Over the past 10 months, Sarah, our Community Development Manager; and Joe, our web designer, have been working with a new organisation in Sumatra, Seed of Change Expeditions (www.seedofchangeexpeditions.org)
The Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra is home to Tigers, Rhinos, Elephants and Orangutans, as well as a number of our partners including ISCP (Indonesian Species Conservation Project), Stay Wild, Bukit Lawang Trust, and Sapo Zuma Zuma School.
It is a biodiversity hotspot, home to an estimated 10,000 different plant species, almost 600 bird species, 200 mammal species and close to 100 species of amphibians and reptiles, many of which are endemic: found only there! Seed of Change Expeditions is a locally created organisation which aims to teach visitors from around the world about the wonders of this unique ecosystem, inspiring people everywhere to become champions of the rainforest, support wildlife and enable local communities to thrive.
Throughout the lockdowns, Sarah and Joe, along with Shamanthi Jayawardena, a Marketing Expert who has volunteered her time, have worked with Ruddy and the Seed of Change team to create their designs, logos, and brand, setting up a business plan with health and safety protocols including Covid tracing, and done the amazing job of designing and building the website.
Our goal is to support the development of Seed of Change Expeditions. The local team running the trekking have been working on conservation projects in the local area for a number of years, and have been able to incorporate these ideas in their programmes. Their plan is to create a positive impact on the jungle, wildlife, and jungle communities around Batu Katak; making a lasting contribution to the jungle; helping to rebuild the rainforest (they plan to plant 1000 trees a year!!!!); and supporting local people and tourists to gain a better understanding of the jungle and how to protect it. We will, in time run a specially designed programme with the guides including: ranger activities, customer services, first aid and health and safety to continue their development.
Safe practices are important to us, and them. They are ensuring they’re treks follow the UNESCO Safe Practices guide (https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000187099), and encourage visitors to learn about local culture, creating the safest, most enjoyable environments, not only for their guests but for the animals too!!!
Not only that, but they’re working towards Sustainable Development Goals, providing personal and professional development skills that local guides and employees can use to support their communities; and offering local experiences that provide an income to people within the community. They are encouraging visitors to connect with others to create a change through their Community Eco Trek Club.
Partners at Stay Wild are also providing support by loaning camera traps to monitor wildlife, and visitors will have the opportunity to connect with programmes and other projects within the area, allowing visiting children to experience even more of this amazing environment and inspiring young people to take joy in nature and the natural wonders of the world!
A Happy New Year to you all. As we welcome in the new year, we’re going to take a moment to look back at 2020.
It’s certainly been a year of ups and downs, from heart breaking losses, to amazing shows of support and community. Despite everything, we have achieved so much this year, with your help.
Our biggest announcement this year was the heart-breaking announcement of Piggy’s passing in May. Despite the amazing hard work of his vets, and the determination of Tod and friends, Piggy lost his fight with cancer, but his work continues, and the work that the team at DAD has been able to achieve this year shows just how much Piggy’s spirit of determination lives on.
The effects of COVID-19 have undoubtedly had a significant impact on our projects this year with many of our plans temporarily postponed and many others focusing mostly on fighting the effects of the virus.
RAPAD-Maroc, in Morocco was one of our new partnerships at the beginning of the year, focusing on re-building and reclaiming habitats for wildlife, including the building of wells to supply water to animals and communities alike, but as the pandemic hit, they launched their ‘Street Shepherds’ Campaign, caring for all the newly abandoned farm and domestic animals on the streets of Morocco. With the hundreds of dogs, sheep, donkeys and other animals they were caring for, they even made it into local media. They truly are superheroes!
The team at ISCP- Indonesian Species Conservation Program, in Sumatra have been incredibly busy this year. They really hit the ground running as, unfortunately the year started with horrendous forest fires in the rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo. It was a dramatic start to the year but definitely had a happy ending as the slow loris’s the team rescued were successfully rehabilitated and safely released back into the wild.
This was just the start of their rescue, rehab and release for the year with approximately 30 slow loris being released this year, and their total nearing 100 slow loris, over 1000 songbirds and raptors, as well as gibbons, leopard cats, macaques, binturongs, sun bears and other wildlife. Rudi’s team at ISCP, have even championed International Slow Loris Day on September 13th this year.
Not only have they been working hard on their slow loris rescue, but back in February, the generosity of IFAW allowed them to expand and help save sun bears from the illegal wildlife trade too, and we were able follow the story of one little sun bear on his path to rehabilitation.
Later in the year, they were able to expand again and a gibbon enclosure joined the Conservation Program with two Siamang Gibbons being rehabilitated at the rescue centre.
ISCP has suffered their own set-backs this year, with their director, founder and leader being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma in November, but with your generosity on Giving Tuesday, and the dedication of the team, they have continued their hard work, as they did through the summer: delivering care packages of bags of rice, hand sanitiser, pet food, soap and face masks.
While they’ve been restricted in their operations for the most of the year, our partners in Brazil, Protectors Without Borders, started the year off with a natural disaster of their own, as their region was deluged in constant storms and flooding. Not only were they caring for a lot more animals, but also continuing to campaign to pass the first humane laws in the region. They’ve had a busy year, there’s always animals that need help, including these adorable pups.
Along with RAPAD-Maroc, another new partnership early this year were the amazing community rangers of the Rafiki Wildlife Foundation, in Tanzania. Whilst their operations were hit quite hard through the summer, as the year progressed, they were able to re-commence their patrols, with the hope of limiting the human/ wildlife conflict in the Burunge Wildlife Management Area.
Another of our partners we’ve seen a lot of this year is the wonderful Ismael and his rescue centre in Tanzania. Your amazing generosity towards Piggy’s Birthday Fundraiser in November has allowed the shelter to expand, building new kennels in order to rescue more of the stray pups off of the streets. New pups receive medical treatment and are looked after at this wonderful shelter until they can be adopted.
We can’t look back on the year without mentioning the global pandemic a bit. So many of our partners have been unable to operate. Schools and education programs around the world have been at a standstill, including many of our partners in Indonesia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and others. Our project in Madagascar has had to be postponed, though we did see an amazing presentation in May, given by Dr. Tara Clarke on Madagascar, the Vanishing 8th Continent.
Our project in Madagascar is Saving Madagascar Together: Community Youth Environmental Program. The program will use the Youth Rangers program, and has been selected to teach environmental conservation and animal welfare topics for students and community members whose overall interaction with their ecosystem, conservation and natural forest is somewhat limited. But that’s something to look forward to.
Instead we’ve asked you to come together this year and help our partners to adapt and overcome the severe complications that the pandemic has thrown at them. Your generosity in our COVID Campaign not only helped ISCP in Sumatra, Ismael and the Rangers in Tanzania but also our seamstresses in the US making masks for all!
But we started and end the year with exciting news on our Youth Ranger’s Program. Way back in January, we launched our very first campaign of the year. Our community developer, Sarah, went to Sumatra to work with schools, NGO’s, Rangers, and communities from all over Indonesia.
She taught her Youth Ranger program to hundreds of teachers and students and at the beginning of March we were able to see some of the effects of this. Stay Wild in Sumatra continued to teach the program and we were able to report the joyous celebrations as the children graduated from phase 1, well on their way to becoming defenders of their rainforest home.
Sarah has continued to work hard on the program, and not only is phase 3 ready to roll, but, thanks to honour we had in February of becoming full constituent members of the UN Stakeholder Group for Education and Academia, she was able to talk at the 4th annual African Animal Welfare Conference. The conference provides a platform for different organisations, like us, who are animal welfare stakeholders in Africa to discuss developments in, and hopefully encourage further development and planning to realise animal welfare.
Following on from her amazing presentation, and after a lot of talks, we were delighted to announce, just a few weeks ago that we are now developing the Guardians of the Forest, Youth Ranger Program for new partners in Zimbabwe and Kenya!
Overall, despite the hardships this year has thrown at us, we really have achieved a lot worldwide. None of our work would be possible without your generous support and we are looking forward to an exciting New Year.