International Animal Rescue Commemorates International Orangutan Day 2017
On 19 August the world celebrated International Orangutan Day (IOD). This annual anniversary is held to raise awareness around the world of the need to protect the species which is endemic to Kalimantan and Sumatra. The event is also used to reaffirm the urgency of conservation efforts for orangutans which are an indicator of a balanced ecosystem. As an umbrella species, it is almost certain that if orangutans still exist in an area, then it is still a viable place for other animals to live. This year, our team in Indonesia commemorated International Orangutan Day (IOD) with the theme "Integration of Environmental Conservation Efforts in Culture and Local Wisdom". Through this theme we invited all levels of society to increase their awareness of orangutan conservation and start playing a role in rescuing orangutans and protecting their habitat. The activity was held in two locations, namely Sandai and Ketapang City.
"This year, we have a theme related to local culture and wisdom, to recall the positive impacts of local wisdom on environmental sustainability, particularly by tribal people who still uphold the principle of living in local culture and wisdom, as in Sandai,” said Jelas Riyan, Education and Public Awareness Supervisor at IAR Indonesia. Sandai, which has become an orangutan trade route, was also chosen for strategic reasons for the implementation of IOD 2017.
In Sandai an open stage was used to conduct environmental education through traditional games, musical theatre and a photo exhibition. The theatre told the story of efforts to preserve the forest through the customary forest schemes of the Sandai community. The parts were played by local students who are also participants in Green Camp and Boot Camp activities held by our Indonesian team.
The event was opened by the Head of Sandai sub-district. "I would like to thank IAR for commemorating International Orangutan Day in Sandai,” he said. “Orangutans must be protected and preserved by us all, as they are by our country as a whole and by the world at large. I used to hear the sounds of animals - but now there are none. We must preserve these animals for their own sake and for the sake of the future of humankind too.”
More than 200 students participated in traditional games integrated with environmental education, and 300 more people participated on the peak night of IOD 2017 in Sandai. The activities were also fully supported by SMA N 1 Sandai, featuring a choir and theatre. The group of Field Experience Programme students (PPL) IKIP Pontianak also took part as a committee in this event.
Two days after the activities in Sandai, thanks to our conservation cadres, International Orangutan Day was also conducted in the form of theatrical action and movie night at Citimall in Ketapang. Fifty members of the conservation cadres of IAR Indonesia took part. Some volunteers were also involved. The theatrical event was held on 22 August and attracted more than 100 mall visitors. The activity was also supported by the appearance of Ketapang rappers Harri Bagus Gumilar who are also alumni of conservation cadre 10, solo dance and the band SMAN 1 Ketapang.
The following day, a movie night was held in Citimall Ketapang. Jungle Book was part of a film selection used to convey the message of environmental and orangutan conservation. 95 people signed up as movie night participants. To attract the attention of the audience, at the end of the event quizzes were held and prizes were awarded to the winners by the MC.
The participation of our conservation cadres and the Sandai community in IOD 2017 activities is an indication of the growing support for orangutan conservation from the Ketapang community. The hope is that eventually orangutans will be able to live in their natural habitat without any special conservation efforts because the species and its habitat are being preserved and protected by local communities.