Our team in Indonesia celebrates International Orangutan Day 2018
To celebrate International Orangutan Day on 19th August, our team in Indonesia held activities alongside our Pongo Ranger Community. The activities were in line with our chosen theme of “Being in Harmony with the Environment”. The event also introduced International Animal Rescue’s (IAR) new Learning Centre , which will function as a place for Conservation and Environmental Education. The Head of Environment and Planning Office and the Chief of Police were among a number of staff from the local authorities who joined in our IOD celebrations.
Before the opening ceremony, some of the local law enforcement officials took a tour of IAR’s facilities during which they were educated about our 3R+1M activities (Rescue, Rehabilitation, Release and Monitoring.) They were in awe of our sanctuary and our work.
“At this moment, I declare that I will give full support to IAR and its task to conserve and protect orangutans and their habitat. Thus please do not hesitate to report to us if you have difficulties with an unscrupulous individual,” said Police Chief of Ketapang, Mr Yuri Nurhidayat.
Other law enforcement agencies, such as the Indonesian armed forces, also committed to supporting IAR’s efforts to the best of their ability.“My unit and I represent the Indonesian armed forces and in conjunction with the local police department, will ensure all environmental laws that safeguard the country’s natural resources are enforced to the fullest extent whenever necessary,” said Lieutenant Colonel Mr Jami’an.
He also expressed his wish that the next IOD event should be even more festive and open to the general public. The total number of visitors to come through the sanctuary gates during the Open Day was approximately 700 people from six neighbouring villages, law enforcement agencies/government officials, students, youth communities and a selection of environmental organisations. The highlight of the event was the presence of ex-orangutan owners.
They came to enlighten us as to why: (i) they took an orangutan as a pet and (ii) they decided to hand over their orangutan to IAR.“I hope people who have an orangutan as a pet are willing to give this protected animal to an organisation that’s more competent to look after them, like IAR, so they can be returned to their natural habitat,” said 37 year old Yudas Hardianto who kept ‘Untek’ as a pet orangutan for four years when he still worked in a palm plantation company.
Untek was surrendered to IAR in February 2017. Besides holding an open day, IAR also held a drawing and colouring competition for junior school children; a conservation for junior high school and college students, as well as organic farming exhibition and art performances from local schoolchildren and our Pongo Ranger community.
"This event shows that orangutan conservation is in line with society’s welfare. This is increasingly important because the orangutan landscape in Ketapang District, which is generally a deep peat forest, is one of the largest orangutan metapopulations in the world with more than 4,000 individuals,” said Tantyo Bangun, Chairperson of IAR Indonesia.
Throughout the day there were a lot of examples where conservation of wildlife could support the needs of society through natural and economic management like organic farming, ecotourism and socially sustainable forestry. Youth participation is also very important in introducing environmental issues. Who better to deliver environmental concerns to the youth of today than the youth of today! For this reason, the Pongo Ranger Community’s involvement was of paramount importance.
They are from multiple villages and ethnic backgrounds who are active in youth empowerment; local environmental education, captive animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues across Ketapang. It is hoped that, with the involvement of the Pongo Ranger Community in this event, more young people will be motivated to become stewards of their environment.