Illegal wildlife trade

Orangutan protection
Illegal wildlife trade is a threat to many endangered species worldwide. It is also part of interrelated factors seriously threatening orangutans in Sumatra.

Our initiative

Since it’s outset, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme has supported GAKKUM Sumatra (the Department of Environmental Law Enforcement, Sumatra) and the Indonesian Nature Conservation Authorities (KSDAE) to mitigate the impact of illegal trade on orangutans in Sumatra, particularly in Aceh. We also collaborate with the Government of Aceh at the provincial and district levels and the Forestry Management Units (KPH).

Help for the orangutans

Orangutans illegally kept as pets in Indonesia and those en route to being smuggled outside the country are confiscated by Indonesian Nature Conservation Authorities. The authorities bring orangutans to a centre for rehabilitation, one of which is the SOCP Quarantine and Rehabilitation Centre at Sibolangit, near Medan, where they can begin their rehabilitation journey towards a life in the wild once again. To date, the SOCP has admitted over 400 orangutans to our Centre and released over 300 individuals back to the wild across two highly protected forest areas, namely Jantho Natural Reserve in Aceh and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi. Despite orangutans being a CITES Appendix I species and trade of orangutans being prohibited under Indonesian law, cases continue to come to light, and we continually receive new arrivals at the Quarantine and Rehabilitation Centre.   

Orangutan Krismon was kept in a cage for years. When he came to the quarantine and rehabilitation centre, he first had to learn to eat species-appropriate food again, had to build up muscles and to learn to behave like an orangutan.

Our new project

PanEco is delighted to be receiving support from Defra’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to undertake a new, collaborative initiative aimed at addressing illegal wildlife trade in Aceh. In October 2021, we launched, together with GAKKUM Sumatera, local authorities and local partners including Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, Yayasan HAkA and Orangutan Information Centre the project ‘Protecting megafauna through on-the-ground, legislative and enforcement strengthening in Aceh’. The project will focus protecting orangutans and elephants in the Ulu Masen and Leuser Ecosystems where rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans co-exist in the wild. Our project will enhance the Acehnese provincial legislative framework, and agency-level capacity for effective application of IWT laws. Furthermore, we will increase presence of on-the-ground protection teams to tackle IWT across the Leuser and Ulu Masen Ecosystems, while fostering Acehnese Community-led and traditional wildlife protection. We’re really excited to be undertaking this collaborative initiative and look forward to sharing our achievements as the project unfolds.

In the end of february 2022, the organization HAkA organised the Bu-Moe Festival in Aceh, where local artists and the public came together to raise awareness about illegal trade in species through an artistic approach. (Source: HAkA)
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