Film: Toward Tomorrow with the Orangutan Conservancy

 

Check out How Your Donations Have Helped the Orangutans

The recent 10,000 USD donation from Orangutan Conservancy was put to good use at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) Quarantine and Rehabilitation Centre at Sibolangit, North Sumatra province, and Jantho Reintroduction Programme at Jantho Nature Reserve, Aceh, province Indonesia. 

Waste Management

With the remoteness of the Quarantine and Rehabilitation Centre and general absence of external waste management services in Indonesia, until now non-organic rubbish was burned on-site in a concrete trough. However, with support from OC we were able to construct an incinerator. In order to reduce costs, we decided to build one of our own design, with the aid of a contractor that has long assisted us in orangutan cage and facility construction, rather than purchasing a readymade commercial unit. We are very pleased with this development, which greatly help improve hygiene and sanitation conditions, allowing us to provide the best possible care to the orangutans under our care.

Fiberglass Canoe

In Jantho we needed a replacement small boat/canoe, used to cross the river dividing the field station from the orangutan reintroduction area. After a number of repairs, the previous unit was leaking in too many places, so it was simply time to replace it! The Post Release Monitoring staff in Jantho who leave the camp early in the morning before sunrise to follow the orangutans now have a safe means of crossing.

 

Field Equipment

The recent donation also enabled us to replace and build out our field equipment stock. Our monitoring staff take location coordinates of the orangutans throughout the day with GPS units, and also use these for navigation throughout the Reserve. However, a number of our units were not working, even after repairs were attempted, so we purchased 5 new Garmin receivers. Further, previously we were using standard AA batteries for GPS and radio units, necessitating regular replacement. This was of course less than ideal for the environment, and also financially, so switching to rechargeable batteries reduces waste and in the long-term, costs.

Miscellaneous

Lastly, as we were able to greatly reduce costs for the incinerator from the initial estimate, we used the difference to secure a few additional items. First, our resident field veterinarian, Dr. Pandu, is based full-time at the Jantho Station, so that he can assist in monitoring the health of the orangutan population, and quickly respond to any instances requiring medical intervention. As such he needed a dedicated camera to document observations in the forest, so that the standard monitoring team could continue their tasks (including photography) throughout each day, and Dr. Pandu his. We therefore purchased one waterproof pocket camera for veterinary care purposes. Second, we also purchased 20 new rucksacks for our orangutan post-release monitoring team at Jantho. Third, the kitchen and visitor reception area at the Quarantine Center needed renovation, as it was aging and suffering from termite damage. With OC support we were able to replace the wooden support beams and sidings, so that everything is safe and presentable. Fourth, we used a small portion of the donation to cover some remaining costs for SOCP Senior Veterinarian Dr. Yenny to join the Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG) meeting in Banda Aceh this year. Lastly, with the currency exchange rate from USD-IDR becoming more favorable, we applied the remaining balance towards purchasing food for the rehabilitant orangutans at the Quarantine Centre. Many thanks to Orangutan Conservancy to enable us to provide better wildlife management at both sites, and through this support we work hand in hand to conserve orangutans in Sumatra!

posted by: Erin Murphy

 

Tampur Hydropower Mega Project Threatens the Community, Endangered Wildlife and Violates the Law

Jakarta, August 30, 2018- Environmental activists and experts condemn the construction of mega hydroelectric power plants (PLTA) Tampur that have obtained land-use permits in the districts of Aceh Tamiang, Gayo Lues, and East Aceh, Aceh Province. The construction of a hydropower plant inside the Leuser Ecosystem (KEL) is considered to damage the habitat of Sumatran elephants, threatening the survival and livelihood of people living downstream of the Tamiang river and violating licensing rules. In his presentation, Riswan Zein, a Landscape Protection Analyst from the Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation (YEL) said that the Tampur Mega Hydropower Project will open access to primary forest areas, causing further clearing to forest and hunting activities, these conditions will reduce the integrity of the protected function of the National Strategic Area of the Leuser Ecosystem. According to Riswan, “the Lesten River Valley which will be inundated by the reservoir is an important roaming corridor for the Sumatran elephant population, the corridor will be totally broken because of the very steep topography; this will push this population towards extinction.”

In addition to ecological impacts, Riswan added several social risks and disasters that would arise due to the construction of hydropower. “According to the Environmental Impact Analysis (ANDAL) document issued by PT. KAMIRZU, the area of the inundation is estimated at 4,090 hectares and to meet the inundation as large as the area takes up to one year, it is certain that 50% of the villages located downstream of the Tamiang Watershed will experience severe drought during that period, “Riswan said . The location of Tampur hydropower located east of the Great Sumatran Fault makes the location of this dam at one of the centers of the Sumatra mainland earthquake. The 193 meter high dam has the potential to break down and engulf many lives to bring disaster to the people who are downstream. “It has been noted historically that there have been several large earthquakes, around 6.0 SR around the dam site, the higher the dam withstand large amounts of water pressure, the riskier it is to break down and flood downstream communities, we certainly do not want the dam to collapse such as in Laos last July 2018 to also happened in Indonesia, “said Riswan.

Breaking the Licensing Rules

Not only damaging and potentially catastrophic, the Tampur hydropower development plan also reaps with problems regarding the permit process. M. Fahmi, the HAkA Foundation Legal Team revealed that, “Borrow-Use Of Forest Areas Permit (IPPKH) used by PT. KAMIRZU is deemed not in accordance with the provisions of the prevailing laws and regulations, because based on the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia on Guidelines on Borrow-Use of Forest Areas, IPPKH can only be issued by the Minister based on the request, although within that law the Minister can give authorisation to the Governor a representative of the central government in the region, but only for the construction of public facilities that are non-commercial with a maximum area of 5 (five) hectares, while this project has been ascertained using more than five hectares of forest area and is not included in the category of non-commercial public facilities such as mentioned in the Regulation of the Director General of Forestry Planning”.

Within the period that has been granted for 1 (one) year from the Governor’s Decree is issued, PT. KAMIRZU has also not been able to show the specified supporting documents, so that the IPPKH becomes null and declared invalid. “Therefore, the IPPKH should be revoked and the permit holder is subject to sanctions in accordance with laws and regulations, if the permit holder does not fulfill the obligations and / or violates the provisions referred to in this permit. We also request that the central government, in this case the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to not issue IPPKH regarding with the construction of the Tampur Hydroelectric Power Plant”, explained Fahmi who also stressed that his party together with the Environmental Defenders Association (P2LH) would take this case to court if in the period when IPPKH was not valid, logging activities or transporting heavy equipment in the Tampur hydropower project area continues.

Community Rejection

Meanwhile, the people living in the downstream of the Tamiang river begins to feel anxious about the plan to construct the Tampur hydropower. “We feel anxious because we were traumatized by the flash floods that hit Aceh Tamiang in 2006. It’s not that we are anti-development, but there are still many other places that can generate electricity without destroying the forests and causing disasters,” said Matsum, an Aceh Tamiang resident who started the petition “Cancel the Tampur Hydropower Project that Threatens Millions of Life” on the Change.org page. The petition can be seen at the change.org/TolakPLTATampur link and has gotten more than 5000 support and continues to grow.

Spokesperson Contact:

M. Fahmi (Yayasan HAkA) : +62 852 6024 2338

Riswan Zein (Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari) : +62 812 6553 591

Project Manager PT. KAMIRZU : Dedi Setiadi, ([email protected] / +62 8129 8296 484)

Media Contact:

Leoni Rahmawati ([email protected] / +62 812 9464 1038)

posted by: Erin Murphy

 

An Important Message From Greenpeace

Emma Thompson: “If we want to save orangutans from extinction we need to save their home”

posted by: Erin Murphy

 

Final Update from OVAG Workshop

 

Greetings from the last days of OVAG 2018!

The last days were packed with sessions on respiratory ailments – a real nightmare for orangutans because of their complicated sinus network….also presentations on the problems faced by other organizations working with Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants and marine mammals!

The last day was for fun, celebrating OVAG’s 10thanniversary – we had stories of how we began from several perspectives, we had a poster session, and face painting!!!!!

Here is the new 10 member OVAG Committee with the Dean of Syiah Kuala University – our in country hosts.

Photos of our poster from the poster sessions!

  

  

Fun face paintings!

  

 

posted by: Erin Murphy