By Terri Breeden, GPOCP Program Director
It is hard to believe that another year has passed us by. Our research project is now entering its 25th year and our conservation efforts are just shy of 2 decades, at 18 years! During the 2016 year, we accomplished a lot in terms of orangutan research and conservation. To bring in the New Year we thought we would celebrate by having a countdown of 10 of our top conservation and research accomplishments.
1. Spread Conservation Awareness and Education to over 5,000 Students
In 2016, we exceeded our expectations! We visited nearly 65 schools throughout the Ketapang and Kayong Utara regencies and interacted with over 5,000 students. As environmental education is not part of the normal school curricula, our team traveled near and far to teach students of all ages about orangutans and protecting their habitat.
|A local school class excited about GPOCP visiting and sharing information about orangutan conservation.|
2. Gave 11 presentations at the International Primatological Congress in Chicago
Our research and conservation teams gave a total of 11 presentations at the biggest meeting ever of primatologists – the International Primatological Congress of 2016 in Chicago. Our topics ranged from conservation education to wounding patterns, diet, and parasites in wild orangutans.
3. Reported on 15 cases of Illegally Held Orangutans
Our investigative team works tirelessly to find cases of people illegally keeping orangutans as pets and helps ease human-orangutan conflicts. In 2016, the team reported 15 cases to local officials.
|An illegally held orangutan found during GPOCP investigations in early 2016. This juvenile was soon rescued and transferred to the local rehabilitation facility.|
4. Featured in National Geographic Magazine – making the front cover of National Geographic Indonesia
Dr. Cheryl Knott’s research and conservation efforts were recognized worldwide in the December issue of National Geographic in the article Out on a Limb, photographed by her husband, Tim Laman. In the article, author Mel White, highlights Dr. Knott’s research and conservation work.
5. Awarded 6 new scholarships with our BOCS program
Our Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship (BOCS) program expanded to 19 students and this year we had our first 2 students graduate from the program. GPOCP is working closely with all students and assisting the graduates with job placement.
6. Improved Quality of Life for Alternative Livelihood Artisans
The GPOCP Sustainable Livelihoods team has been working hard to help our artisan groups grow and expand their business of Non-timber Forest Product (NTFP) crafts. This year we are happy to announce that some of our artisans have earned enough money from the sales of their crafts to build new homes and make investments for the future. Our efforts have taught these groups how to make a meaningful wage in a sustainable manner.
|The increase in sales of handicrafts has led to a better quality of life for our artisans and their families.|
7. Featured in ‘Mission Critical: Orangutan on the Edge’ documentary on Nat Geo Wild
Dr. Cheryl Knott and her husband, Tim Laman, helped create a documentary that was aired worldwide about the orangutans in Gunung Palung National Park.
Spent 2967 hours in the field collecting behavioral data on wild orangutans
Our research team spent much of their year residing at Cabang Panti Research Station in order to collect nearly 3,000 hours worth of data. A big highlight for this year is that one of our most famous resident females, Walimah, has been spotted with some big flanged and unflanged males. Maybe she’ll get to a mother again soon!
|Walimah with her baby in early 2016. Be sure to watch ‘Mission Critical’ to find out more about their story. Photo credit Tim Laman.|
9. Hosted and mentored 16 college students from UNTAN
We helped support 16 students from Tanjungpura University (UNTAN) to visit Gunung Palung National Park and participate in the research at the Cabang Panti Research Station. During their month long stays, the students worked with researchers to learn new skills and complete research required for their bachelor degrees.
10. Sponsored a GIS training course
GPOCP held two GIS training workshops for all of our staff as well as National Park rangers, and village leaders. This training provided a valuable skill to all participants by being able to produce accurate maps and GPS data.
Of course, none of these activities would be possible without the support from our donors, sponsors and followers. The Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program wants to thank each and every person and organization for their dedication to orangutan conservation. We are proud of our accomplishments in 2016 and are looking forward to what 2017 has to offer.