Campaign manager: Ismail Pong
Lead Partner: Sumatran Orangutan Society
Gunung Leuser National Park is a conglomeration of several smaller nature reserves and forests covering 950,000 hectares of land. Because of its size, the national park consists of a variety of habitats, including mountainous terrain, swamps, beach forests, lowland rainforest and alpine forest. The variety allows for enormous diversity within the park which contains nearly 8,500 plant species and 700 animal species, including the endangered two-horned Sumatran rhinoceros. Gunung Leuser National Park is also one of the last refuges for the Sumatran Orangutan which are estimated to number only 7,000 in the wild.
Like many other national parks, its habitats are threatened by human activity. One of the biggest threats to this particular national park is deforestation to make way for agriculture and plantations, namely palm oil and rubber tree. In a pre-campaign survey nearly 40% of the local farmers at 4 target villages had not considered applying agro-forestry techniques in their land and only 2% of farmers had been applying agro-forestry techniques.
Ismil Pong of the Sumatran Orangutan Society launched a Pride conservation campaign aimed at preserving forest habitat in the Besitang Forest. Ismil has been working with over 100 farmers in multiple villages throughout the area, creating demonstration gardens to engage and introduce local farmers to sustainable agricultural practices such as crops that can be grown in the shade and don’t require clearing the forest. Along with these efforts, Ismil has been implementing an extensive social marketing campaign to build local pride to protect the areas unique biodiversity. Using the Sumatran Orangutan as its campaign mascot, the campaign has garnered support from local musicians, religious leaders and other local stakeholders and promoted the importance of the forest through concerts, sermons, radio programs and events throughout the region.