Commemorating Orangutan Caring Week in Village Forests

By Edi Rahman, Field Director 

Every November there is a very exciting week for all of us to invite the community to protect and preserve orangutans and their habitat. This event is Orangutan Caring Week, known in Indonesia as Pekan Peduli Orangutan, was November 12-18th this year.  We commemorated Orangutan Caring Week in 3 of the Village Forest areas that are supported by Yayasan Palung, namely Pulau Kumbang Village, Pemangkat Village and Padu Banjar Village. The theme of this year’s Orangutan Caring Week was, “Leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) to protect Orangutans and Global Biodiversity.”

We chose these villages to focus our Orangutan Caring Week activities for a few important reasons. First, these are villages that Yayasan Palung assists with the Village Forest program, and these forests are orangutan habitat with orangutans living in them. Additionally, there were negative interactions between humans and orangutans in these areas in 2021 and 2022 which resulted in orangutans experiencing injuries due to traps and snares from hunters, as well as wildfires around the Village Forests. Thus, it was important to bring positive activities to these villages.

Kicking off Orangutan Caring Week activities with tree planting in Pulau Kumbang (top) and in the burned areas of Padu Banjar (bottom)

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Orangutan Caring Week began with planting activities in Pulau Kumbang Village and in Padu Banjar Village with various types of MPTs (Multi-Purpose Tree Species) such as jengkol, petai, mango, guava, avocado and more. The planting activity in Pulau Kumbang Village was carried out on the Karang Taruna land and was attended by the Village Head and the village officials, Kayong Forest Management Unit (KPH), Yayasan Palung and the community. The planting activity began with remarks from the Field Director of Yayasan Palung (Edi Rahman) who briefly explained about Orangutan Caring Week, followed by remarks from the Head of KPH Kayong (Mrs. Euis Herawati) and remarks from the Head of Pulau Kumbang Village (Mr. Hamid Asman). A total of 250 seeds and seedlings were planted in Pulau Kumbang Village, all of which were donated by the Kayong Forest Management Unit (KPH).

Training on orangutan nest and food identification in Pemangkat (top) and giving a puppet show in Pulau Kumbang Village (bottom).

Meanwhile, planting in Padu Banjar Village was carried out in the Village Forest area that was burned just a couple of months ago and is included in the utilization zone. Planting activities in the Padu Banjar Village Forest area were attended by Yayasan Palung, the Padu Banjar Village Forest Management Board (LPHD), one member of the Indonesian National Army, one member of the Police and the community. A total of 470 plants were planted in Padu Banjar Village and all of them again were donated by the Kayong Forest Management Unit (KPH).

At night we carried out another activity – the identification of animals using thermal drones in the Padu Banjar Village Forest area. This was led by the Yayasan Palung Village Forest team and our Research Team, along with LPHD Padu Banjar. Using the thermal drones we detected orangutans, deer, and wild boars.

A coloring activity for schoolchildren to celebrate Orangutan Caring Week.

Monday, 13 November 2023

On the second day of Orangutan Care Week, Yayasan Palung conducted training on orangutan nest identification and orangutan foods, training on Land Clearing Without Burning (PLTB) and making organic fertilizer, a puppet show, and identification of animals in Pemangkat Village Forest area.

Training on Orangutan Nest Identification and Orangutan Foods was carried out in Pemangkat Village by Yayasan Palung’s Animal and Habitat Protection team (PPS). The participants were members of SMART patrols teams, 24 people in total from 6 Village Forest areas – Padu Banjar, Pulau Kumbang, Pemangkat, Nipah Kuning, Penjalaan and Rantau Panjang.

Our Sustanainble livelihoods (SL) program conducted training on Land Clearing Without Burning (PLTB) and the manufacture of organic fertilizers (solid and liquid) in Pulau Kumbang Village and was attended by 14 participants from Pulau Kumbang Village, Pemangkat and Padu Banjar.

Our Environmental Education Program (PL) conducted a number of school activities, including a puppet show and lectures at Pulau Kumbang Elementary School. Meanwhile, our Village Forest (HD) team continued to identify animals using thermal drones in the Pemangkat Village Forest area. Animal identification activities using thermal drones were carried out at night both in the Padu Banjar village forest and Pemangkat village forest, so that the warm-bodied animals can be detected against a cooled background.

Pandan mat weaving competition.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

On the third day, our Animal and Habitat Protection (PPS) team conducted socialization activities to create more animal-friendly villages by educating animal hunters in Pemangkat Village about the protected status of endangered species. This was attended by 23 participants from Pemangkat, Pulau Kumbang, and Padu Banjar village. We were joined by the West Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) region 1 Ketapang. This socialization activity was replicated for several animal hunters in Pulau Kumbang, with the aim of discouraging hunters from installing traps and snares and from hunting protected animals. This event for hunters was directly carried out by members of BKSDA Region 1 Ketapang, Yayasan Palung and accompanied by the Head of Pulau Kumbang Village, Mr. Hamid Asman.

Our Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) program conducted a weaving competition using pandanus raw materials involving 17 female artisans in Pulau Kumbang Village. The Environmental Education (PL) team conducted animal drawing competitions and coloring activities. They also administered a general knowledge test at a Pulau Kumbang school which involved students in kindergarten and primary school, ages 5-12.

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

On our fourth and final day of our official Orangutan Caring Week activities (we care every day!) our Environmental Education (PL) team gave an educational talk at the Pulau Kumbang senior high school. The many activities that Yayasan Palung carried out from November 12-15, 2023 to celebrate Orangutan Caring Week were intended to invite all parties to be more concerned about saving orangutans and their habitats which are increasingly threatened due to various human activities such as hunting, land clearing (settlements, plantations, mining), illegal logging and forest and land fires. We shared many of these activities on social media, and encourage you all to follow us there!

Group photo for Orangutan Caring Week’s planting activities in Padu Banjar where we rehabilitated land that burned in September.