One of the projects that we are funding is the purchase and conservation of the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest in Indonesian Kalimantan (Borneo). Rawa Kuno is home to some of the last endangered Orangutans on the planet. The ancient rainforests on the island of Borneo are 130 million years old (70 million years older than the Amazon rainforest) and support some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet. So far WE HAVE SAVED 128 ACRES OF THE RAWA KUNO!
Sadly, these forests suffer from extreme deforestation due to logging for hardwood/paper products, the demand for palm oil, and anthropogenic fires. Indonesia is the worlds number one supplier of plywood, and is also a major source of palm oil. It is estimated that almost 80% of the nation’s wood supply comes from illegal logging. After the forest is cleared, large palm plantations are planted in its place. Several studies have found that converting the forest to a palm monoculture leads to an 80-90% reduction in biodiversity. Extensive draining of the swampy forest has also caused peat-lands to dry out, leading to massive wildfires. The conservation of Borneo’s ecosystems cannot wait. Unless we do something, within the next ten years, almost ALL of the forest will be gone…
Below is a satellite image of southern Borneo near the city of Pangkalanbuun (airplane icon). Green is forest and red is recent deforestation. The large green area on the upper part of the peninsula is the 1,600 square mile Tanjung Puting National Park which is home to about 4,000 of the last 45,000 Bornean Orangutans and just to the right is the adjacent 247 sq. mi. Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve, which is currently the world’s largest REDD project and probably supports about 600 Orangutans as well. Scientists believe that in order to be stable for many generations a primate population needs to have at least 500 breeding individuals, so these areas are extremely important for the long term survival of the Orangutan. The large green area to the left of the airplane icon is the 208 sq. mi. Lamandau Wildlife Reserve which is a site where Orangutan Foundation International releases many of their rehabilitated Orangutans into the wild. The medium-sized rectangle of green southwest of the airplane icon just above a large swath of red is the 12.5 sq. mi. Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest. It is very important to protect the Rawa Kuno forest before it is destroyed, so we can eventually reunite its wild Orangutan population with the Orangutans in the larger Lamandau and Tanjung Puting reserves by creating a series of biological corridors. Recently, Orangutan Foundation International was able to purchase the entire Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest! We are also attempting to purchase surrounding forest plots to make the Rawa Kuno larger, including Rawa Kubu and Bakau, which would make the whole reserve around 20 sq. mi. This forest is estimated to be home to 50-200 wild Orangutans and can be used as a new Orangutan release site.
THE RAWA KUNO HAS BEEN PURCHASED AND PROTECTED AND ITS INHABITANTS ARE NOW SAFE!
An indigenous Dayak tribal elder has recently decided to sell his family’s 6,400 acres of forest, sparking the interest of developers, loggers, and palm oil plantations. He has agreed to temporarily set the land aside so that conservationists will have a chance to purchase it — but time is running out. This Rawa Kuno Legacy forest is a biodiversity hotspot, with many different biomes present, including ancient peat swamp forest, dry ground forest, brush forest, swamps and lakes. It is also contiguous with other rainforest fragments that harbor wild orangutan populations, including the Lamandau Nature Reserve and the 1,600 square mile Tanjung Puting National Park, making it a perfect habitat corridor for orangutans and other wildlife. The land is home to a variety of amazing animals, such as some of the last wild orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, rusa deer, macaque monkeys, proboscis monkeys, and gibbons. Some of these animals are found nowhere else in the entire world! The forest is also an extremely important carbon sink and its extensive peat holds thousands of metric tons of carbon. In order to preserve the entire area, conservationists raised $640,000, or about $100 dollars per acre. The whole forest has been saved, and since the campaign worked so well, other tribal elders are offering to sell their land for conservation as well, including the nearby Rawa Kubu and Bakau forests. This forest area is an extremely important ecosystem, especially for the last struggling populations of wild orangutans and it needs your help! Please consider sponsoring RRC’s dedicated bike riders, and help us protect this forest, the Orangutans and all of its other amazing inhabitants. Thank You!
Here is a video of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, which is adjacent to the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest. This will give you an idea of what Rawa Kuno looks like.
-Baby Orangutan (endangered)
-Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa diardi) vulnerable
Sun Bear (vulnerable)
Bornean Slow Loris (Nycticebus menagensis) vulnerable
Horsfield’s Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus) vulnerable
Malayan Pangolin (Manis javanica) endangered