Thanks to support from Beautiful Cups and many other orangutan fans, here are some of the things SOS has achieved this year.
It’s been another busy year for the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) teams. There are now three teams, covering North Sumatra, Aceh and Batang Toru respectively, and they have rescued and relocated 27 orangutans (including two Tapanuli orangutans) in 2019. They also conduct consistent monitoring and community outreach to ensure that their presence has a long-term impact on reducing the incidence of negative interactions between people and orangutans.
Sumatra’s rainforests are vital for orangutans, people and climate. SOS and their partners work hard to protect and restore them, and 2019 has been no exception. OIC‘s restoration staff have planted 942,000 trees this year, restoring barren ex-plantations and illegally-deforested areas to allow wildlife to return.
Another way of supporting Sumatra’s forests is to prevent them being destroyed in the first place. This year, OIC’s patrol teams have covered 495 km of the Leuser ecosystem, reporting illegal activities like logging and snare-setting to local authorities. This enables them to step up protection for vulnerable areas, and, in turn, informs OIC’s community outreach work with people in villages adjacent to the forest.
This year, another 100 farmers living around the Leuser Ecosystem have been taught how to use sustainable methods to increase their crop yields without expanding farms into the forest. In addition, 50 farmers who rely on gum/resin as a non-timber forest product in Aceh province have been trained in sustainable harvesting of this economically valuable commodity. The Lucy Wisdom School is going from strength to strength, with double the number of children attending in the academic year 2019-20 than 2018-19, and many on the waiting list for 2020-21. SOS’s new partner, Nature for Change, is working with communities in the buffer zone around the Leuser to increase their earnings from the fruit trees they plant, and OIC is employing women from villages near restoration sites to make eco-polybags for tree seedlings by using banana fibres (this replaces the plastic polybags which were used before).