GPOCP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Federal Tax ID Number 26-1380932
P.O. Box 15680
Boston, MA 02215
Jl. Kol. Soegiono Gg. H. Tarmizi No. 05
Phone/Fax: +62 534-3036367
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GPOCP 2015 ANNUAL REPORT | 3
Our Mission & Vision..........................................................................................4
Foreword by Dr. Cheryl Knott.........................................................................5
2. Environmental Education......................................................................10
3. Conservation Awareness Campaign...................................................15
4. Sustainable Livelihoods.........................................................................19
5. Wildlife Crime Monitoring & Investigation......................................22
6. Customary Forests..................................................................................24
7. Orangutan Research...............................................................................26
8. 2015: A Milestone Year...........................................................................31
A Look Ahead: Our Goals for 2015...............................................................37
GPOCP Board Members..................................................................................39
Our 2015 Donors...............................................................................................40
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To protect orangutan populations and forest biodiversity in and around Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
A female orangutan and her infant move through the trees in Gunung Palung National Park. Photo © Kat Scott
To develop a human community that is aware and motivated to conserve the orangutans, their habitat, and the biodiversity in the Gunung Palung National Park landscape
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was a milestone year for our organization. We have worked hard to develop our conservation strategies, which include working with local communities to find ways to protect orangutans while supporting sustainable development, increasing awareness and knowledge about the importance of protecting rainforest habitat, and directly addressing wildlife poaching and trade. Our target audience has always been, and continues to be, people living directly in the Gunung Palung National Park buffer zone, as they have the power to conserve the National Park and all of its inhabitats, especially Bornean orangutans.
This year we have achieved a number of successes that deserve to be celebrated. Our Customary Forest Initiative is poised to ensure the sustainable management of 7,500 hectares of orangutan habitat in the Gunung Palung landscape, our Environmental Education Expeditions project has involved thousands of people in six remote villages in conservation activities, and our Sustainable Livelihoods program has expanded to include aquaculture as a "forest-friendly" livelihood - work which has been embraced by community members.
The research project, now in it's 24th year, continues to bring us new insight into the world of wild orangutans. This year the research team logged over 2,800 hours following these amazing great apes at the Cabang Panti Research Station in Gunung Palung National Park. We began two new research projects, one on orangutan nutritional ecology and one on extending our knowledge of male home range size, and are currently piloting several promising new research methods. We also followed female orangutan, Walimah, as she had her first baby, an event which was followed by a tragic loss. Finally, this year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Cabang Panti, with our entire team of staff working together to put on a two-day symposium and week-long trip to the research station for former researchers, Indonesian counterparts and board members, and local government officials. See Section 8 for the whole story!
Thank you to all of our friends, supporters and donors for helping us to conserve Gunung Palung National Park and the orangutans that call it home!
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Below: Dr. Knott and her daughter, Jessica, in the field, summer 2014. Photo © Tim Laman.
Foreword by Executive Director Dr. Cheryl Knott
1.1 WHY GUNUNG PALUNG NATIONAL PARK?
Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP), located in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (Borneo) is a 108,000 hectare (1,080 km2) protected area that houses seven ecosystem types, safeguards a wealth of primate, avian and botanical diversity, and provides critical ecosystem services for the communities living in the Park’s buffer zone. We have been involved in scientific research and conservation in the area for over 24 years, chiefly because GPNP is one of the most important intact blocks of orangutan habitat remaining in the world. The Park and its surrounding buffer zone forests are home to an estimated 5,000 Bornean orangutans of the subspecies, Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii. This constitutes approximately 10% of the remaining Bornean Orangutan population. Because of this, GPNP has been designated by the United Nations Great Ape Survival Project as a conservation priority area.
Made up of tropical moist lowland, peat swamp and montane forests, GPNP hosts a myriad of other endangered and endemic species including gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis), Malay sun bears (Helarctos melayanus), proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica), Horsefield’s tarsiers (Cephalopachus bancanus) and rhinoceros hornbills (Buceros rhinoceros). Beyond the conservation and scientific value of being the only remaining intact lowland alluvial rainforest in Borneo, the National Park is an essential water catchment area, supplying clean water to the surrounding population. The area also plays a major role in buffering against climate change for the region, with deep peat forests serving as a carbon sink and mitigating the flooding and tidal salinity that damages costal farmlands.
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As more and more of their rainforest habitat disappears, the orangutan populations in and around GPNP are the collateral victims of this struggle for land, development and economic gain. Opening of the forest for logging and agriculture increases access for poachers and hunters involved in the illegal wildlife trade. Habitat degradation can lead to food scarcity, which in turn may stress these great apes, threatening their health and potentially negatively affecting their reproductive rate. Lack of food periodically forces orangutans to forage in oil palm plantations or private farmlands, triggering conflict between humans and orangutans. In cases such as these, the orangutans are usually captured and sold or killed.
1.2 THE CONSERVATION THREATS
This map, from the Global Forest Watch, shows the extent of forest loss and land converted to oil palm concessions in the area surrounding Gunung Palung National Park. Protecting the remaining primary forest as well as the biodiversity, especially orangutans, which call it home, is our top priority.
Throughout West Kalimantan, short-term economic interests are exploiting natural resources, and the area surrounding GPNP is no exception. Forests are clear-cut, timber and minerals are extracted at an alarming rate and peatlands are drained for industrial-scale agriculture, wreaking havoc on ecosystems and destroying biodiversity. In 2014, the NGO Global Forest Watch estimated that a full third (33%) of West Kalimantan’s 14.4 million hectares of land belonged to oil palm companies. Included in this are vast forested areas ringing the eastern and southern borders of GPNP, which lie outside of the protected area, but are nonetheless critical habitat for the Park’s orangutan population. These buffer zone forests have also traditionally provided local communities with the natural goods and services that they need to support themselves. Compounding this problem is the fact that many people in the area are under-educated, having completed only elementary or junior high school, leaving them with few livelihood options aside from farming (often employing slash-and-burn methods) or participating in other environmentally destructive activities such as illegal logging or hunting. Inevitably, they are forced to encroach into the National Park to meet their livelihood needs.
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We at the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program (GPOCP) aim to ensure a future for orangutan populations and their tropical forest habitat in and around Gunung Palung National Park. We began in 1992 as a scientific research project known as the Gunung Palung Orangutan Project, and over the years have progressively evolved into a landscape level conservation and research organization, working to protect GPNP and the surrounding buffer zones to ensure a future for Borneo’s only great ape. We take a multi-pronged approach to conservation, employing five main strategies: 1) Environmental Education and Conservation Awareness, 2) Sustainable Livelihoods, 3) Wildlife Crime Investigation and Monitoring, 4) Customary Forests, and 5) Orangutan Research.
Thus, the biggest direct threats to orangutans inside GPNP are illegal logging and encroachment, with the ongoing expansion of oil palm and mineral mining outside of the Park boundaries threatening the survival of orangutans living in the buffer zone. These threats are driven by a complex web of social, economic and political factors, including the lack of sustainable livelihoods for local communities, low levels of education, and a lack of local, regional and national political will for effective conservation.
GPOCP's conservation strategies (right) and the threats to orangutan survival that they address (left).
1.3 GPOCP'S CONSERVATION SOLUTIONS
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Just a few examples of the biodiversity and natural scenes that make Gunung Palung special. Photos © Tim Laman.
The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project (GPOP), based at the Cabang Panti Research Station in GPNP, was established by internationally recognized orangutan researcher, Dr. Cheryl Knott. This research program, which has been running for 23 years, is one of the longest and most extensive studies of wild orangutan behavior and ecology in existence. In 1999, seven years after establishing GPOP, and in response to the growing threat that expanding economic activities posed to orangutans and other wildlife, Dr. Knott and colleagues expanded their work to address these conservation threats and GPOCP was born. Our work began with a series of environmental education activities for school children and quickly developed into a dynamic and multi-faceted program working towards orangutan and forest conservation through grassroots initiatives. GPOCP first became a registered non-profit in Indonesia, under the name Yayasan Palung, in 2000, and under the name GPOCP, in the U.S., in 2008.
GPOCP is a community-based conservation organization with a thorough understanding of both the direct and indirect threats to orangutan survival in and around GPNP. Over the years we have led the charge in slowing large-scale illegal logging inside of the Park, worked to raise awareness of conservation issues among civil society, and collaborated with National Park authorities and other government agencies to build capacity among local leaders. Most of our staff are originally from West Kalimantan and have deep experience with the environmental, social and economic issues of the region as well as close ties to the communities in which we work. Finally, as the only dual research and conservation organization active in the GPNP landscape, we are uniquely positioned to make a significant contribution to the continued existence of the area’s orangutan population as well as their rainforest habitat, and each day we take one step closer to achieving that mission.
From the beginning, GPOCP has worked to build a strong base of local youth and teachers dedicated to environmental education. We strive to keep our approach new and innovative to engage as many students as possible in orangutan and rainforest conservation issues. One of our key goals is to inspire and nurture environmental stewardship among youth so that they can become guardians of the animals and plants living in the GPNP landscape. In 2015, we reached 3,023 students from 55 different schools in Ketapang and Kayong Utara regencies through classroom presentations for students of all ages, field trips and hands-on activities, and lessons for both after-school Nature-Lovers clubs (known in Indonesia as SISPALA) and our two conservation volunteer youth groups. We planned and executed a total of 54 environmental education activities, including 33 in-class activities and 9 field trips to the National Park and surrounding areas.
9 field trips connecting 212 students to the natural world
19 in-class lectures, introducing 985 local students to forest ecology, orangutans, and threats to the environment
14 puppet shows for 1,071 kindergarten and early- elementary students, getting them excited about primate protection
5 future conservation leaders enrolled in university through the Bornean Orangutan Caring Scholarship Program
2.1 IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES
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By the Numbers:
2015 Environmental Education Milestones
GPOCP staff routinely visit schools in the GPNP buffer zone as well as in the urban area of Ketapang. Our in-school programming consists of a variety of classroom teaching activities for elementary, junior and senior high school students and orangutan-themed puppet shows for kindergarten and early-elementary students. In 2015, we focused on improving the quality and efficiency of our activities, including our lecture and field trip materials. We also began monitoring the impact of our lectures and puppet shows through pre- and post-activity surveys, measuring increases in students' knowledge about, and positive attitudes towards, conservation as a result of our educational programming.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
2.2 FIELD TRIPS
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Students from a Ketapang high school, accompanied by GPOCP staff, hike up to the Lubuk Baji campsite in Gunung Palung National Park.
GPOCP Environmental Education Coordinator, Edward Tang, introduces students to our orangutan puppet.
Our classroom environmental education programming is designed to give elementary, junior high and senior high school students an understanding of local environmental topics and issues, and consists of PowerPoint lectures, short films and hands-on activities. First time encounters with a group of students often focus on basic facts about orangutans and their habitat. Our activities for very young students consist of primate-themed puppet shows and educational games, to get kids excited about orangutans and the natural world.
The wonders of the rainforest are something that one truly has to experience to appreciate, so we aim to incorporate as many field trips as possible into our repertoire of educational activities. School field trips to the Lubuk Baji campsite in the National Park, and other areas of environmental interest, such as the Peramas Hills near the GPOCP Environmental Education Center and the nearby mangrove forests, are an informative, popular and fun part of our environmental education program. Many of the participating students and teachers are from towns and villages where local forests have been cut down or degraded, and thus our field trips function as an opportunity for them to reconnect with nature.
This year we initated a series of "Rainforest Research" themed field trips, with the goal of teaching students the basics of scientific research. Over the two-day field trip, students get hands-on experience in plant identification, water testing, transect-based surveys for rainforest animals, and the observation of noctural fauna. Students are divided into groups, and at the end of the field trip they give presentations on their findings.
In 2015 we held a total of 9 field trips, including 5 inside Gunung Palung National Park, and 4 at our Bentangor Environmental Education Center. We reached a total of 212 students and teachers through these activities.
2.3 YOUTH GROUPS
GPOCP supports two environmental youth groups: TAJAM in the urban area of Ketapang, and REBONK for youth from the more rural areas in Kayong Utara Regency. Together, these two organizations have engaged approximately 200 youth over the past five years, teaching them the principles of conservation and getting them involved in special events (World Orangutan Day, Orangutan Caring Week). The groups include students from local junior and senior high schools as well as youth no longer in the formal education system. Some of their favorite events include street demonstrations to raise awareness for orangutan conservation and tree-planting activities in conjunction with local schools. Members of both TAJAM and REBONK also assist GPOCP staff with school visits and field trips. Over the past year, we have seen these groups develop in exciting ways. As a result of our long-term capacity building work, TAJAM members have begun independently planning and executing conservation activities, reaching out to their communities to raise awareness about orangutans conservation. Not to be outdone, REBONK youth have been working closely with the National Park office, representing their villages in the Park's own conservation activities. They have also begun working in our organic farming plots at Bentangor Environmental Education Center, with the agreement that the income they earn from selling their crops will help fund their outreach work and special activities.
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From top left: a) TAJAM youth oversee a coloring event that they planned for Orangutan Caring Week 2015; b) REBONK members after new member initiation; c) Volunteers in Sukadana hold an Orangutan Caring Week street demonstration, cleaning up trash along the way to raise awareness about environmental protection.
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GPOCP Environmental Education Manager, Mariamah Achmad, leads a village community discussion in Batu Mas village in the Tayap district of Ketapang.
2.4 ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION EXPEDITIONS
In June of this year, with the goal of bringing environmental education to communities in the more remote reaches of the GPNP landscape, we launched our Environmental Education Expeditions project. This year, the education team executed three expeditions, targeting students and adults in six villages in the districts of Nanga Tayap, Sungai Laur, and Sandai in Ketapang Regency. Each expedition consists of eight activities: two puppet shows, two in-class lectures, two village discussions, and two mobile cinema film showings, all focused on teaching participants about orangutans, their habitat, and other rainforest biodiversity. Through the 2015 expeditions, we reached approximately 2,600 people, most of whom had never received any environmental education previously. GPOCP's pre- and post- activity monitoring in elementary schools indicates that students' knowledge about primates increased 16% after our educational puppet shows, with at least 72% of the students knowing at least one fact about orangutans after the activity. Similar monitoring in junior and senior high schools shows that students' knowledge about orangutans and their conservation increased 40% after our classroom lectures, with 90% knowing at least one way to protect orangutans after the activity. Another benefit of this project is that our presence in these classrooms has also allowed us to collect more information on the threats facing orangutans; we were surprised to discover, for example, that at one junior high school that we visited, approximately 20% of the students had eaten an orangutan in the past. This is valuable knowledge that will help us tailor our conservation awareness campaign for that particular district.
This project has received rave reviews from both GPOCP staff, who feel that it is an effective and efficient method, and from participants. Because they are so remote and difficult to reach, any of the villages that we work in have received little attention from other NGOs, and GPOCP is happy to be able to bring them high-quality environmental education. In 2016, we intend to complete at least three more Environmental Education Expeditions, reaching another 2,500 participants.
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2.5 BORNEO ORANGUTAN CARING SCHOLARSHIPS
We initiated the Borneo Orangutan Caring Scholarship (BOCS) program in 2012 in partnership with the Orang Utan Republik Foundation and Orangutan Outreach. In conjunction with its sister program, the Sumatran Orangutan Caring Scholarship, the BOCS provides scholarships for students from underprivileged families to attend university, an opportunity which would otherwise be unattainable for many local students. GPOCP is the only orangutan conservation NGO in Borneo to administer this scholarship program, and thus it is a unique opportunity for students from Ketapang & Kayong Utara regencies to attend university and pursue their goals to become orangutan conservationists. The BOCS program has two main goals: 1) to foster an intellectual generation that has a commitment to orangutan and habitat conservation, and 2) to provide material support to young people of Ketapang & Kayong Utara who would otherwise be unable to continue their education at the university level. All recipients attend Tanjungpura University (UNTAN) in the provincial capital of Pontianak, and the BOCS covers university entrance fees, yearly tuition fees for four years, and research and thesis costs, a value of approximately $1,500 per student. Each student must maintain high grades and intern for one month a year at GPOCP, or another conservation organization in the area, for the duration of their studies. The recipients may choose any major they wish, but their research thesis must be related to orangutan or habitat conservation. This year we awarded five scholarships, bringing the total number of recipients since 2012 to 13 students. In December of 2015, we also held a two-day training course for the recipients in creating and managing conservation awareness campaigns, giving the students the opportunity to learn from GPOCP staff members, Mariamah Achmad and Cassie Freund, a representative from the conservation NGO Planet Indonesia, a Pontianak-based journalist, and an Indonesian PhD researcher interested in the connection between gender and environmental justice. We are looking forward to 2016, when our first class of recipients will finish their thesis research and graduate!
BOCS recipients, with GPOCP staff Mariamah Achmad (far right) and Cassie Freund (front center), after the 2015 conservation campaign training.
75 news articles published in print and online media
Over 3,000 orangutan conservation posters, stickers, calendars, and magazines distributed across the GPNP landscape
20 conservation- themed radio shows and commercials aired
7 mobile cinema showings attracting 1,590 people from villages around GPNP
6,550 Facebook followers across two accounts
197,400 Twitter impressions
By the Numbers:
2015 Conservation Awareness Milestones
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GPOCP produced and broadcasted a total of 20 environmental radio programs in 2015, reaching an estimated 400,000 listeners each month across the Gunung Palung landscape. The shows are interactive, often calling on special guests from local government and community organizations. This year we have focused on making our radio program more effective and structured, opting to focus on a monthly theme going forward. We tested this method in the last quarter of the year, discussing forest fires in October, climate change in November, and flooding as the rainy season began in December. To listen to a few of our radio clips (in Bahasa Indonesia), visit the Yayasan Palung Sound Cloud account here.
GPOCP’s Conservation Awareness campaign regularly reaches a wide audience throughout West Kalimantan, and in 2015 it continued to develop and grow. We employ a range of communication tools including articles and editorials published in online and print media, radio talk shows and commercials, mobile cinema film showings and social media. Our relentless campaign aims to raise awareness about the plight, and importance, of orangutans and their rainforest habitat, with the ultimate goal of nurturing stewardship of the environment among people living not only in Ketapang and Kayong Utara regencies, but also across Indonesia and the world. This year we also published a special issue of our Indonesian-language newsletter, MiaSd, to promote the conservation of all nine primate species that call GPNP home.
3. CONSERVATION AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
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GPOCP staff, Mariamah Achmad (front) and Desi Kurniawati (back), on air at Ketapang's radio station.
3.2 SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is an invaluable tool for conservation, allowing us to reach people concerned about orangutans and their rainforest habitat across Indonesia and around the world. GPOCP's social media following and reach has grown significantly over the past year. Our English-language Facebook page, under the name Gunung Palung Orangutan Project, has grown by 20% to 2,661 followers. Our Indonesian-language Yayasan Palung account now has 3,889 followers. Our Instagram page (@saveGPorangutans) has attracted over 5,000 followers in just over a year! We hope that by sharing images of our work in West Kalimantan we can get people across the world excited about protecting GPNP. All of our social media activity has helped raise GPOCP’s stature as an international orangutan conservation organization, and our posts, photos and tweets are routinely shared to a wide audience.
GPOCP published a total of 75 news articles in provincial and national print and online newspapers in 2015. Print newspapers which featured articles by GPOCP include the Pontianak Post, Tribun Pontianak, Kompas, Ketapang Business Magazine, and Suara Pemred. Our online publications appeared on the National Geographic Indonesia, Mongabay Indonesia, Kompiasana, and Pontianak Post websites. Our articles cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from reporting on GPOCP activities to editorials on environmental topics. We have been focusing especially on raising awareness about poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Combined, these media outlets allow us to reach an audience well beyond the local communities of Ketapang and Kayong Utara. We are thereby helping to raise awareness throughout the country and beyond about the global importance of environmental conservation, the specific threats to Kalimantan’s biodiversity and some of the actions that can be taken to address these threats.
In addition to the news articles that we write, the vast majority of which are in Bahasa Indonesia, we also produce a monthly English-language newsletter called Code RED. This email publication highlights important developments and happenings from both the research and conservation programs, offering our international supporters a look at what is happening on-the-ground in Indonesia. To join our email list, and receive issues of Code RED right to your inbox, visit our website at savegporangutans.org.
Finally, in 2015 we published a special issue of our our Indonesian-language magazine, called Media Informasi Pencinta Satwa (MIaS). This 20-page publication focused on the theme "Primates of Gunung Palung," and featured articles by every GPOCP staff member, plus our scholarship students and volunteers. We printed and distributed 1,000 copies to people living in the National Park buffer zone, as well as projeect stakeholders in the GPNP landscape.
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3.3 PRINT AND ONLINE MEDIA
Wild monther-juvenile orangutan pair, Salju and Saldo, relax high in the trees in Gunung Palung National Park.
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3.4 MOBILE CINEMA
Students in Sandai show their support for orangutan conservation at GPOCP's Orangutan Caring Week event.
This year, as we have in years past, we held a major special event to celebrate November's Orangutan Caring Week. This year we celebrated in Ketapang's Sandai district with a family fun day event. We kicked off the morning with group calisthenics (a popular activity in Indonesia!) followed by singing and puppet show performances by local school children. We also created a large handprint tree mural for people to show their commitment to orangutan conservation, and invited people to create and share their own campaign messages over social media, using the hashtag #Sandai4Orangutan. To learn more about this activity, read our Orangutan Caring Week blog post.
In 2015 our mobile cinema work was integrated into Environmental Education activities, specifically our Expeditions project. This has allowed us to consistently reach larger audiences, and synchronizing film screenings with educational activities to remote villages has increased our time- and cost-efficiency.
This year our mobile cinema project conducted 7 environmental film showings in village communities surrounding the National Park, with a total audience of over 1,590 people. Our most successful film showing was during our Orangutan Caring Week festivities in the Sandai district of Ketapang regency, with over 400 attendees. Film topics included threats to orangutans and their habitat, the significance of the ecosystem’s resources of Gunung Palung National Park to the surrounding communities, the experience of following orangutans in the jungle, the sustainable use of Non-Timber Forest Products and Customary Forests, and climate change.
Residents of the Sungai Laur district in Ketapang attend a mobile cinema activity. These evening events are open to all, and we attract an average of 220 viewers per film screening.
3.5 ORANGUTAN CARING
4. SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS
3 major demonstration plots at Bentangor Environmental Education Center: organic farming, aquaculture, seedling nursery
949 products sold by NTFP Artisan groups, totaling approximately $4000 in income
1 new NTFP Artisan group formed, bringing our total to 5 groups reaching 60 households
20 people from two high-logging villages trained in sustainable aquaculture (fish farming) techniques
By the Numbers:
2015 Sustainable Livelihoods Milestones
Economic opportunities for the communities living around GPNP are few. Most people farm, fish, and harvest forest products to gain income to support their families. However, as the population expands, natural resources are being stretched to their limits. For communities living on the border of the National Park, this often means that they must encroach into the protected area to find new agricultural land. If local people cannot make a living through legal economic activities, often they will turn to illegal, and environmentally destructive, methods - illegal logging and hunting inside of GPNP being chief examples. To combat these threats, for the past six years GPOCP has been building our Sustainable Livelihoods program, through which we strive to create and encourage “forest-friendly” economic opportunities among communities living in the Park buffer zone. We do this through a) promoting organic farming techniques, b) developing our four non-timber forest product (NTFP) artisan groups, and c) teaching people aquaculture, or fish farming, methods. In 2015, we made great strides in supporting alternative livelihoods around GPNP. In addition to gaining recognition locally, we also showcased and promoted our Sustainable Livelihoods program nationally, with trips to Jakarta and Papua, Indonesia, and internationally at the Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation (ZACC) Conference in Denver, Colorado (USA) in October.
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The main goal of our organic agriculture program is to provide local farmers with the technical support necessary to fully use the land that they already have, as opposed to continuing the destructive cycle of slash-and-burn farming, which leads to the deforestation of valuable orangutan habitat. In 2015 we continued to focus our efforts on farmers in Pampang Harapan village, where Bentagor Environmental Education Center is located. Illegal logging and land clearing in this village has decreased significantly over the past 5-10 years, but they remain one of the most challenging communities to work in. GPOCP takes a positive approach, encouraging these farmers to adopt more sustainable methods instead of forbidding destructive activities, and we are making steady progress.
We also held a series of organic agriculture trainings in other villages, teaching participants how to make organic fertilizer and pesticide, decreasing their monetary outputs while increasing the productivity of their land. In 2015, we trained approximately 60 local farmers in these methods, and intend to continue these efforts in 2016. Finally, we have involved our Kayong Utara-based youth group in organic farming, thus passing this knowledge onto the next generation, contributing to habitat conservation far into the future.
This year we also began focusing on aquaculture, or fish farming, as another alternative livelihood activity for the communities in the National Park buffer zone. This project currently focuses on two villages, Sejahtera and Pampang Harapan, in which forested land is routinely cleared for small-scale agriculture. A great selling point for this work is that, unlike other income-generating activities, establishing fish ponds requires very little up-front investment. With just a few boards, a tarp, and fish food, each of our 20 trainees have built fish ponds on their land and have started raising fish as an environmentally-friendly income source. In fact, our initial group of five trainees has already completed their first harvest of 100 fish each, and they plan to use the income to purchase 200 fry (baby fish), thus continuing the cycle. They have also reported that some of their neighbors are now interested in learning how to start their own fish farming business. We are optimistic that aquaculture will be a popular livelihood activity, and because fish is a staple of the Indonesian diet, there is consistent local demand for the product. This is important because farmers will not need to spend additional funds on marketing or transporting their product. Our trainees report that if they can consistently earn Rp. 2-3 million ($154-230) per month by selling fish, they can afford to stop clearing forested land for agriculture - a very attainable target.
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"Before, I didn't have any permanent work in the village, now I'm learning fish farming. I hope more of my community can have the success that I've had, it's an easy and practical method."
Pampang Harapan village
4.1 ORGANIC FARMING
4.3 NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCT ARTISAN GROUPS
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Left: Ibu Nur demonstrates how to weave forest materials into floor mats; Center: Customers crowd our NTFP booth at a local festival in Kayong Utara Regency; Right: Participants at the 4th Annual Craft Kalimantan Weaver Meeting, hosted by GPOCP
Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) are non-tree materials that can be sustainably harvested and made into food, tools and handicrafts that can be sold for a profit. This creates a need for forests to be protected in order to provide the raw materials for production. The direct linkage between forest conservation and this alternative livelihood activity reduces the risk that NTFP activities are simply carried out alongside the destructive practices that they are intended to stop and increases the potential of successful forest conservation. GPOCP supports NTFP artisan groups in four villages surrounding the National Park. This year, under the leadership of our artisan group leader, Ibu Ida, we have added a new group, bringing the total number to five and increasing membership to over 50 people. The new group, which consists mainly of young people, formed entirely organically and without any impetus from GPOCP. This is an encouraging example of community conservation in action and shows that our methods are replicable. Another success story from 2015 is that of Ibu Vina, a local woman from Sejahtera village and member of the new artisan group. She previously earned income from harvesting rocks and sand from inside of the National Park to sell to construction companies. However, she has now completely stopped that work and dedicates her time to weaving jewelry and tikar mats from readily available forest materials. This year our artisans sold 949 products, earning about $4,000 total, a significant increase from 2014's sales. This year, GPOCP also hosted the 4th annual Craft Kalimantan Weaver Meeting, attracting over 100 participants - a record! Finally, we have made great strides in marketing the NTFP products. GPCOP's products were showcased at seven local, national and international expos, including the Indigenous Fine Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the 2015 ZACC Conference in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the products traveling far and wide, some of our artisans have also been invited to train people in other parts of Indonesia, most notably Ibu Ida, who spent a week working with artisans in Papua, Indonesia in March.
Looking ahead to 2016, we hope to continue to expand all of our livelihoods work. We have also begun to integrate Sustainable Livelihoods into our Customary Forest Initiative to support effective forest conservation in the GPNP buffer zones.
By the Numbers:
2015 Wildlife Crime Monitoring & Investigation Milestones
5. WILDLIFE CRIME MONITORING & INVESTIGATION
13 cases of wildlife crime against orangutans reported to authorities, resulting in 8 rescues
Trade routes of 2 other endangered species (Sunda pangolin, hornbill) uncovered and reported to Indonesian conservation authorities
Over 120 field days spent monitoring and investigating orangutan trade across the Gunung Palung landscape
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Illegal poaching and trading of wildlife remains a major threat to biodiversity across Indonesia, including to Bornean orangutans. To combat this problem, since 2004 GPOCP has employed a strategy of monitoring and investigating wildlife crime. In collaboration with local authorities and citizens, our team of undercover field investigators tracks cases of wildlife crime, chiefly cases in which orangutans are being illegally held captive and/or traded on the black market. We work with the West Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Department (BKSDA), the Ketapang Police Department, and International Animal Rescue (IAR) to report wildlife crime and assist in rescuing orangutans when necessary.
In 2015, GPOCP’s Wildlife Crime Investigation team identified and reported 13 orangutans in need of rescue or translocation. Of these 13, eight individuals were rescued by the local government conservation authority (BKSDA). Five of these had been pushed out of their habitat during the forest fires in late 2015, with the remaining three rescued from homes in which they were being illegally kept as pets. As of this year, our Wildlife Crime Monitoring and Investigation project has been running for over 10 years, and to mark this milestone we focused on disseminating the lessons we have learned over the past decade. The investigative team also monitored known wildlife trafficking routes to better understand the orangutan trade, collecting information on other species at the same time.
5.2 SHARING RESULTS
In the course of our orangutan trade investigation work, we routinely discover illegal trade and trafficking of other wildlife species. In 2015, in addition to 13 orangutans in need of rescue, GPOCP investigators uncovered vital information about Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and hornbill (Buceros sp.) trafficking routes. GPNP is an important habitat for both of these animals, but the international demand for pangolin scales and meat, and hornbill casques, is driving poaching of these species. This year, our investigators collected information about trade routes for these animals in our region, including the identity of one of the middle men. This information was shared with conservation authorities in Pontianak (the capital of West Kalimantan province), and we hope that in 2016 there will be appropriate follow-up and legal action taken.
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Three of the cases uncovered by GPOCP investigators in 2015: A young baby orangutan kept as a pet in a local village (left); a sun bear chained at a farmer's house (top right); and a Bornean white-handed gibbon held as a pet in Ketapang city (bottom right).
This year we also focused on sharing and disseminating our results and lessons learned through the Wildlife Crime Monitoring and Investigation program from 2004-2014. Over the past 10 years, our investigators have discovered and reported 145 cases of illegally held orangutans, representing only a fraction of the number of orangutans taken from their habitat across Borneo and Sumatra during that time period. To support the continued fight against wildlife crime, in 2015 we released a report summarizing our 2004-2014 data and their implications, which was then shared with our local government and NGO partners. We are also aiming to publish a journal article about our program in a primatology or conservation journal in 2016. Finally, these data were presented at two international conferences in 2015; see section 8 for more information.
5.1 WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING INVESTIGATION
The conservation of forests in the National Park buffer zones and other areas surrounding GPNP is vital to protecting the National Park and to securing important natural resources for local communities. However, Indonesian law is reluctant to recognize traditional ownership of land, leaving community forests at continual risk of conversion to oil palm plantations, mining or timber concessions. GPOCP’s Customary Forest Initiative aims to protect these forests by supporting the legal transfer of management rights, under Indonesia’s Hutan Desa program, to those communities that have traditionally managed them. Facilitating the creation of local conservation areas around GPNP, that are sustainably used and managed by villagers, is a practical way to reduce encroachment rates into the Park and to conserve vital orangutan habitat in the wider landscape.
In 2014, GPOCP began the process of establishing two new Customary Forests in the villages of Padu Banjar and Penjalaan, both to the northwest of the National Park, work which we have continued in 2015. Our approach involves community training in customary forest management and regulations, technical assistance in preparing proposal submissions to the local government and facilitating meetings with forest authorities at the regency and provincial level. The Customary Forest legal process is long, complicated, and virtually impossible for villages to work through without assistance from an NGO, thus GPOCP is fulfilling a critical role in supporting local forest conservation.
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By the Numbers:
2015 Customary Forest Initiative Milestones
6. CUSTOMARY FOREST INITIATIVE
Expanded work from 2 target villages to 5, with all located to the north-west of GPNP
Proposed Hutan Desa areas encompass approximately 7,500 hectares of forested habitat
90 local leaders involved in conservation through Customary Forest Management Boards
7 capacity building and legal trainings held in each Customary Forest village to prepare and submit proposals
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Formal activities by GPOCP's Customary Forest Initiative in 2015. These were supplemented by routine communication and coordination between GPOCP staff and Customary Forest Management Boards, and many informal planning meetings with the village heads and other local leaders.
This year we have made progress in establishing two new Customary Forests (Hutan Desa) in the GPNP landscape. On recommendation from the Kayong Utara Bupati (Regency Head), we have expanded the program to include three new villages, bringing the total to five, and now over 90 local leaders are active in conservation through their involvement in their village Customary Forest Management Boards.
The project area in Padu Banjar spans 6,000 hectares. This area is disconnected from the National Park, but is home to a viable orangutan population. Aside from that, this forest patch supports five local villages, providing clean water, fresh air and access to NTFPs for the people living in the area. Twenty kilometers away stands the 1,500-hectare Penjalaan forest, a largely intact peat swamp forest directly adjacent to GPNP. Protecting this buffer zone is critical, as it likely serves as habitat for a portion of the Park’s orangutan population.
To advance our Hutan Desa proposals this year we held 7 formal meetings and trainings, each of which contributed to local capacity for effective forest protection. We do much of this work in conjunction with local government agencies, collaborating closely with the Kayong Utara Department of Forestry. We have also begun integrating Sustainable Livelihoods activities into the Customary Forest program, a proactive strategy to equip these villages with the skills to protect, instead of exploit, their Hutan Desa once they have secured management rights. Each of the five villages has been very receptive to our program, with positive responses from all involved.
Socialization of Hutan Desa process
Commitment from project villages to participate in program
Meeting to set legal structure and finish formal proposal documents
Customary Forest Management Board structure set, legal documents drafted compiled
Customary Forest Management Board meeting with five villages
Map of each village's forested area agreed upon by village leaders
Creation of Customary Forest management plan
Each village has a work plan for 2016 and beyond
Submission of legal documents to Kayong Utara Regency government
Proposals shared with all relevant government agencies
Organic farming training for Customary Forest villages
Project villages receive initial training in sustainable livelihoods
Audience with Bupati (regency head) of Kayong Utara
Regency government commits to support proposals
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2015, the 23rd year of our long-term orangutan research project, was another productive year at Cabang Panti Research Station. The research team logged 2,827 hours following wild orangutans, the equivalent of almost 118 days. We followed 29 individuals, and completed 280 separate follows. The team observed many changes in the Cabang Panti orangutan population, with one male returning after a long absence from the study site sporting new flanges, several new infants, and two young orangutans who have become more independent from their mothers, learning to make their own night nests and foraging more actively.
In 2015 we also welcomed Boston University PhD student, Andrea DiGiorgio, who began her field work on the nutritional properties of orangutan fallback foods. We also began a project on the ranging behavior of flanged males outside of the Cabang Panti research area, led by former BU undergrad and research volunteer Robert Rodriguez Suro. These research projects will greatly contribute to our ever-growing body of knowledge on orangutan ecology and behavior, and ultimately help inform orangutan conservation in and around GPNP. This year we also witnessed the birth, and then tragic loss, of orangutan Walimah's much-awaited first baby, an event documented by wildlife photojournalist Tim Laman for an episode of Nat Geo WILD's show, Mission Critical.
Finally, in collaboration with the Gunung Palung National Park Service, in 2015 we finished rebuilding the main structures at Cabang Panti Research Station, and the research team were able to move from tents back into the buildings. This has made our team more productive and efficient, and given them renewed motivation for their hard work in the field.
7. ORANGUTAN RESEARCH
2,827 follow- hours, the equivalent of 118 full days
280 individual follows: 31% on adult males, 62% on adult females, and 7% on juveniles
81% of follows were full-day (night nest to night nest)
316 urine and fecal samples collected for hormone/health analysis
110 new plant samples from 59 genera collected for nutritional analysis
15 outreach presentations given by researchers
By the Numbers:
2015 Research Milestones
7.1 ORANGUTAN NUTRITIONAL ECOLOGY
Flanged male orangutan, Balu, feeds on young leaves. Leaves are typically considered an orangutan fallback food, and Andrea DiGiorgio's research will help us better understand the nutritional properties of leaves and other secondary foods.
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Understanding the nutritional ecology of orangutans is critical to saving this species from extinction. By understanding what nutrients drive orangutan foraging and ultimately survival, we can select the best habitats for conservation initiatives and protect plant species to encourage orangutan survival and reproduction. Recent advances in nutritional ecology now allow us a more holistic and nutrient-driven understanding of what nutritional components orangutans strive to maximize and balance in their diet, and which components they may overeat to maintain a target level of other nutrients. Until now most orangutan nutritional research has focused on their preferred food sources, mainly fruit, with little attention paid to fallback foods such as leaves and bark. This is important because fallback foods can sustain Bornean orangutans during periods of low-fruit availability that can last up to seven months. To address this knowledge gap, in 2015, Boston University Graduate student, Andrea DiGiorgio, began her field work at the Cabang Panti Research Station, where she and her team have conducted 51 full-day orangutan follows and collected a total of 66 new food samples for analysis at the Laboratory of Nutritional Testing at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. Much of Andrea's sample collection was done by climbing trees, some up to 50 meters tall, to collect leaf, fruit, bark, and epiphyte samples that have not previously been analyzed for nutritional content. We eagerly await the results of Andrea's research, which will be applicable not only to the protection of wild orangutans, but also the rehabilitation process for animals currently being cared for at the numerous orangutan rehabilitation facilities across Indonesia.
Hummocks set up in the forest, although simple, are a comfortable camp for Robert and his field assistants. Photo © Robert Rodriguez Suro.
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7.2 MALE RANGING BEHAVIOR
Male orangutans have huge home ranges, so huge in fact, that researchers have had a difficult time definitively estimating their true size. Traditional research methods, which involve operating out of a base station located in the center of a research site, hiking out to the orangutan's nest location before dawn, following them for a full day until they make their night nest in the evening, and returning to camp afterwards to repeat the process the following day, preclude following orangutans when they nest at great distances from the base camp. Thus, the question of how far males range, information which is vital to this species' conservation, remains largely unanswered. With that in mind, since September 2015, researcher and photographer Robert Rodriguez Suro, and research assistant Evan Sloan, have been carrying out a project at Cabang Panti Research Station titled The Lives of Orangutans: Mapping Male Orangutans’ Daily Lives and Ranging Patterns through the use of Longer Term Follows. Robert is a former Boston University student and research volunteer for our project, and his research is supported by a National Geographic Young Explorer's Grant. This project seeks to improve our understanding of male orangutan ranging patterns by following male orangutans in areas of Gunung Palung National Park that have historically been under-sampled for orangutan ranging data due to the logistical difficulties of accessing these areas. By equipping themselves with enough food and gear to remain in the field for multiple days without the need to return to a base station, Robert and his team can expand the study area to zones outside the main research transects, and have extended the data collection period from the standard five days to ten. Thus far they have collected approximately 540 hours of data. The study is ongoing until August 2016, but preliminary observations show a reduction in daily path length and a reduction in the utilization of overall home-range area compared to previous years, perhaps related to low fruit availability. These results can be used by the National Park Service to help inform their conservation management plan, and will extend our understanding of flanged male orangutan behavior.
7.3 WALIMAH'S LOSS
Left: Walimah as an infant in 2000; Right: Walimah as a new mother with her own infant in 2015. Photos © Tim Laman.
Walimah, the longest-followed female orangutan in our research population, gave birth to her first offspring in March of 2015 (to learn more about Walimah's story, visit Dr. Cheryl Knott's Nat Geo PROOF blog). Her pregnancy and birth were long-awaited events and provided us with a great opportunity to learn more about hormonal and behavioral changes during orangutan pregnancy. Unfortunately, Walimah was involved in a tragic incident soon after the birth of her baby, resulting in the loss of the infant and a serious injury to her foot. This was devastating news to the research team.
However, this event also raises serious and interesting scientific questions about what may have happened to Walimah. Orangutan infant deaths are extremely rare. In fact, in the over 30-year history of the Cabang Panti Research Station we’ve never documented even one infant death before this. Other orangutan research sites have similarly low rates of infant mortality. Compared to chimpanzees and gorillas, the survival rate of infant orangutans is remarkable. But, it also makes sense. Since orangutans only give birth once every 6 to 9 years, high rates of infant loss could not be sustained. Thus, the loss of an infant orangutan was something that our research team had never faced before.
We’ll never know for sure what happened to Walimah’s baby and what caused her injury, but the juxtaposition of her severe injury with the loss of her infant points to a singular cause - but what? The largest predator in Borneo is the medium-sized clouded leopard. Then there is the sun bear, the smallest bear in the world, who can sometimes attack people when surprised or provoked. But the evidence for either of these species to be the culprit doesn't match up with what we would expect from a cat or bear attack. We also considered the worst possibility of all: that this injury was human-induced. We found small comfort in the fact that her injury didn’t match the slice that a parang, or other weapon, would deliver, and the knowledge that humans who intend to take baby orangutans always kill the mother to get them.
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Who, then, is the only animal known to frequently injure orangutans? The answer is other orangutans. Thus, this may be the first documented case of a likely infanticide in wild orangutans. Infanticide, the intentional killing of an infant, is relatively rare, but does occur with some frequency in many primate species. Evidence for infanticide was first documented in langurs from India, where it was discovered that infanticide occurred only in specific situations – when an incoming male took over a rival male’s group of females. After the takeover, these males would often kill any lactating offspring. Although abhorrent by human standards, this represents a valid male reproductive strategy. Because of the suppressive effect of lactation on female reproductive functioning, killing a female’s infant means that she will start cycling again sooner, and thus the new male will be able to father his own offspring much sooner than he would otherwise. In addition, this act decreases the reproductive success of his competitor. Infanticide has now been observed in at least 62 species of primates and in many other animals.
Orangutans exhibit certain features that would seemingly select for infanticide, including long inter-birth intervals with longs periods of lactation, and a semi-solitary existence that increases their vulnerability to predators. However, up until now, no infanticidal attack has been documented in the wild. Our research program has also discovered that females seem to engage in behaviors that indicate that infanticide is a potential risk. One example of this, is that newly pregnant females seek out matings with multiple males. When such “post-conceptive’ matings occur, as they do sometimes in other species, they are interpreted as a strategy by the female to try and confuse paternity.
While we can’t say for sure what happened to Walimah, our best guess is that she was attacked by a male orangutan who killed her infant and, in the process of fighting him off, he bit and severed part of her foot. The fact that within weeks of her injury she was seen consorting and eventually mating with a male supports our hypothesis that this is evidence for infanticide as a male reproductive strategy.
This latest and very sad chapter in Walimah’s life shows us that, yet again, there is so much about the lives of wild orangutans that we are only beginning to understand. Her wound has fully healed and she now gets along amazingly well as evidenced by the acrobatic display shown on the front cover of this report. We can only hope that the next chapter in her life will be a happier one.
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Walimah tends to her injury. She has recovered remarkably well and is able to move through the trees easily. Photo © Tim Laman.
Although the majority of our work takes place in the field in Indonesia, we strive to raise awareness about the plight of Bornean orangutans on the international stage. We do this by giving public presentations about our program, and through the media. This year, GPOCP directors participated in four conferences. Executive Director, Dr. Cheryl Knott, and her husband, Dr. Tim Laman, were the keynote speakers at Woodland Park Zoo's 2015 Thrive fundraiser in January, and in March, Dr. Knott spoke at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) meeting in St. Louis, MO. Her talk, titled Infant Carrying in Wild Orangutans - Implications for Human Evolution, incorporated data from our long-term research project in GPNP. In June, Program Director, Cassie Freund, presented a paper called Ten Years of Orangutan Wildlife Crime Investigation: Lessons Learned and the Outlook for Bornean Orangutans at the International Conference on Rainforest Ecology, Diversity, and Conservation in Sabah, Malaysia. She presented this same talk at the ZACC Conference in Colorado in October, where Dr. Knott was part of a panel on conservation commerce.
GPOCP also participated in this year's #RainforestLive event, a 24-hour social media blitz during which 14 rainforest conservation organizations shared live updates and photos from the field, with the goal of raising awareness about the amazing biodiversity of tropical forest ecosystems. This year's #RainforestLive was the most successful ever, and we are already looking forward to next year's event.
Finally, we are happy to announce that in 2015, GPOCP became a member of the UN Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), a global initiative committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia. We are honored to become a partner and excited to contribute to this excellent organization.
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8. 2015: A MILESTONE YEAR
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8.1 CELEBRATING OVER 30 YEARS OF RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION IN GPNP AT GP30+
This year, 2015, marked a special year, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Cabang Panti Research Station in the National Park. In honor of this occasion, the GPOCP team planned a two-day research and conservation symposium and week-long visit to Cabang Panti. Over the past three decades, over 150 foreign and Indonesian researchers have done field work at Cabang Panti, and these researchers have been supported by many Indonesian academic institutions and government agencies. GP30+ was the perfect way to bring all of these people together to share research results, as well as to relive great memories and make new connections! The main event was a two-day Symposium, held on August 6-7th at the Mahkota Kayong Hotel in Sukadana, featuring presentations from 15 invited speakers. The Symposium, was attended by over 100 people, including current and former researchers and field assistants, local government officials, and area conservation organizations.
The Symposium opened with welcome speeches from both the Bupati (district head) of Kayong Utara regency and Pak Dadang Wardhana, the head of the Gunung Palung National Park Bureau. These opening remarks were followed by a keynote presentation by Dr. Mark Leighton, the founder of the Cabang Panti Research Site. He shared the history of the station, from the very first research trip, before Gunung Palung was an official National Park, to what it has become today. Everyone, even our Indonesian guests who aren't fluent in English, had a great time looking at his old photos and listening to the stories about the early days of research at Cabang Panti. It was amazing to hear his speech and see how much progress has been made over the past 30 years! The morning session on August 6th closed with a series of presentations about orangutan research in GPNP, with talks by Dr. Cheryl Knott, Wahyu Susanto (Research Director of Yayasan Palung), Andrea DiGiorgio (Ph.D. student, Boston University), and Taufiq Purnama (Indonesian Institute of Sciences). Dr. Knott discussed the history and major research achievements of the Gunung Palung Orangutan Project and the other speakers presented their more specific research findings.
The second session of the day focused on ecological research. Presenters included Dr. Andrew Marshall (Director of the Gibbon and Read Leaf Monkey Project, University of Michigan), Dr. Campbell Webb (Yayasan ASRI), Pak Riyandi (Tanjungpura University), Pak Kobayashi (Indonesia/Japan-REDD+ Project), and Edward Tang (former research assistant and Environmental Education Coordinator of Yayasan Palung). The presentations were highly varied, touching on topics including the ecology of mangrove forests, sink and source animal habitats, the phenology and productivity of the Gunung Palung rainforest, and the avian diversity of the National Park. Together these presentations highlighted the importance of the entire suite of research topics that have been addressed at Cabang Panti over the past 30 years.
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Left: Past and present Gunung Palung researchers (from left) Dr. Dan Gavin, Dr. Cam Webb, Dr. Mark Leighton, Dr. Tim Laman, Dr. Andy Marshall, Dr. Cheryl Knott, and Andrea Johnson, pose with National Park head Pak Dadang Wardhana. Right: GP30+ participants explore GPOCP's Bentangor Environmental Education Center, situated in the GPNP buffer zone.
To share the GP30+ celebration with the local community, on the evening of August 6th we hosted a gathering, open to the public, at Datok Beach in Sukadana. The event opened with performances by two traditional, musical groups from Tanjung Gunung, which is the village that anyone hiking into Cabang Panti passes through. This was their first public performance, and the crowd very much enjoyed the music. After the entertainment, the audience was treated to a slideshow presentation by National Geographic photographer, Dr. Tim Laman. For nearly an hour, Tim shared photos and stories about the biodiversity of Gunung Palung with the crowd of over 200 people. The photos that he shared highlighted the beauty of this rainforest ecosystem, allowing people to see the National Park through fresh eyes, and, hopefully, inspiring them to protect this valuable resource.
The second day of the Symposium, August 7th, focused on the conservation work being done in and around GPNP. Presentations were given by Cassie Freund (Program Director, GPOCP/Yayasan Palung, Etty Rahmawati (Yayasan ASRI), Budi Sempurna (GPNP Service), Yoshikura (Indonesia/Japan-REDD+ Project), and Juanisa Andiani (International Animal Rescue). These talks showcased the range of conservation work being done in the GP landscape, including environmental education, promoting sustainable livelihoods, and mitigating human-orangutan conflict. Symposium participants were then invited to GPOCP's Bentangor Environmental Education Center in Pampang Harapan village for a tour of our field trip facilities and to watch a demonstration by our NTFP artisans. GPOCP staff led field trips, the artisans taught participants how to make baskets and jewelry, and our guests even had a chance to support rainforest conservation by purchasing some traditional handicrafts!
Following the two day Symposium, we were thrilled to have many of the conference participants come visit the research station - some for the first time and some after more than 20 years away. Among our special guests were Yayasan Palung Board Members, Dr. Barita Manullang and Pak Darmawan Liswanto (FFI). We also were very honored to have Dr. Dadan Kusnandar, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at UNTAN and new Yayasan Palung Board Member, and UNTAN Docent, Pak Riyandi, join us, along with Dr. Wendy Erb from Rutgers University. It was a homecoming for many former researchers, including study site founder, Dr. Mark Leighton (Harvard University), Dr. Lisa Curran (Stanford University) and her Indonesian counterpart, Dessy Rasel Ratnasari (Simpur Hutan), Dr. Dan Gavin (University of Oregon) and Andrea Johnson (EIA). Numerous current researchers, National Park staff, and GPOCP staff were also in attendance.
One of the highlights of the week was a "Habitat Walk" by Dr. Mark Leighton. As Mark explained during his keynote address at the symposium, he chose this location to establish the research site because of its incredible habitat diversity. In just a few hours one can traverse peat swamp, freshwater swamp, alluvial bench, lowland sandstone, lowland granite, upland granite and montane habitats. This means that from this one location researchers can study the unique animal and plant diversity that each habitat contains and do comparative studies. The importance of Cabang Panti's habitat diversity to advancing our knowledge of tropical rainforest ecology was a theme picked up by many of the symposium speakers, and was thus of particular interest to the post-conference field trip participants. Mark explained how each habitat was formed, what made it unique, how to identify it and which animals and plants were found there. Many of these habitats, such as the alluvial bench forest, are endangered in Southeast Asia because they have been turned into areas of human settlement.
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GP30+ participants who made the trek to Cabang Panti Research Station pose for a group photo.
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The week was filled with incredibly lucky animal sightings by our visitors. Dr. Wendy Erb, orangutan researcher at Tuanan Research station in Central Kalimantan, went searching for orangutans alone on her first day at the station, found and nested an orangutan, and saw a sun bear on the walk home in the dark! Dan Gavin, who came to Cabang Panti as a Dartmouth undergrad 22 years ago, had a great view of our dominant male orangutan, Codet, the only sighting of him that entire month. To top it off, on the last night of the week-long visit, many participants went on a short night walk close to camp, and were lucky enough to see a binturong, spotted by Dr. Cheryl Knott.
Other special events included an evening bonfire on the beach with stories from Cabang Panti lore told all around, long hikes through the forest (including a grueling 4.5-kilometer hike up to the top of Mount Palung), catching up with old friends, solidifying new research collaborations, and, of course, jumping into the crystal-clear rivers and and waterfalls around camp. It was a week full of many happy smiles, sweaty hugs and the creation of new memories. We look forward to another 30 years of orangutan research at Cabang Panti!
Left: Past and current researchers, field assistants, and other special guests who attended the post-symposium trip to gather around the bonfire for a story-telling evening; Right: The beauty of the pristine rainforest in Cabang Panti Research Station, illuminated by the cascading afternoon light. Photographs © Tim Laman.
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8.2 RECOGNIZING OUR DEDICATED STAFF
GPOCP would not be successful without the endless work and dedication of our conservation and research field staff. They spend long rainy days in the field taking orangutan data, regularly meet with communities and government leaders, present in front of thousands of students each year, and do the dangerous work of investigating wildlife crime in the field. We simply could not do our orangutan and habitat conservation work without them. This year, in 2015, we added several new team members, and sadly also had to say goodbye to Pak Jainudin, who passed away in early September. Pak Udin (top photographs) was a local farmer-turned-conservationist who had been involved with GPOCP for over 15 years, most recently as our Organic Farming Assistant Field Officer. His friendship and hard work in the field will not be forgotten.
A LOOK AHEAD: OUR GOALS FOR 2016
WILDLIFE CRIME MONITORING & INVESTIGATION
Continued investigation of orangutan-related wildlife crime
Lobby for illegally held gibbons to be rescued
Active approach in law enforcement, working closely with partners to push for legal action
More targeted farming and aquaculture training in high-logging villages
Artisans will be featured at the national Sail Karimata Festival
Integration of livelihoods work into Customary Forest Initiative, to support effective forest conservation
Application of new non-invasive techniques for studying orangutan health
Completion of new population survey in GPNP
Application of new spatial analysis methods to understand orangutan habtitat use
Continue Environmental Education Expeditions project
6 new BOCS scholarship recipients
Goal of reaching over 4,500 students through in-class activities, field trips, and volunteer youth groups
CONSERVATION AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
Collaboration with International Animal Rescue on radio shows
Larger presence in news media, especially provincial newspapers
Focus on evaluating conservation impact of the program's activities
CUSTOMARY FOREST INITIATIVE
Obtain final approval for proposed protection areas in Padu Banjar and Penjalaan
Build capacity for forest and organizational management among Customary Forest Management Boards
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Flanged male orangutan, Prabu, sporting new injuries from male-male competition, looks out over the rainforest of Gunung Palung National Park. Photo © Tim Laman.
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Dr. Cheryl Knott, Executive Director
Cassie Freund, Program Director Sofyan Embik, Financial Director
Wahyu Susanto, Research Director
Kat Scott, Research Manager
Muhammad Rusda Yakin, Assistant Research Manager
Agus Trianto, Botanical Assistant
Rebecca Ingram, Research Assistant
Harissan, Field Assistant
Hardianto, Field Assistant
Maryadi, Field Assistant
Suharto, Field Assistant
Andi Abdul Sabta Pelari, Field Assistant
Akauliang, Field Assistant
Caitlin O'Connell, Graduate Student Researcher
Andrea DiGiorgio, Graduate Student Researcher
Amy Scott, Graduate Student Researcher
Robert Rodriguez Suro, Researcher
Mariamah Achmad, Environmental Education Manager
Edward Tang, Environmental Education Coordinator
Ranti Naruri, Environmental Education Field Officer
Petrus Kanisius, Environmental Education Field Officer
Hajeral, Environmental Education Assistant Field Officer
F. Wendy Tamariska, Sustainable Livelihoods Manager
Sy. Abdul Samad, Sustainable Livelihoods Field Officer
Asbani, Sustainable Livelihoods Field Officer
Edi Rahman, Animal and Habitat Protection Manager
Desi Kurniawati, Customary Forest Legal Coordinator
M. Rizal, Investigation Field Officer
Suryandi, Office Manager
Risya Rejita, Administrative Assistant
Rudy, Office Guard
Special thanks to Balai Taman Nasional-Gunung Palung, who facilitate our research in the National Park, and our research counterparts at UNTAN.
GPOCP BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Cheryl Knott, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program and Gunung Palung Orangutan Project; Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Boston University
Secretary: Elizabeth Yaap, M.Sc., Co-founder, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program
Treasurer: Sonya Kahlenberg, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE)
YAYASAN PALUNG GOVERNING BOARD
Cheryl Knott, Ph.D., Executive Director, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program and Gunung Palung Orangutan Project; Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Boston University
Elizabeth Yaap, M.Sc., Co-founder, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program
Barita O. Manullang, Ph.D.
Darmawan Liswanto, Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
Sri. Suci Utami Atmoko, Ph.D., Professor, Indonesia National University (UNAS)
Andrew Marshall, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Dedi Darnaedy, Ph.D., Indonesian Institute of Sciences
Jito Sugardjito, Ph.D., Director of International Cooperation, Indonesia National University (UNAS)
Dadan Kusnandar, Ph.D., Tanjungpura University (UNTAN)
Yudo Sudarto, Ketapang Culture and Tourism Bureau
Ismet Siswadi, Ketapang Department of Education
Adi Mulia Ketapang Department of Forestry
Yohanes Terang, Laman Satong Village
Diah Permata Hildi, National Handicrafts Association - Kayong Utara
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GPOCP BOARD MEMBERS
OUR 2015 DONORS and SPONSORS
We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all our donors in 2015: Arcus Foundation; AZA Conservation Endowment Fund; Conservation, Food and Health Foundation; Disney Conservation Fund; Leakey Foundation; Nacey-Maggioncalda Foundation; National Geographic Society; National Science Foundation; Orangutan Outreach; Orang Utan Republik Foundation; Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund; US Fish and Wildlife Service – Great Ape Conservation Fund; Phoenix Zoo; Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens Conservation Fund; Seneca Park Zoo; Wenner-Gren Foundation; Woodland Park Zoo – Partners for Wildlife; and our patrons and donors. We could not do our work without you!
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Schwab Charitable Fund
RIchard & Audrey Bribiescas
Robert & Ann Freund
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Nacey Maggioncalda Foundation
The Fetterman Sambrook Family
Noemi Rosa and Kapil Dhingra
Buffy Redsecker and Alan Chung
OUR 2015 DONORS and SPONSORS