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Caught on camera: Wild orangutans in forest restoration site


31 January 2017 News

Reclaiming and restoring damaged forests is a vital component of conservation efforts in Sumatra.

Footage captured by camera traps in one of the rainforest restoration sites in the Leuser Ecosystem shows wild orangutans making great use of the new habitat.  

In one clip, a mother orangutan, with her infant clinging to her side, swings on the branch that the camera is attached to:

In another, we see an orangutan getting comfortable in his nest for the night:

Planting trees to restore rainforest undoubtedly makes an important contribution to conservation efforts in the Leuser landscape. However, we must also look beyond the trees, and consider what lies behind the success of our approach, and how we can be confident that we are making a long-term difference to the protection of Sumatran orangutans and forests.

When an area of orangutan habitat is destroyed by people or companies who want to use the land to grow crops, it’s not enough to simply plant trees and put up a signboard claiming the land back as a conservation site. We must ensure that those trees, and the untouched primary forest beyond, remain standing, becoming valuable habitat for orangutans and other species.

No matter how many trees we plant, the most essential element of our habitat restoration programme is the true, deep engagement of the communities who live next to the Leuser Ecosystem in becoming protectors of the forest, and defending its borders from future threats.

At Besitang, thanks to a group of local people, who, inspired by this project, have called themselves ‘Protectors of Leuser’, we can be confident that this area of forest will be safe and protected for a long time to come.

Following the success of the project, managed by our partners, the Orangutan Information Centre, we are expanding to reclaim and restore a further 75 hectares of orangutan habitat that was illegally converted into an oil palm plantation.

We have raised 98% of our target to cut down 9,000 oil palms, and restore the land by planting thousands of rainforest tree seedlings.

Please help us secure this vital habitat for orangutans and the countless other species that share their forest home.

Click here to donate to this appeal today.

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