gorgeous rainforest in Sumatra

Andrew Walmsley

Guarding the Forests of Sumatra

Bagus* started as a volunteer at OIC

Back in March 2004, Bagus was still a student at the Forestry department in University of North Sumatra. He saw a flyer of an NGO looking for volunteers; he signed up and joined ten other volunteers.

That was how Bagus first became involved in OIC. He was among the first volunteers recruited by OIC, and has been with OIC ever since.

“I have been with OIC for thirteen years and I know OIC is among very few conservation NGOs in Sumatra which has contributed real efforts in conserving Sumatran Orangutan and their forest habitat”

Much of Bagus’ work was spreading awareness and education from school to school, village to village, around North Sumatra and Aceh. For years he had been doing education and awareness, and at the same time was exposed to the reality of how the people living in the borders of Gunung  Leuser National Park (GLNP) are very much dependent on the Leuser Ecosystem.


“We should not be ignorant about the consequences of irresponsible development on our forests. Those who are aware of the consequences should do something to preserve our forest, because every small action counts.“

- Bagus Panggabean, OIC Forest Patrol Unit*

Now Bagus is the Senior Project Manager for the Forest Wildlife Patrol Unit (ForWPU). For him, forest patrolling is not just about getting the job done, it is a way of preventing illegal activities in the forest and requires considerable skill in collecting valid data. Patrol team members must also have good social skills, because local community involvement is crucial to the patrol activities. Local communities are in effect the advance guard for the patrol team to get information from, as well as to share knowledge and developments with.

As someone working in conservation, who loves jungle tracking, the forest has become part of Bagus’ life. “Development is the real challenge facing Sumatran forests,” he said.

*names have been changed to protect anonymity

Photo and story by Syufra Malina.

Guarding the forests of Sumatra

Zac Mills

An adult sumatran orangutan

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