POACHING CRISIS IN SUMATRA – NEW APPEAL!

The Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia is quite literally the last place on earth where Sumatran elephants, orangutans, rhinos and tigers roam together in the wild.

 International Elephant Project and Wildlife Asia have been working hard to support local Acehnese NGO HAkA over the last year to challenge the new Spatial Plan for this region that will open up critical protected forest for conversion to mining and palm oil. That fight continues but an equally disturbing and urgent threat is emerging with the increase in poaching activities in the Leuser Ecosystem.

 HAkA supports a team of 60 FKL (Leuser Conservation Forum) rangers in the field who are deployed year-round to patrol and protect the Leuser Ecosystem. The rangers have already removed 152 snares from their patrol area in the first half of this year. That means the lives of 152 elephants, rhinos or tigers have effectively been saved from slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of illegal poachers. The rate at which rangers are finding deadly snares in the forest has already tripled since last year: This is a poaching crisis. The video above comes directly from renowned conservation photographer Paul Hilton and documents the reality out on patrol with the FKL rangers last month.

Now with an estimated population of only about 500 left in the Leuser Ecosystem, the critically endangered Sumatran elephant cannot withstand another killing season. We urgently need your support now.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • $20 monthly donation: Save an elephants life. Please consider this option of regular support to IEP to help us keep these rangers on the front line.
  • $35 donation: Buy a pair of boots and a uniform for a ranger in the field gathering snares and protecting wildlife
  • $50 donation: Buy a ranger kit (backpack, torch, leech socks, water bottle, machete)
  • $250 donation: Keep a ranger in the field for one month
  • $500 donation: power pack of facilitating law enforcement, cutting down illegal palm oil and restoring and protecting 1 hectare of forest in the elephant corridor
  • $1200 donation: Supports a full ranger team in the field for an entire month

DONATE NOW

Please come along to our special event on July 30 at exciting new Whipper Snapper Distillery in East Perth to hear the firsthand experiences of Perth-based wildlife conservationists Clare Campbell and Leif Cocks and special guest from HAkA in Aceh, Shayne McGrath. For something a little special, Alisdair Malloch from Whipper Snapper will also be on hand to have a quick chat about the exciting journey that will see Perth’s very own whiskey distillery in production soon! For information and registrations click HERE

Update from Projects in Aceh and Java

Wildlife Asia Director, Clare Campbell,  recently returned from Indonesia,  meeting with local partners in Java and Aceh and reports the following update:

“Last week I was able to meet the HAKA team in Aceh and get a first hand update on the status of the spatial plan as well as activities in the field. Goldman Prize Winner Rudi Putra continues to lead an outstanding team in the field however they face ever increasing challenges. Last month alone, 13 elephant and tiger snares were removed as well as numerous other snares (see below) and evidence of recent poaching found. We must maintain the pressure and we need your support to do so!

Snare1Snares2

In relation to the spatial plan, it has just come to light that the Aceh government already signed and archived the spatial plan (Qanun RTRWA) on March 3rd 2014, confirming rumours in the press around that time that the Aceh government considered the spatial plan in effect. This is despite the fact that the central government have identified serious legal violations in the spatial plan – including failure to recognise or even name the nationally protected Leuser Ecosystem. In February the Ministry of Domestic Affairs had issued an evaluation (SK650-441) of the Aceh spatial plan which required the Aceh government to revise the plan in accordance with the national law before it could be approved. It appears that the archived spatial plan has been kept very quiet for these past 3 months by the Aceh government.
On 11th June Walhi Aceh (Friends of the Earth Aceh) registered a legal case to sue the Governor’s illegal law (Pergub) on the utilisation of the Leuser Ecosystem. This regulation allows permits for activities like palm oil, logging and mining to be issued in the protected Leuser Ecosystem and so works hand in hand with the spatial plan. Unless the spatial plan is cancelled, Indonesian NGOs will likely be forced to embark on a lengthy and costly judicial legal case suing the spatial plan as well.
Following these major developments, a large EU delegation met with the Aceh Governor in Banda Aceh earlier this week to discuss the significance of the Leuser Ecosystem and the need for its legally protected status to be recognised in Aceh’s development plans. On this milestone visit to Aceh, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr Olof Skoog, highlighted “the global importance of the Leuser ecosystem for biodiversity”.
Attention has now turned to Indonesia’s President SBY requesting that he immediately cancel the spatial plan. This will avoid a lengthy fight in the courts while the Leuser Ecosystem remains exposed to further illegal destruction. Cancellation of the plan by SBY would open the opportunity for a full revision of the spatial plan based on the solid footing of the Leuser Ecosystem’s status as a National Strategic Area for Environmental Protection Function and environmental sensitivity analyses conducted by technical experts working together with the Aceh government. Without decisive action now by President SBY, the current spatial plan threatens the critical ecosystem services the Leuser Ecosystem provides to millions of people and threatens the very survival of the orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers that co-exist there.
In Java, the recently released Javan gibbon family continue to thrive in the forest. See picture below of young Yani exploring her freedom.
Young Yani enjoying life in the forest

Young Yani enjoying life in the forest

Sadly, there is evidence of increased poaching of young gibbons in the region however, with several confiscations in recent months. It is important that we replicate the highly effective Gibbon Protection Unit currently operating in Mt Malabar to provide increased protection in other areas.
Devi, one of several young gibbons confiscated from wildlife traders this year.

Devi, one of several young gibbons confiscated from wildlife traders this year.

Gibbon Protection Unit operating in West Java

Gibbon Protection Unit operating in West Java

 

 

There is only one week left to make your tax deductible donation.
Please visit www.givenow.com.au/wildlifeasia today or contact us directly;
Michael Kerr (Fundraising Manager) : 0432926435 or michael.kerr@wildlifeasia.org.au
Clare Campbell (Director) : clare.campbell@wildlifeasia.org.au (currently in the field)
Our current fundraising brochure can be downloaded here:  Wildlife Asia Fundraising Flyer

 

URGENT MOBILISATION NEEDED TO SAVE THE LEUSER ECOSYSTEM!

appealbanner2Dear Friends of Wildlife Asia,

Thank you for your continued help in safeguarding the Leuser Ecosystem! We hope that you will  support our current Wildlife Asia Appeal to ensure the ongoing protection of this critical area.

Over the last year, you helped create a wave of public protest against the destruction of the Tripa peat swamp forests. At the same time Indonesia was inundated with the positive message from supporters, scientists and economists all around the world that the Leuser Ecosystem deserves full recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We need your help now to make this a reality.

Despite such global attention, the battle continues as environmental groups challenge the Aceh Parliament’s plan to go ahead with illegal forest conversion in this region. If allowed to pass by Indonesia’s central government, this spatial plan will be a disaster of catastrophic proportions for wildlife, the people of Aceh and the health of the global environment. As a wildlife guardian, I am sure you will agree that it will be a tragic reflection on our generation if this results in the extinction of such magnificent species such as the Sumatran orangutan, rhino, elephant and tiger.

Wildlife Asia is aiming to raise $100,000 to prevent this environmental disaster from unfolding. Your donation can help ensure the protection of the last place on earth where Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers roam together in the wild.

Leave a legacy for your children. Turn todays’ profits into a brighter future for tomorrow.

signature7

appeal4

Please help us continue the battle on the front line to both protect the forest home of critically endangered species like the Sumatran orangutan and Sumatran rhino, and fight through legal channels in order to stop this plan from going ahead.

There is no tomorrow for the Leuser Ecosystem if we don’t act TODAY.

For WA to reach our target of $100,000 we desperately need your help. Every donation helps us get that little bit closer to securing a future for these amazing animals. Ongoing regular donations help us to keep rangers in the field, providing job security for these inspirational frontline wildlife warriors.

 

appeal6

I want to help Wildlife Asia on their important mission to protect wildlife and habit.

Visit www.givenow.com.au/wildlifeasia to make your donation or to sign up for monthly payments or, return the attached form with your preferred payment method. Download the donation form HERE

Remember that Australian donations over $2 are TAX DEDUCTIBLE

For WA to reach our target of $100,000 we desperately need your help. Every donation helps us get that little bit closer to securing a future for these amazing animals. Ongoing regular donations help us to keep rangers in the field, providing job security for these inspirational frontline wildlife warriors.

appeal5

The frontline battle means supporting the ranger activities carried out by local Aceh NGO, HAkA (Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh). Every month of every year HAkA’s ranger teams patrol the Leuser Ecosystem. Within Aceh the Leuser Ecosystem covers a vast area of 2.2 million hectares and is made up of diverse landscapes: from swamp forests to alpine meadows to rich lowlands. The Leuser Ecosystem faces considerable threats from illegal logging, conflict palm oil, illegal infrastructure, illegal forest fires and encroachment. These threats help to open up the forests vulnerable wildlife to increased poaching and also intensifies human-wildlife conflict. Therefore we need teams across the Leuser Ecosystem of experienced and dedicated rangers to systematically cover this vast area, providing a deterrent to law breakers and collecting data to inform our conservation strategies. To combat the threats to the Leuser Ecosystem and its rich wildlife our rangers conduct:

• Ranger Patrols

• Plantation Closure

• Snare Removal

• Law Enforcement

• Forest Restoration

As well as these core activities on the ground, a critical aspect of the job of a ranger is to spend time building relationships with and awareness of conservation issues among local communities and local authorities. Empowering local people to develop sustainable livelihoods is an important means of conserving this ecosystem for future generations to come. Many of our rangers activities cannot be successful without cooperation from local communities and authorities, most importantly it’s through these relationships our team can facilitate law enforcement.

We do not receive any government funding therefore our work to protect the forests of the Leuser Ecosystem relies on the support and generosity of ordinary people like yourself. A monthly ranger expedition involves operational costs, ranger salaries, transport, living expenses and equipment costs. Surprisingly for a full ranger team, all of this can be covered for approximately $1000 per month. 

Wildlife Asia is solely supported by public contributions. Your involvement is critical to our work to preserve the forests and wildlife in South East Asia. Thank you for being a part of this important mission!

Rhino Conservationist Wins Prestigious Goldman Prize

The Leuser Ecosystem, found on the western edge of Sumatra is the last place on earth where orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers roam together in the wild. Sadly, their habitat is under immediate threat due to a proposed new spatial plan that will open this area up to palm oil plantations and mining.

One man who has devoted his life to preserving this critical habitat, and in particular the rhinos, is Mr Rudi Putra. Rudi’s enormous dedication and incredible effort was tonight acknowledged as he received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize at a ceremony in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of The Goldman Prize

Photo courtesy of The Goldman Prize

Rudi, a trained biologist has been dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino.

Australian based organisations Wildlife Asia and the Asian Rhino Project have been supporting Rudi’s efforts, providing funding for his team to protect and monitor the Sumatran rhino population in Leuser. With the numbers of rhinos remaining considered to be less than 100, time is running out for this magnificent creature if we don’t act now.

Wildlife Asia Director, Clare Campbell said “We are incredibly proud of Rudi and it is wonderful that his work has been acknowledged. He is such a committed yet very humble person and I know that he will be grateful of the opportunity to raise further awareness of the enormous battle he faces to protect the Sumatran rhino from extinction”.

The last few months has seen huge global mobilization, as the international community is becoming increasingly aware of the imminent destruction of critical forests in this region. Wildlife Asia has been leading the charge in Australia, garnering financial support to challenge the proposed spatial plan before it is too late.

“We have to continue to seek generous donors in Australia to enable us to continue to provide support to the incredible people like Rudi, who work tirelessly to ensure the survival of wildlife. Without these people on the frontline, sadly, these species wouldn’t stand a chance” said Ms Campbell.

More information about Wildlife Asia’s ‘Operation Aceh’ can be found at www.wildlifeasia.org.au. Donations can be made at www.givenow.com.au/wildlifeasia

AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES THREATEN SUMATRAN WILDLIFE

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Conservation groups are calling on Australian company Prosperity Resources to explain any involvement in a local government plan to strip protection from a vast area of the 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh Province, Sumatra. The Leuser Ecosystem is an area of forest located in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, which is rapidly gaining support as a World Heritage Area. It is one of the richest expanses of tropical rain forest in Southeast Asia and is the last place on earth where Sumatran elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans are found together in the wild.

Continue reading