Saving Bangkaru's species from extinction on Treasure island
- Organization: Ecosystem Impact Foundation
- Category: Animals
- Location: Indonesia, Bangkaru
- Duration: 365 days
Bangkaru is internationally recognised as being the largest green turtle nesting site in Western Indonesia, along with being an important nesting site for leatherback sea turtles. Bangkaru remains one of the only islands in Indonesia to be visited by turtles every night of the year, with between five and 20 turtles visiting its beaches ever night.
Having never been subject to development or permanent human habitation, Bangkaru maintains 6,500 ha of uninhabited, intact primary old growth rainforest and is therefore one of the largest remaining primary-rainforest islands in Indonesia. Bangkaru’s biodiversity remains intact to levels incomparable within the region. Due to its isolation and location within the Sundaland biodiversity hotspot, Bangkaru island is home to high levels of endemic, endangered and critically endangered species which are affected by illegal and unsustainable trade. The Bangkaru Ranger Programme’s objective is to protect Bangkaru’s biodiversity through ranger patrols, monitoring, law enforcement, education and community engagement.
Project Background and Justification
Until 2016, there was mixture of poacher groups targeting Bangkaru focusing on either turtle eggs, birds, or a mixture of the two. With Bangkaru now being protected by EcosystemImpact’s Bangkaru Ranger Project, and after the successful arrest of a poaching group on Bangkaru in 2016, there has been no recorded poaching events since 2016. The Bangkaru Ranger Programme has been running for over 20 years and its success has been a long hard-fought battle. When asked about how the Bangkaru Ranger programme has developed and successfully reduced poaching on Bangkaru Uzhar, Bangkaru’s Ranger Coordinator, stated:
‘I have been with the programme for 13 years. Originally with Yayasan PulaunBanyak who started the programme, and now with EcosystemImpact… 25 poachers were on the shore and two people chased us with a machete. We almost retreated but decided to stand our ground, also holding a machete. They saw that their machetes were smaller than ours and they retreated. The next day when we returned to the beach, all of the turtle eggs were gone. Not one was left on the beach. We had this experience every day for 4 years. Every night we met poachers. People hated us - the new rangers. But every time we went home we would report the poaching information back to the head of the Foundation and to BKSDA and the police. In the end, in 2016 BKSDA and the police had a law enforcement operation and poachers were arrested. This was not easy for BKSDA and the police, and we congratulate them for it. Since then, our work has been so much easier.'
Rangers on the mission
Focus Species and Project Goals for Their Protection
The goal of the project is to protect Bangkaru’s biodiversity through ranger patrols, monitoring, law enforcement, education and socialisation. Bangkaru is home to Nias hill myna, silvery pigeon, Barusan shama, oriental magpie robin, green and leatherback turtles; all species recognised by either IUCN, ASAP or/and ASTSG as Endangered or Critically Endangered. All will be protected by the ranger patrols and ranger presence. Scientific data will be collected by the rangers to monitor species numbers and conservation success.
We plan to share the results of our research and monitoring with you in the project news.
EcosystemImpact carries out environmental educations sessions within local communities to build awareness of conservation issues and poaching and reduce supply and demand. As part of the project, EcosystemImpact runs the Local Ranger community involvement project. The project element provides an immersive experience and salary for local community members to build positive conservation ethic through engaging in the project. The Local Ranger scheme is one of the elements of the Bangkaru Ranger Project that EcosystemImpact is most proud. It has led to very real positive changes in the way local communities act towards bird and turtle species and conservation issues. Local rangers spend 15 days on Bangkaru participating in all ranger activities.
Outcome and Impact
As many taxa across Southeast Asia go extinct or slip into regional or local extinction due to the habitat destruction, hunting and egg poaching for turtles, this project works to secure the survival-in-the-wild of the project's focus bird and turtle species. The dominant outcome of the project is the securing one of Indonesia's most important turtle nesting sites, along with protecting an island which is large and pristine enough to hold genetically viable populations of Nia hill myna, silvery pigeon and white-rumped / Barusan shama and therefore safeguard these species from extinction.
Over a year period the project will:
- Save 1,960 green and leatherback turtle nests
- Make sure 78,400 green and leatherback sea turtle hatchlings reach the ocean
- Save 3 critically endangered birds from extinction
- Protection of one of Indonesia's last 100% primary rainforest islands
Thank you for reading and we look forward to you becoming a part of our project. Together We Heal Our Planet
Photos by: Paul Hilton & Alex Westover
As project manager, Muhlis oversees the projects operations and the ranger team.
A local resident of Bangkaru's closest community, Muhddin has been with the project for 4 years.
FitriEnvironmental Education Officer
Fitri is from neighboring Simeulue Island and is currently doing an online teaching degree.
Wiza is one of Aceh province and Indonesia's top conservationists. She provides project guidance and advice.
Rafi has been with the project for 6 years now and is from Haloban Village.
EcosystemImpact's finance manager, Hermawati manages all the projects accounting and HR.
Irwan is one of the senior rangers and has been with the project for over 10 years.
LukeCEO and Founder
Luke is from New Zealand but has been working in conservation in Indonesia for over 10 years.
Originally from New Zealand, Jane has been working in sustainability and conservation in Indonesia for the last 16 years
Philanthropists have not yet supported the project
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