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Conservation project will protect over 200,000 acres of rainforest habitat in Indonesia for Sumatran Tigers, Orangutans and Elephants.
WARRENTON, Va., March 31, 2015
Rainforest Trust, a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving threatened land and endangered species, has announced its 2015 Earth Day campaign, which will focus on conserving threatened rainforest in central Sumatra.
Working with local Sumatran partner Yayasan Konservasi Ekosistem Hutan Sumatera, Rainforest Trust will create three protected areas, totaling 200,396 acres that will conserve lowland rainforest habitat for critically endangered Sumatran tigers, orangutans and elephants.
| Sumatran Elephants
© Vincent Poulissen
To celebrate Earth Day’s 45th anniversary on April 22, Rainforest Trust plans to raise $85,000 to protect the first 25,000 acres of the reserve. Thanks to an anonymous pledge, all donations made for this reserve will be matched. In central Sumatra, one acre can be protected for only $3.41.
“Time is quickly running out for Sumatra’s threatened wildlife,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, Rainforest Trust CEO. “We want to energize people on Earth Day by offering a very real, yet inexpensive option to protect tigers, elephants, and other endangered species.”
Half of Sumatra’s forest cover was destroyed between 1985 and 2008 due to logging and the rapid expansion of paper, rubber and palm oil plantations. Despite instituting a moratorium on new logging contracts in 2010, Indonesia’s forests have continued to disappear. By 2012, deforestation rates outpaced even those of Brazil. Today, only 25 percent of the island’s original forest remains intact.
As a result, much of the island’s fabled biodiversity is now endangered. Most notably, its endemic species – orangutans, tigers and elephants – face extinction in the near future if not protected.
Rainforest Trust’s project will take place in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem, which contains one of Sumatra’s most important intact forests. The area is home to 30 Sumatran tigers. With only 400 still alive in the wild, protecting this population is critical to saving the species. Due to its strategic importance, the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape was declared a “Global Priority Tiger Conservation Landscape” by leading tiger scientists in 2006.
The area is also home to one of the last intact forests in Sumatra large enough to support elephant populations. It’s estimated that two herds – roughly 150 – of these critically endangered Sumatran elephants inhabit the region.
In addition, 175 orangutans, many of them rescued from the illegal pet trade and successfully reintroduced into the wild, dwell in the forest. Other endangered species in the area include Sun bears, Clouded Leopards, Agile Gibbons, Malayan Tapirs, and Leopard Cats.
To donate or learn more about this project, visit https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/urgent-appeals/sumatra/.
About Rainforest Trust
Rainforest Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization focused on saving rainforest and endangered species in partnership with local conservation leaders and indigenous communities. Since its founding in 1988, Rainforest Trust has saved nearly 8 million acres of rainforest and other tropical habitats and has 85 projects across 22 countries.
Marc Ford, Rainforest Trust