By Ranti Naruri, Sustainable Livelihoods Manager
Orangutan Caring Week (OCW) is celebrated every November. This year, Yayasan Palung/GPOCP hosted a big celebration at our Bentangor Environmental Education Center, located in Pampang Harapan Village, Sukadana District. The OCW celebration was held from November 15-16, 2022. The Yayasan Palung/GPOCP youth volunteer groups (RK-TAJAM and REBONK) assisted in the planning and implementation of the celebration.
We invited the Bupati (Regent) of Kayong Utara Regency, the Gunung Palung National Park Bureau, the Forestry Department of Kayong Utara, Manggala Agni firefighting brigade, several government agencies of Kayong Utara, and other local NGOs (including International Animal Rescue and Health in Harmony/Alam Sehat Lestari) to the festival.
We were honored that the Bupati of Kayong Utara, Pak Citra Duani, delivered the opening remarks at the festival. He emphasized that this Orangutan Caring Week activity is one of the steps that we can take together to provide education and understanding to students and the general public about the importance of preserving orangutans and their habitat so that populations can remain stable and orangutans do not go extinct.
Next, Yayasan Palung/GPOCP Field Director, Pak Edi Rahman, delivered his opening remarks. Pak Edi said that every November, during Orangutan Caring Week, we are invited to pay more attention to orangutan conservation. OCW has become very important as orangutan populations and their habitats continue to shrink, especially in areas that are not protected. Pak Edi went on to explain that population and habitat reduction is linked to the actions of humans, and so it is our duty to reverse these trends.
Later, after his speech, Pak Citra Duani carried out various activities at the festival. This included the awarding of a certificate to Yayasan Palung/GPOCP. The Bupati also planted a symbolic tree in front of Bentangor, alongside members of the National Park Bureau, the Natural Resources and Conservation Department (BKSDA), Forestry Department (KPH), and the head of Pampang Harapan Village.
Following the tree planting, Pak Citra, along with members of several other agencies, visited exhibition stands set up by Yayasan Palung/GPOCP staff to present the various activities we carry out and display products from Sustainable Livelihoods groups that we support. We also presented him with some of these sustainable livelihood products to take home.
Throughout the two-day Orangutan Caring Week Festival, we held a series of activities for the public, including a drawing competition for elementary, middle and high school students, a quiz show for high school students, a Pandanus leaf weaving competition for elementary, middle and high school students, and a cooking competition for the Pampang Harapan village community. We also hosted talk shows with speakers from the Natural Resources and Conservation Department, the Kayong Utara Forestry Department, the Padu Banjar Customary Forest Management Board (LPHD), and Yayasan Palung/GPOCP research program staff. RK-TAJAM and REBONK youth group volunteers also acted out a live performance about orangutan conservation.
Overall, the two-day event was a tremendous success! It was wonderful to see such a great turnout from the community and we were proud to share our message and pull off such a large-scale event!