The Orangutan Conservancy was recently notified by the Los Angeles Zoo that we are the recipient of a substantial grant to help us continue our support of the work being accomplished at the Borneo Nature Foundation’s Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) in Central Kalimantan.
The forthcoming grant will be utilized for the indefatigable work of the local Sabangau Community Patrol Team (CIMTROP) at OuTrop on an initiative titled “Community Conservation To Protect Critical Orangutan Habitat in Sabangau, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.”
Despite its protected status, Sabangau is at serious risk from a number of threats. The area was logged extensively. Illegal loggers dug 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. Working with the Community Patrol Team, BNF/OuTrop are restoring the natural hydrology of Sabangau’s peat-swamp through building dams to block the man-made canals, which is an ongoing, long-term project. However, the conditions for forest fires still remain high, therefore fire-fighting efforts are urgently needed on the ground to prevent further orangutan habitat loss.
Forest patrols will be carried out on a minimum of 18 days per month to protect against illegal activities in the Sabangau Forest, including cutting of trees, starting fires, hunting wildlife protected by Indonesian law, breaking dams and illegal fishing using poison or electric methods. Upon detection of illegal activities being conducted in the area, the Community Patrol Team will first explain that their activities are illegal and provide a warning and any relevant advice. If the person is found to be repeating the same activity again, then the Community Patrol Team will report this to the police for prosecution. Forest patrols are conducted more frequently in the wet season, as this is when illegal logging occurs (high water levels are needed to float logs out of canals and to the rivers).
The Orangutan Conservancy salutes our partners at BNF/OuTrop and all of the CIMTROP members as they continue their protection of this vulnerable area that is home to the largest remaining wild orangutan population.
OC and BNF/OuTrop are thankful for the recognition of the continuing work by CIMTROP and thank everyone at the Los Angeles Zoo for your endorsement of this very important conservation project.