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The Bornean rainforest is under great pressure

The Indonesian government owns all forests on Borneo, and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry assigns status to forests depending on how valuable they find them. If the forest area is home to many rare animal and plant species, it may be recognised as an area of high conservation value. Save the Orangutan supports efforts to conserve more forest areas, and we support the patrolling of protected forests to prevent illegal deforestation and forest fires.

Securing the future of 2,500 orangutans in Mawas

Back in 2013, Save the Orangutan’s local partner BOS Foundation succeeded in having a rainforest area twice the size of London recognised as an area of high conservation value. Mawas, as the area is called, is located in the centre of Borneo and is home to more than 2,500 wild orangutans, who are now able to live in freedom in a protected forest area. However, forest degradation and deforestation affects all areas around Mawas. Save the Orangutan therefore works to empower the villages in Mawas and disencourage them from allowing the illegal logging industry to gain a foothold in their area.

Video: What is Mawas, and how do we protect the forest?

A change in attitude

Save the Orangutan operates through its local partner and other environmental organisations to effect a change in attitude in the Indonesian government in regard to the rainforest. Since the United Nations’ 2007 Climate Summit in Bali, Indonesia has become more aware of its own CO2 emissions. Part of these emissions are the result of burning peat forests to convert the land to plantations.

Patrolling and combatting illegal logging

Although the Ministry of Environment and Forestry may recognise an area to be of high conservation value, it unfortunately does not mean the area is protected from logging or other illegal activities. Up to 90 percent of deforestation on Borneo is carried out illegally. Save the Orangutan therefore supports patrolling of the protected rainforest areas. Moreover, we work to develop sustainable livelihoods for the local communities who are often attracted to the fast money related to the illegal industries.

Patrolling against forest and peat fires

Forest and peat fires pose a major threat to the rainforest and thus the orangutans. Save the Orangutan supports the organisation of volunteer fire patrols among the villages in the forest. This allows them to patrol their areas to prevent and combat forest and peat fires. Save the Orangutan also supports the establishment of wells to use in firefighting and the procurement of the tools necessary in the patrols.