The Orangutan Caring Scholarships (OCS) program was established by the Orangutan Republik Foundation in 2006. The program awards talented and needy Indonesian students with tuition funding enabling them to attend postgraduate programs in Forestry, Biology and Veterinary Studies. The main goal of the OCS is to enhance the long-term survival of the Sumatran orangutan through the development of a cadre of university graduates that are knowledgeable and sympathetic to the plight of the species and who will act in positions of responsibility and authority once they have completed their academic program. The Orangutan Repulik Foundation received $5,000 to pay for two Veterinary Studies scholarships.
Bukit Tigapuluh School Food Program
The key objective of this sustainable community development initiative is to improve the living standards of an Indigenous Talang Mamak community by incentivising education through offering nutritious meals to students who attend classes. Increasing the participation rate of children receiving an education and improving the children’s ability to focus on their learning by having a nourishing meal, is a sustainable way to reduce poverty and improve economic growth for the community. The secondary objective of the project is to build a future educated workforce to provide better opportunities of employment for the Talang Mamak community, increasing their potential for earnings and lifting them out of poverty. Employment opportunities will reduce the desire to engage in illegal logging or the illegal wildlife trade, helping to protect critically endangered wildlife but also providing a more sustainable future for this impoverished community.
The Talang Mamak are a non-nomadic Indigenous community of about 8,000 people. They live solely in the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape – the last remaining area of large contiguous dry lowland forest in Sumatra, which comprises an extremely rich and unique ecosystem and high biodiversity, including critically endangered Sumatran tigers and orangutans. While mostly a hunting and gathering society, the agricultural activities of the Talang Mamak consists of subsistence swiddens – a low technology form of agriculture with low yields. Due to their low income, some members of the community participate in illegal logging, clearing their traditional village forests for short-term income. Doing so puts at risk the long-term economic sustainability and health of the community, but also contributes to the deforestation of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape.
This proposal is seeking financial assistance to educate and feed the children of the Talang Mamak community, which lives on the fringe of the Wildlife Conservation International Ltd’s Ecosystem Restoration Concession block in Jambi, Sumatra. The Orangutan Project received $4,547.29 to employ two staff (for one year) who will shop, store and prepare the food for the school children.
In 2019, we partnered with the Orang-Utan Republic Foundation for a crowdfunding campaign to plant trees in Sumatra through the OURF’s Mobile Education and Conservation Unit Program. We raised $295! Thank you to everyone who donated and promoted the campaign.
In 2019, we partnered with the Orang-Utan Republic Foundation for a crowdfunding campaign to provide a scholarship to a woman in Indonesia to become an orangutan conservationist. We raised $1153 – more than enough to support tuition fees for two years! Thank you to everyone who donated and promoted the campaign.
The Bukit Tigapuluh (BTP) Landscape encompasses one of the largest remaining lowland forest in Sumatra, Indonesia. The area is home to critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers and the Sumatran elephant. There are many threats to this valuable landscape, including illegal logging, illegal farming, mining and poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
The Ecosystem Monitoring Unit is a sub-unit under the Wildlife Protection Units in BTP. Its role includes wildlife monitoring using cameras traps and foot patrols, with a focus on Sumatran tigers and tiger prey species. The Unit also collects information for police and forest policy investigations into illegal activities. As at December 2018, there were 29 camera trap stations on known tiger trails within the southern buffer zone of BTP (there are currently not enough camera traps available to cover the entire area). The Unit’s tiger database contains 189 records of tigers that can be clearly identified based on their stripe patterns. The snaring of wildlife is still a problem in one specific area where the photos are showing injuries in the front legs of tigers. This information informs the Wildlife Protection units to increase activity in that area to detect snares and identify the responsible poachers.
The Wildlife Guardian Fund members of 2019 voted to donate $5,000 to the International Tiger Project to contribute to paying salaries for the rangers for foot patrols to increase the protection of Sumatran tigers and other critically endangered wildlife in BTP.
Orangutan Caring Scholarships contribute to the tuition fees for young women to enter programs of biology, forestry and veterinary science in North Sumatra, West Borneo and Acehnese colleges and universities. Each scholarship is for four years and is valued at AUD$2,000. The scholarships address the barriers faced by women to access higher education, particularly in the field of science. The opportunity to gain a higher education advances gender equality, including empowering women to access a better income and to contribute to decision-making about their local environment. Without the scholarships, many women would not have the opportunity to further their education.
The scholarships establish a group of community leaders who are knowledgeable and sympathetic to the conservation of orangutans and their forest habitat. The scholarships build capacity of young scientists and contribute to sustainable development. The Orang Utan Republik Foundation delivers the scholarships with NGO partners OIC and YP. The scholarship awardees provide outreach programs to grade school students helping young Indonesians to learn about local environmental issues that impact on their communities and empower young people to contribute to improving their local environment. Men are also eligible to apply for the scholarships.
The Wildlife Guardian Fund members of 2018 voted to donate $2,000 for an Orangutan Caring Scholarship.
A previous awardee of the Orangutan Caring Scholarship (supported by The Orangutan Project and the Orang Utan Republik Foundation)