Tripa swamp forest ecosystem.
Another important aspect of this project is to endorse public opinion and promote deeper understanding at the District Government Level, of both Nagan Raya and Aceh Barat Daya, regarding the important value of the Tripa peat swamps, in terms of biodiversity, socio-economy, and culture, as well as the vulnerability of the Tripa Region towards future disasters.
Project Leader Ashley Leiman
The Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, was designated as a conservation area in 1998 by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. Covering an area of about 76,110ha, it is located to the west of Tanjung Puting National Park, and sits on the southern arm of Central Kalimantan. Since 1999, the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve has become a site for the release of ex-captive orangutans into the wild. By mid 2008, 153 orangutans had been released into the Reserve. The release of orangutans into the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve provides a compelling and visible reason to increase the protection of the Reserve, which is large enough to support a viable orangutan population.
The Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK) supports six camps in the Reserve for releasing and monitoring ex-captive orangutans. Since 2005, the Australian Orangutan Project has been supporting the operation of Camp Buluh on the Buluh River. This is an all male orangutan release site where 12 ex-captive orangutans have so far been released and another three orangutans have been translocated. TOP fully funds the running of Camp Buluh, covering the cost of:
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Fuel and transportation costs
- Staff food
- Orangutan food
TOP has also fully funded the construction of two guard posts (Post Seberung Gaja and Post Danau Burung) within the Lamandau Reserve. The continuing presence of these guard posts and monthly patrols have successfully brought down the number of cases of illegal logging in the area since the start of the project.
Project Leader Marc Ancrenaz
The Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP) was set up in 1998 by the French NGO HUTAN in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department. The goal of the programme is to achieve long-term viability of orangutan populations in Sabah. The programme's objective is to restore harmonious relationships between people and the orangutan, which in turn will support local socio-economic development compatible with habitat and wildlife conservation.
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are the major threats to orangutan survival. In Sabah, Malaysia, 35% of orangutan habitat has been lost since the early 1980’s. In 2005, a stretch of forest covering about 26,000ha and lying along the Kinabatangan River was officially gazetted as the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. However, this forested corridor is bordered by growing human activities, both by local communities and extensive oil palm plantations. Former habitat reduction and fragmentation have resulted in many environmental issues, such as an increased rate of human-wildlife conflicts, pollution, depletion of timber and wildlife resources and lack of space to develop new economical activities. It is feared that the always-increasing human pressure on the last remaining natural resources of this floodplain might jeopardize the viability of these habitats.
The Honorary Wildlife Warden team conduct a wide range of activities such as guarding the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary from illegal activities, monitoring the status of the local natural resources and identifying relevant management measures, raising public awareness on conservation issues and channel community concerns into positive actions to protect both the community livelihood and the Wildlife Sanctuary. Wardens, being villagers themselves are in the best possible position to understand local issues and to engage local stakeholders in dialogues and mechanisms for a better management of the local natural resources found in the area. This positive and pro-active alliance between a state agency and community members results in an efficient adaptive and collaborative strategy aiming at securing the long-term management of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and of other forest reserves that are key wildlife habitats throughout the State.
Results over the past few years have shown a drastic decline of illegal activities in the areas that are intensively patrolled by the KOCP wardens, reinforcing the importance of these on the ground patrol units
Project Leader Dr. Karmele Llano Sánchez
International Animal Rescue (IAR) signed an Memorandum of Understanding in August 2009 with the Forestry Department in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, agreeing on plans for the rescue, rehabilitation and relocation of orangutans that have lost their forest habitat to make way for oil palm plantations. The agreement allows for the purchase of land and the creation of facilities where the rescued orangutans can be rehabilitated before being released back into protected areas of forest.
IAR Indonesia became involved with the orangutan cause in West Kalimantan in 2009. There was only a sub-standard, temporary orangutan rescue centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan at that stage. IAR took over this centre in 2009 and with financial assistance from AOP built demountable cages to house the rescued orangutans. By early 2010, the conditions had greatly improved at the centre and professional veterinary care was available. Veterinary Director Karmele Llano Sanchez and her team had started to treat the injuries and ailments of the existing orangutans and had brought in a number of new rescued orangutans. A unit of four new enclosures had been designed, built and erected and some of the larger orangutans were enjoying a taste of freedom as they swung vigorously in the hammocks and tyres and played with other orangutans, perhaps for the first time in their lives. A nutritious diet with plenty of varied fruits and nuts had begun to improve their health and the environmental enrichment introduced into the cages on a daily basis had greatly increased their mental and physical stimulation.
A 25ha area of land in the Ketapang district was purchased in 2010 by IAR Indonesia, with financial assistance from TOP. A rescue and rehabilitation facility is being constructed on this site that will act as a transit centre for wild orangutans rescued from deforestation and also as a rehabilitation facility for captive orangutans rescued in the area. TOP is assisting with the construction of this rehabilitation facility including enclosures 1ha in size built around forested areas so young orangutans can practice their climbing skills. IAR Indonesia plans to secure land further north in the province of West Kalimantan so orangutans can be released in the future.
TOP’s financial assistance will cover the costs of constructing further 1ha enclosures and assist with the running costs at the Ketapang rescue and rehabilitation facility.
Orangutan Rescue TeamThe Orangutan Rescue Team will operate in the Kayong Ketapang District and North District and Province of West Kalimantan.
Functions and Duties include :
1. Perform rescue and rehabilitation of orangutans in Ketapang and the District of North Kayong and the translocation of orangutans in the province of West Kalimantan.
2. Collecting data on crimes against violations of the Act, especially related to the hunting and trade in orangutans.3. Provide medical assistance when performing rescues and translocations.
KOCP was set up in 1998 by HUTAN, in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department, with the goal of achieving long-term viability of orangutan populations in Sabah. The project's objective is to restore harmonious relationships between people and the orangutan, which in turn will support local socio-economic development compatible with habitat and wildlife conservation.
Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation are the major threats to orangutan survival. In Sabah,35% of orangutan habitat has been lost since the early 1980’s. Only recently (11 August 2005), a stretch of forest covering about 26,000ha lying along the Kinabatangan River, was officially gazetted as the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. This forested corridor is, however, bordered by growing human activities, both by local communities and extensive oil palm plantations. Former habitat reduction and fragmentation have resulted in many environmental issues, such as an increased rate of wildlife conflicts, pollution, depletion of timber and wildlife resources, and lack of space to develop new economical activities. It is feared that the ever increasing human pressure on the last remaining natural resources of this floodplain may jeopardize the viability of these habitats.
AOP has supported the KOCP Honorary Wildlife Warden programme for a number of years. Wardens play a crucial ‘on ground’ role in ensuring encroachment, illegal logging and other damaging human activities are identified swiftly and responded to with appropriate law enforcement. Vigilance is critical to ensuring the maintenance of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and its orangutan population.
Project Leader Dr Peter Pratje
As part of the ecosystem protection programme in Bukit Tigapuluh, a Mobile Education Unit (MEU) has been established to educate and to raise public awareness within these communities about the importance of wildlife and the natural environment. Most schools in this region have extremely limited resources that restrict their ability to create learning opportunities. MEU staff have developed educational programs for all levels of schooling, which are then customised to each school and delivered by mobile teaching teams.
Local teachers are provided with information about wildlife, forests and conservation to enable them to continue lessons once the unit has moved on to another school. Activities within the programme include interactive stories, games, puppet shows, while older children also participate in discussions about conservation, climate change and how they can take action. Resources provided to the school include colouring-in sheets, origami, magazines and workbooks.
The greater community is also encouraged to be involved in the MEU program. Movie nights provide insight into the surrounding ecosystem, local wildlife species and the protection work being undertaken. Training is provided to prepare communities for human-wildlife conflict so that local people can act without harming animals (commonly elephants and orangutans), which may enter villages in search of food.
Project Leader Simon Husson
The Nyaru Menteng Care Centre is situated 28km outside of Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan. It is located within the boundaries of the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum, a 62.5 ha lowland peat-swamp forest ecosystem, founded in 1988 by the Ministry of Forestry Regional office of Central Kalimantan.
The aim of the Nyaru Menteng Care Centre is to rescue orangutans that have been displaced from their habitat or held in captivity as illegal pets, and through quarantine and half-way housing release them back into their natural environment.
The clinic, quarantine facilities and socialisation cages are inside a fenced area of 1.5 ha, while mid-way housing is at the farthest end of the Arboretum. The project has good forest for the smallest orangutans and is undisturbed by visitors. The larger orangutans are situated on half-way islands in the Rungan River, located eight kilometres away by road. On these islands the orangutans are free to roam and learn important forest survival skills.
The Nyaru Menteng Care Centre employs more than 150 people including vets, technicians and orangutan babysitters. Nyaru Menteng also aims to help protect large areas of untouched forest for this purpose. One of the biggest challenges BOS faces today is finding suitable and safe habitat for release.
There are over 650 orangutans at Nyaru Menteng - a number well beyond the intended capacity of the centre. Approximately 100 orangutans should be released in newly secured forest within the next 12 months. These orangutans will have new transmitters inserted under their skin between the shoulder blades so they can be tracked and their progress in the forest can be monitored. AOP contributed to this massive planned orangutan release with urgent cage repairs at Nyaru Menteng.
Project Leader Gary Shapiro
The Orangutan Caring Scholarship (OCS) was established in 2006 as a joint program of OUREI (Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative), whose President is Gary Shapiro, and the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS). The purpose of the program was to award talented and needy Indonesian students in Sumatra with tuition funding, allowing them to attend postgraduate programs in forestry and biology. Through the program, recipients would develop an understanding of the plight of the orangutan from the perspective of the non-governmental organisation. They would then graduate as an advocate of orangutan conservation when entering the government workforce. The collaboration between OUREI and SOS has allowed this scholarship program to expand each year to include a larger number of recipients.
The Orangutan Caring Scholarship is open to Indonesian students in North Sumatra seeking tuition funds for forestry or biology school. One of the requirements of the applicant is to make an effective presentation to a review committee about their research plans. In addition, recipients are to work with SOS in learning about the orangutan and its plight, and in helping present the information to students in local schools. The scholarship money provides for multi-year tuition expenses as well as the write-up of the student’s thesis.
TOP is fully funding twelve Orangutan Caring Scholarships.
Project Leader Ashley LeimanDonate now to this project!
The vast majority of orangutans received at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) quarantine centre are fit and healthy and can be transferred to one of the two reintroduction centres for the species in Jambi and now in Jantho (Aceh). However, on occasions we receive orangutans with serious medical concerns or disabilities (injuries) that prevent them from being returned to the wild.
The PanEco RAW Island fundraising partnership between TOP and Raw Wildlife Encounters has been established to raise funds necessary for SOCP to purchase land, develop suitable orangutan long-term housing facilities, employ staff, and cover operational costs for at least the first year. Currently it is impossible to predict how much needs to be raised. Land prices vary tremendously in the region but are predicted to be higher in areas where there is already tourism and higher still where there is a regular, clean water supply.
In 2007, with funding from The Orangutan Project, we built 4 medium sized cages (each approx. 6m long X 4 m high X 3m wide) to improve the welfare of some such orangutans that had previously been housed in the smaller cages in the quarantine isolation area of the site. Nevertheless, given that orangutans live for a long time and regularly reach over 50 years in the wild, we must quickly begin looking for more acceptable longer term solution for housing such animals, to maximize their welfare.
The solutionIt is highly unlikely that any of the first 4 orangutans described above will ever be released into the wild, and it remains a possibility for the 5th too, Seumayam.
Whilst the cages they are currently in are adequate, in that they allow them plenty of room for exercise and a clean and healthy environment, it is highly desirable that we find a longer term solution for these individuals, and any other handicapped or potentially contagious we may receive in the future.
An ideal solution would be to find some land, a minimum of 3 or 4 hectares but ideally more, with a clean water supply, on which to construct a number of small enclosures. Ideally, these could be “island” style, if there is a good enough and clean enough water supply on the site, such as a large stream or river that can be routed through new canals to form moats. Alternatively, “island-type” enclosures could be created using an excavator to create “ha-ha” walls.
It would be hoped that the site would be big enough to accommodate at least 6 such enclosures but more would be better, or at least the possibility to add more later. A minimum requirement of 3 hectares would be desirable, but more would of course enhance the long term potential.
It is envisaged that these orangutans can also still play an important role in the conservation of the species. Paying visitors would be allowed at the site and education displays and guided tours would explain the reasons why these orangutans are there. They would explain the problems of habitat loss and orangutan human conflicts and how both result in young orangutans being captured and kept as pets. As an example, dramatic photos of x-rays taken of orangutans such as Leuser, with 48 air rifle pellets still in his body, will reinforce the reality and the brutality of the capture process. Tila’s hepatitis will be used to explain how humans and orangutans can transfer diseases from one to the other. The centre will also serve as an example of how the care of these animals is a long-term commitment, but also the responsibility of us all, and an expensive one too.
It is hoped that revenues and donations from visitors will help contribute to the operational costs of the centre and minimize the amount of funds that must be sought from elsewhere, although this cannot be guaranteed. To maximize the potential for this, however, it would make sense to locate the new centre in a location that is not too far from somewhere that already attractys a reasonable number of visitors or tourists. Potential areas would therefore seem to be in the regions of Bukit Lawang (former orangutan rehabilitation centre and major tourist destination), Tangkahan (tourism for wildlife treks and elephant rides), Sibolangit or Berastagi (many tourists and now a theme park, and soon to be SOCP’s own nature education centre at the former botanic gardens at TWA Sibolangit . Other options might include Marike and Aras Napal, both locations were other NGO’s are considering developing new ecotourism projects.
To doSuitable land has not yet been identified for the new centre. As stated, it would ideally have a regular, clean water supply, in case the orangutans drink water from moats etc.. Clean water is not so easy to find in the region, however, (except in the forest itself) so some form of water treatment (e.g. biofiltration) may be needed to clean water entering the site.
Funding must also be raised, not just to purchase the land but also to develop the enclosures and other necessary facilities and staff, and to cover the operational costs of the centre for at least the first year. It is impossible at the present time to predict how much will need to be raised. Land prices vary tremendously in the region and are predicted to be high in areas where there is already some tourism, and higher still if there is a regular clean water supply. The next step is to begin looking for a suitable location and to try to collate this kind of information.
Project Leader Simon Husson
The Sabangau Forest is the largest non-fragmented area of lowland rainforest remaining in Borneo, and supports the largest extant population of the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Prior to formal protected-area status being granted, the area was logged extensively, firstly by controlled legal logging and then by intense illegal logging. Illegal loggers used purpose-built canals to extract the timber, which has resulted in peatland drainage, putting the whole ecosystem at risk from peat degradation and, more immediately, from forest fires.
In order to maintain Sabangau’s forest cover and peatland resource, and hence its rich biodiversity, large orangutan population, natural resource functions and carbon store, there is an urgent requirement to restore the natural hydrological conditions of the ecosystem, prevent further fire events, prevent illegal incursions into the forest and restore deforested areas.
AOP supports the protection and restoration of orangutan habitat in the Sabangau peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan. This includes the damming of illegal canals and improving capability for fighting of forest fires by supporting, training and equipping fire-fighting teams in local villages. Existing local community forest patrol units will also work to prevent illegal activities in the forest (e.g. fire-starting, logging, breaking dams, etc). Seedlings will be grown to regenerate peat-swamp forest in degraded areas, and studies continued to note survival and growth rate of transplanted seedlings.
The damming technique pictured has been trialed and proven effective
Project Leader Ashley Leiman
Promoting conservation and sustainable management of lowland forests
The Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, covering an area of about 76,110ha, was designated as a conservation area by the Minister of Forestry in 1998. It is one of the few release sites for rehabilitated orangutans in Indonesia. In 2007, the Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership was established with funds made available by the European Union (EU), the Orangutan Foundation (OF-UK) and the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP). The general aim of this project is to maintain the tropical forests of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and surrounding forests as a functioning tropical forest ecosystem.
To achieve the project aim, several actions are being taken including: improving the protection of the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve from illegal activities; improving the education and awareness of communities around the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve on the importance of conserving forests; facilitating efforts to increase the economy of communities around the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve in a sustainable manner; and reforestation of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve to improve its capacity as a conservation area.
One of the main focus areas has been to increase reforestation of degraded land areas in the Reserve. This is vital to ensure that the current population of orangutans and other wildlife will continue to have a steady supply of natural food resources. At present, two nurseries have been set up and at least twenty different indigenous plant species are currently being nurtured at the nurseries. Seedlings are sourced by local villagers, and this in turn ensures an alternative livelihood for communities that are able to provide seedlings for the project. Part of the reforestation process includes planting boundary markers (i.e. betel palm, or pinang species) to identify the boundary of the Reserve.
Nursery at Post Danau Burung
Nursery worker at one of the seedling nurseries
Project Leader David Fenwick Dellatore
Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia, was once the site of an orangutan rehabilitation project, and continues to provide the opportunity for visitors to view both semi-wild and wild orangutans on daily excursions into the Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP). Although it is forbidden to touch, feed, or disturb the orangutans, such practices continue to occur for the enjoyment of visitors. These practices present a major cause for concern with regard to the orangutans being exposed to human sickness and disease. Furthermore, food given to the orangutans by the guides and visitors can hinder the semi-wild population from becoming free-living in the wild, discouraging them from reducing any dependence on humans.
Ecotourism has the potential to contribute to both conservation and development goals through its self-generating administrative revenue, and can thus provide a sustainable livelihood opportunity for the local community. However, it must be carried out responsibly and managed correctly to function to its full potential. It is therefore crucial that measures are taken to intervene at Bukit Lawang to raise tourism standards, including setting new visitation protocols that best protect the orangutans and other wildlife, as well as the local community and visitors. Even with the problems presented through tourism, experts have recognized it as a potential strong force in helping to save the orangutans.
AOP is providing financial support to assist the Orangutan Ecotourism Development Programme. The goal of this programme is to transform Bukit Lawang into a world renowned ecotourism site and centre of conservation learning and education. Elements of this project include:
- Tour guide training sessions
- Training materials (guide book)
- Visitor questionnaires
- Sign boards
- Park guidelines instructional film
- Building renovations
- Mini field guide
- Information leaflets
- Appointment of Project Coordinator
- Park guidelines instructional film
Marike Ecotourism Development Initiative, North Sumatra
The Marike Ecotourism Development Initiative (MEDI) is a grassroots programme to promote the protection of the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and their rainforest ecosystem, working with communities living next to the Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) in the Marike region of North Sumatra. The GLNP Authority has expressed its desire to develop Marike into an ecotourism site, and has requested the assistance of the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) due to the progress made in their analogous programme in Bukit Lawang. The forests at Marike host a population of purely wild orangutans (as opposed to rehabilitants in Bukit Lawang), as well as many natural wonders that can be viewed on jungle treks, such as stunning waterfalls and old-growth primary rainforest trees.
The overall aim of the Marike Ecotourism Development Initiative is to link sustainable development initiatives with a developing ecotourism industry based on the natural beauty and biodiversity hotspots of the area. With financial support from, SOS will train the community with the skills needed to manage and implement true, sustainable ecotourism. Tree nurseries will be established to support the restoration of national park forests which have been damaged by illegal encroachment. The MEDI will promote conservation amongst communities living adjacent to areas of high biodiversity, helping them protect and improve their livelihoods and, in the process, safeguard an ecosystem of vital importance in the global fight against climate change.
AOP Sponsorship provides:
- Village school programme with a focus on eco-tourism development.
- Capacity building including eco-tourism guide training and English lessons.
- Conservation camps offering educational experiences for school groups and visitors.
- Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) Restoration including the restoration of degraded forested areas and a tree adoption programme focused on the tourism market.
Training the tour guides
New, professional uniforms provided to the eco-tour guides
New pocket guide book to Gunung Leuser National Park
Project Leader Dr Peter Pratje
Sungai Pengian Station: Sumatran Orangutan Reintroduction Site
Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP) National Park is located in the provinces of Jambi and Riau in Sumatra. BTP is the site of the only Sumatran orangutan reintroduction centre; Sungai Pengian. The BTP re-introduction project objectives are:
- To enhance the long-term survival of a species
- To re-establish a keystone species
- To restore natural biodiversity
Sumatran orangutan populations (IUCN Critically Endangered) now number less than 7% of what existed in 1900. Sumatran orangutans are the slowest reproducing species in the world, with an inter-birth interval of nine years. There are approximately only 6,300 left in the wild and the current rate of loss is approximately 1,000 per year. Unfortunately, 80% of the remaining current orangutan habitat is covered by timber concessions in the troubled province of Aceh.
As the Sumatran orangutan is Critically Endangered, it is imperative that viable released populations are built up outside of the Aceh province. The BTP (144,000 ha) most likely contains the entire mega fauna of Sumatra, including the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sun Bear, tapir, probably still some Sumatran rhinos and now the Sumatran orangutan, which was hunted to extinction in the 1800’s.
The BTP re-introduction project is a co-operation between the BTP, the Nature Conservation Department (BKSDA) of the provinces of Jambi and Riau, The Orangutan Project (TOP) and the Frankfurt Zoological Society. The Park is successfully protected by eight Wildlife Protection Units, funded by TOP.
A survey in 2000 found that BTP was a highly suitable habitat for the Sumatran orangutan. A conservative estimate for the BTP Bukit Tigapuluh area, only taking the remaining primary forest into account, extrapolates a carrying capacity of approximately 750 orangutans. The whole BTP Bukit Tigapuluh forest block is ten times larger than the area included in the evaluation, and therefore has a much higher potential than stated in the survey. Over 150 orangutans have already been released.
Project Leader Dr Ian Singleton
Tripa is an area of 61,803 hectares on the west coast of the province of Aceh in North Sumatra. Four large-scale palm oil companies covering most of Tripa are destroying the forest, burning the peat and opening canals to install palm-oil plantations. Tripa hosts unique biodiversity and holds great importance for the local people. It is also by far the largest unprotected carbon stock in Aceh. The total destruction of Tripa’s remaining forest is predicted within less than five years if appropriate action is not implemented quickly.
Tripa is one of only six remaining populations for the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and one of the UNEP-GRASP priority sites for the species. It currently hosts around 280 Sumatran orangutans, accounting for more than 4% of the remaining world population. Tripa also has amongst the highest densities of orangutans anywhere in the world, which has facilitated a unique culture of tool use.
Tripa contains a huge amount of carbon; between 50 and 100 million tonnes. Tripa is normally a net carbon store; however, huge quantities of carbon are being released from peat degradation (burning, drainage and oxidation) because of palm-oil plantations.
TOP has provided Pan Eco with funding to help support the work involved with the conservation of the Tripa swamps. The extensive list of costs involved includes items such as equipment (camera, GPS, etc), transport costs, postage, Indonesian staff wages and conference fees.
Map of Aceh Province showing the location of the remaining coastal peat swamp forests, the Leuser Ecosystem (dark green), and the boundaries of the Gunung Leuser National Park (the large area in yellow).
Wild orangutan in the Tripa Swamp ecosystem
Project Leader Dr Peter Pratje
The Wildlife Protection Units (WPU) are responsible for patrolling the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem and the ‘buffer zone’ surrounding the National Park borders. This is the location of the Bukit Tigapuluh orangutan re-introduction project in the province of Jambi, Sumatra, where over 150 orangutans have now been released, is the only reintroduction site for the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). The main goals of the WPU are:
- Establish, train and maintain ranger units to secure the released Sumatran orangutan population and its habitat in Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP).
- To stop and prevent illegal logging as the major threat to orangutan habitat.
- To actively assist the reintroduction/translocation of orangutans at BTP.
- To collect wildlife data in order to produce baseline data for a buffer zone management plan and a wildlife database as an evaluation tool for ecosystem conditions at BTP.
The WPU have been highly successful in deterring all illegal activities within the National Park, including logging. They are responsible for educating local people about laws against poaching orangutans, gathering information about illegal activities and reporting these to the Forestry Police, and collecting wildlife data as an evaluation tool for ecosystem conditions at BTP. TOP funds all running costs for the WPU at BTP (normally eight units). Valuable equipment has also been purchased including GPS units, digital cameras, cooking stoves and a road car with safety features. Local people are employed as members of the WPU, giving good employment opportunities to the local community, along with increasing the profile of the Sumatran orangutan and its importance in the area. WPU members receive extensive training including first aid, wildlife crime investigation, survey techniques and report writing.
Project Leader Hardi BaktiantoroThe Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) realises the absolute vital importance of protecting rainforest – home for the orangutans and many other species of wildlife. COP is one of the only organisations in Indonesia out there every day investigating and reporting forest crimes.
COP's work takes us all over Kalimantan (Indonesia Borneo), documenting the devastation to forests caused particularly by oil palm companies.
COP regularly file reports with our government and hold protests in Jakarta to raise awareness of the problems.
Below are photos COP have taken of deforestation taking place in Kalimantan.
19-Nov-2012 COP Quarterly Report 2012Q3 (426 KB)
19-Nov-2012 COP Legal Expenses (227 KB)