Supporting Sumatran Orangutan Society

Sumatran Orangutan Society logo

Supporting Sumatran Orangutan Society

From April to June 2019 we supported Sumatran Orangutan Society as our chosen  conservation charity. SOS works to protect Sumatran orangutans, their forests and their future. Together with partners in Sumatra and internationally they deliver conservation initiatives and do advocacy work. Their aim is to prevent Sumatra’s orangutans and other wildlife going extinct. We contributed £750 to their vital work.

Latest update on their work

Lucy Radford of  SOS has just given us an update about how our donation will be used: “The funds donated by Nature PL are supporting us to develop and deliver a multi-faceted strategy to halt the dam project in Batang Toru, which threatens the 800 remaining Tapanuli orangutans, and bestow long-term protection on the entire Batang Toru ecosystem. This encompasses everything from making the case for Batang Toru to be nominated as a World Heritage Site, to identifying and lobbying the financial backers of the dam and supporting the local communities who live adjacent to the site to oppose the dam.

There are around 95,000 people in the South Tapanuli Regency who may be impacted by the development of the dam. The majority of people living in the area are farmers, many of whose livelihoods could be affected as their plantations and rice paddies are reliant on the water flows from the Batang Toru forest ecosystem.  In addition, the dam project is considered to have the potential to either exacerbate earthquake risk (as it is located on a faultline) or increase the likelihood and impact of landslides or floods.

Our colleagues in Sumatra proposed that we support the creation of five community organisations in five target villages. These organisations will now work to prevent the development of the dam; they will meet at least once a month and will receive training in community organising and in co-creating an advocacy strategy. We will also support our colleagues in Sumatra to conduct training to help the communities to develop an understanding about their rights and the potential impact of the dam.”

Protecting Sumatra’s forest ecosystems

Deforestation is the greatest threat facing orangutans, so protecting their habitat is crucial. By building partnerships with other NGOs working internationally and in Sumatra, SOS ensures that the impact of their campaigns is greater. Also, they lobby governments and companies to push for action to protect Sumatra’s forests.

Take a look at our new gallery on Sumatran orangutans and the work of Sumatran Orangutan Society. We have a wide selection of both still images and video clips of the Sumatran orangutan and the newly discovered and critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan. These include fascinating footage of the release of an orangutan into the wild.

Conservation workers relocating a female Sumatran orangutan and baby from rainforest threatened by palm oil driven deforestation from Nature Picture Library on Vimeo.

Recommendations from Suzi Eszterhas and Bruce Davidson

NPL photographers Suzi Eszterhas, Andrew Walmsley and Bruce Davidson (creditline Jabruson) have photographed the work of Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partner NGOs. All are passionate advocates of their work. In Suzi’s words, “I am so proud to be a Patron to the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS). Having worked with their teams on the ground in Sumatra, I have seen firsthand how their work is truly making a difference. SOS is one of my favorite organizations to support, and I know every penny they raise will go towards education, orangutan rescue and rainforest restoration.” And Bruce adds this endorsement of their work: “Working at capturing a primate that effectively has four hands to grapple and grip with is a real challenge. The Indonesian veterinary capture teams were expert orangutan catchers, adept at moving these animals to safety with a minimum of fuss and with a dedication that had to be seen to be believed.”

and from Andrew Walmsley

Andrew Walmsley adds: “I’ve worked with The Sumatran Orangutan Society for several years now. I have seen the ways in which the work they support is changing the landscape in Sumatra. This is both in the physical ways with reforestation programmes and orangutan rescues, but also changing people’s relationship with nature. One of the most memorable moments was photographing a rescue of a large male orangutan whose home was being cut down to be turned into an oil palm plantation. The dedication of the team in the heat, mosquitos and rough terrain to give the animal the best chance of survival really brought home to me how important this work is. On another occasion I saw how a barren landscape could be turned into a viable forest habitat over just a few years through research and careful, tireless planting by the restoration team. It’s important to me that my images give something back to the wild animals and places I photograph. I know that I am contributing to SOS’ fundraising efforts by providing them with imagery for their various campaigns.”