Rainforest Patrols act as a deterrentThe Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) is located in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, and covers approximately 1,100,000 hectares.
It was established in 1980. Together with Bukit Barisan Selatan and Kerinci Seblat national parks, it forms the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS) UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The GLNP is the core of many endangered species’ remianing habitat, including the Sumatran orangutan, elephant, rhino and tiger. There are 8,500 plant species, 350 types of bird and 205 mammal species in the Gunung Leuser National Park.These are all under threat due to agriculture-driven deforestation, illegal logging, land encroachment, poaching and hunting. Since 2013, our local partner the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC) has been working with the national park authorities in establishing monthly patrols.
The job of these patrols is to catch offenders red-handed as well as to act as a deterrent. If people know there are patrols and encounter them, they are less likely to engage in illegal activities. It is like having an extra police force to protect the animals and the forest. As such, the work is not always glamorous – it involves long hot treks though dense jungle, following tracks and inspecting whether the forest has been interfered with in any way.
Indra Kurniawan, patrols project manager, has no doubt: “Without our patrols, the situation would be worst, for sure. Our presence in the forest with national park rangers is a deterrent for many people who would destroy the park and its unique species. Obviously some still choose to trespass the laws, but they know they can be caught at any time. Being a poacher or an illegal logger is not as easy as it was before. Thank you so much to all our supporters, you help us make a difference”.
Between April and June, 3 patrols took place, involving OIC members, national park rangers and local community members who walked 70 kilometers, securing 10,800 hectares of rainforest. During their time in the field, they found four poachers’ camp, four illegal fishermen’s camps, and four snares.
They also seized the equipment of 5 illegal fishermen and confiscated 56 cubic meters of wood illegally logged inside the national park. They also found an area of forest which had been encroached by local farmers who want to expand their land for agriculture.
The national park authority seized the wood and will investigate this case according to the law of Indonesia. The illegal fishermen have been asked to report to the national park authority.
Since the beginning of 2017, 8 patrols secured more than 17,500 hectares of forest. During their missions, our local partners encountered and destroyed 18 poachers’ camps, and 54 snares. 17 people have been arrested and put under investigation by the national park authority and the forest police. The fight is far from being won, but thanks to your support, Sumatran orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers can feel safer. Be sure that our rangers will not give up their mission, no matter hard it can be.
Saving a species and a rainforest is an ambitious task, especially as the area to cover on foot is so vast. However, as you know, large victories are won on the back of small day to day tasks. Thank you for having the vision to support some of these small tasks which are so necessary if we are to succeed in our bigger vision of saving the Leuser Ecosystem and all the wonderful species who live in it.