Here are our favourite good news stories from 2020.
As some of OIC’s restoration staff live on-site all year round, they were able to continue working during Sumatra’s COVID19 lockdowns, planting 132,856 seedlings and restoring over 228 hectares of land.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a beautiful illustration of the positive impacts of this work, as Rio (Restoration Manager) captured video of some wild orangutans eating fruit from trees planted at the Cinta Raja restoration site. You can watch the video here.
Indonesia’s national parks were closed at the beginning of the pandemic to protect people and orangutans from COVID19, leaving hundreds of families without an income. In the first phase of our appeal to help the guides and their families, we raised funds to buy emergency food parcels for 558 families in Bukit Lawang, Ketambe and Tangkahan. Since October, we have been raising funds to start a Forest Friendly Livelihoods project to give people longer term support.
The three Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit teams have been hard at work throughout Sumatra’s lockdowns. They have rescued 22 orangutans this year – some were able to be released immediately into safe forest, while others were confiscated from the pet trade and need to be rehabilitated before their eventual release. We launched an appeal in March 2020 to raise funds to help the South Aceh team buy a new truck, and we have so far raised over £16,000.
Working with people
Despite several months of virtual lessons during COVID19 lockdown, the students at Leuser Nature School have still been able to participate in lots of nature-based activities this year. Each Friday, they have Jumat Bersih (Clean Friday), where they take part in work to improve the health of their environment. One recent Jumat Bersih activity was planting citronella around the pathways leading to the school, as a natural mosquito deterrent.
The school extension is also making great progress, thanks to support from both corporate and individual donors. The new classrooms are nearly complete and will enable many more students to enrol at Leuser Nature School next academic year.
Without local community involvement, forest restoration is unlikely to have long-term success, so every restoration project run by our partners involves local people. This year, OIC have extended their women’s planting groups initiative, with groups now active at Bukit Mas, Cinta Raja III and Singkil restoration sites. Nature For Change has run a successful Green Camp for young people living around Gunung Leuser National Park, and continues to work with people living in the buffer zone around the park to help them diversify and improve their income from sustainable sources.