Monday, May 24, 2010

We have landed!

Our team has landed in Indonesia and they are sending updates as they can. We wanted to take a minute to introduce you to them and the goals and objectives of this trip.

Tracey Gazibara - Vice President
Dina Brendahl - Animal Care Manager
Mandy Hollingsworth - Primate World Keeper

Also on the trip are Carol Sodaro of Brookfield Zoo, Stephanie Braccini of St. Louis Zoo, and Joel Gazibara.

Trip Goal: To become the authority on Palm Oil and any other major threats affecting orangutans and their habitat by obtaining the latest and most accurate information in the field.

Trip Objective 1: Ground truth the Palm oil crisis in Borneo near areas with known orangutan populations.
- Fly to Kota Kinabalu and meet with palm oil and conservation agencies. (Isabelle from Red Ape Encounters to help facilitate)
- Fly to Sukau to see the Sepliok orangutan rehabilitation facility
- Meet with personal at WWF that are doing work in the area
-Meet with personal from the Borneo Conservation Trust
-Conduct interviews with palm oil plantation owners
-Fly to Ketapang where we will meet with staff at the National Park office.
-In Ketapang we will meet with staff from Flora and Fauna International to discuss their role in the palm oil crisis. Will also speak with other community leaders regarding the crisis.
- We will visit Gunung Palung National Park and possibly see orangutans in the wild.
- Within the Gunung Palung National park we will visit Lubuk Baji—a camp for kids that involves environmental education

Trip Objective 2: Ground truth the Palm oil crisis in Sumatra near areas with known orangutan populations.
- Fly to Medan and meet with Musim Mas, a RSPO certified sustainable plantation and mill
- Visit Batu Mbelin and visit with Ian Singleton at SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program)
- Visit Gunung Leuser National Park and see a new reforestation project in the park. The park is also one of the last strongholds of wild orangutans in Sumatra

Trip Objective 3: Research possible solutions for the threats facing orangutans
-Interview (see questions below) Mark and Isabelle in Sukau regarding the work they are doing in this area and see first hand
--Who would be responsible for creating corridors
--Who can ‘fight’ for corridor enforcement in court
--Replanting/reforestation to create new corridors
--Protection (law AND patrolling) of corridor areas
--Visit Gunung Leuser National Park and see project first hand
--Visit Samboja Lestari and see project first hand

Trip Objective 4: Understand how the palm oil crisis is affecting the indigenous people and look for ways to help

-Sustainable handicrafts
--In Sumatra stay at Bukit Lawang at an ecolodge and learn about their ecotourism projects
--In Sukau our accomendations will be a homestay through Red Ape Encounters. RAE is a community based ecotourism/homestay project

Trip Objective 5: Build a media library to help with our awarness campaign upon our return.
-At every location visited, take pictures and video of palm oil plantations, forests after logging, reforestation projects, palm oil factories, orangutan habitat, and orangutan rehabilitation projects.

We will also be sharing the experience and forming partnerships with other AZA facilities - Brookfield Zoo and St. Louis Zoo.

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