With a kick start from the orang utan conservation NGO Hutan, villagers are being trained as research assistants and rangers helping to promote low impact tourism in the areas of the forest that have been gazetted as wild life sanctuaries. There are ten designated sanctuaries but each is isolated from the other by hundreds of hectares of oil palm plantation. (see map) This isolation is severely limiting the breeding capabilities of flagship species such as orang utan and pygmy elephant which are in danger of extinction over the next thirty years due to inbreeding and further habitat depletion.
ISB's role is to assist the villagers in creating corridors of rainforest linking the sanctuaries. To this end the school has actioned its community into a recycling and awareness raising programme that has generated sufficient funding to re plant and maintain one hectare of rainforest which will cost almost U$5000.
ISB achieved this target in eleven months through collecting and selling recyclable plastic, aluminium and paper as well awareness raising T shirt and eco calendar sales and donations from a variety of groups within the school community.
In June 06 a small group of IB Diploma CAS students undertook the long trek to Kinabatangan to stake out the ISB hectare and plant the first trees. ( see photo) During the trek to the site the group had to take a boat detour to avoid the attentions of a bull elephant in must. Ironically newly planted forest has to be protected from the elephant herds which can trample saplings planted in the regions of 'elephant highways'; the villagers together with the elephant conservation unit have undertaken responsibility for this.
ISB intends sending more groups of students to assist in the planting of 1200 trees. The 'ISB hectare' represents the first small step in what is a huge conservation project and it is hoped that other schools, institutions and donors will be able to follow the ISB lead in this very worthwhile project for Borneo.
US$5000 is used to pay the villagers to collect the seedlings from the forest, nurture them in nurseries, preparing the hectare for planting, planting the saplings and protecting them from elephants, either through patrols or the maintenance of an elephant proof fence.
ISB has a Memorandum of Understanding with Red Ape Encounters that ensures that trees are planted in areas which are protected against logging and other human activities.
In Summary, the aims of this project are to:
- Provide the local people with a source of income directly
a.through the planting programme
b. indirectly through enhancing the potential for eco tourism.
Sustain the bio diversity of the area
Support the Kinabatangan Orang utan Conservation Project
Provide opportunities for young people world wide to become involved with and contribute to the project
Your institution can be involved by:
- Funding a tree with name tag for US$6
- Funding groups of trees in multiples of 10 with name pole for US$50 per group
- Funding a hectare of 1200 trees for US$5000 with four plaques as illustrated in the photo. It is also possible to fund half and quarter hectare on a pro rata basis.
- Visiting the site and planting trees combined with orang utan spotting (not guaranteed) proboscis monkey spotting (guaranteed) and much more if requested. Quotations upon request.
ISB visits the site regularly and will validate the planting and provide contributors with photos and updates for publication in their newsletters.
All funds go directly to the project â€“ nothing is deducted for administration etc. ISB benefits by having its students and teachers actively involved with the project.