The Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) recently worked together with personnel from Aceh's forestry authority to evacuate a 20 year old female orangutan who had become isolated in a rubber plantation owned by a resident of Suka Makmur Village in Subulussalam.
The orangutan, named Sukma because she was found in Suka Makmur, was examined and found to be healthy enough to be translocated straight away. She was taken to the Singkil Rawa reserve, one of the most important areas of forest in terms of Sumatran orangutan population size.
The HOCRU programme maintains a list of sites with known populations of isolated orangutans that are monitored on a regular basis, so orangutans are only translocated when it is deemed unsafe for them to remain where they are. The team maintains open lines of communication with farmers, plantation owners and local residents and conducts ongoing assessments of the threat level to each known individual or small population. In Sukma's case, local residents felt that it was problematic for her to remain in the rubber plantation with little other tree cover around, so to avoid conflict, the team translocated her. Conservation endeavours cannot succeed without the engagement of those communities who live side-by-side with wildlife. The presence of the HOCRU teams in landscapes where human-orangutan conflict is prevalent, or at risk of becoming so, is vital to ensure people’s concerns are heard, and solutions created together.
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