The rich, diverse forests of Sumatra are the only place on Earth where orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants live side by side. This precious land also provides livelihoods for millions of people but the trees are being cut down at one of the fastest rates in the world. Almost half of Sumatra’s forests have been lost since 1985.
Iwin Bahak, a local farmer living next to the Leuser National Park, has farmed the land for most of his life. His work is demanding and laborious and until recently he has struggled to make ends meet. Poverty among farmers is common in rural Sumatra and now Covid-19 is making lives and livelihoods even more precarious.
When hungry orangutans visited his plantation and ate his fruit, Iwin was worried how he and his family would survive. In the daily struggle to earn a living many people in the same situation would have resorted to plundering the nearby forests for agricultural land, timber and wildlife poaching.
Iwin did not choose that path.
In partnership with SOS, he’s been able to increase and diversify his income through a range of conservation activities, including nurturing seedlings and tree planting. Life as a farmer is still tough, but the extra income has given greater security and stability to his family, enabling him to peacefully coexist with wild orangutans.
In the words of Rio Ardi, our partner OIC’s Restoration Manager,
“We’re not just providing an income to the communities, they also understand the importance of restoration and get involved in the protection of the forest. That grows over time into love for the area that they helped restore”
With your support we can work hand in hand with more communities to help them transition from exploiting the land to becoming forest guardians. Your donation will help to sustain livelihoods, support community-led conservation and restore habitats in critical corridors in Sumatra.
We cannot risk losing the remaining forests of Sumatra, especially when we know how to keep them safe. If we want to protect wild orangutans, restore nature and preserve critical wildlife habitats it’s vital to work with local people.
Thanks to you we can ensure that people, orangutans and nature thrive together in one of the most iconic landscapes in the world.
Your support has never been so vital and urgent. Please donate today and secure a brighter future for the orangutans and forest communities of Sumatra.
£25 could pay for 18 trees to be planted to boost a farmer’s income.
£50 could provide agroforestry training to help farmers earn more from their crops
£100 could pay for a month’s worth of travel costs for the conservation team to visit rural villages
£250 could pay for an ecologist to assess the best crops to grow to benefit people and wildlife.