It’s very important that the people living in and around forest ecosystems are empowered to protect their local environment to provide clean air, water and earth and to sustain forests, rivers and oceans. Protecting and restoring all these elements is vital for community development and stability.
The Orangutan Project supports a number of mobile education programs in Kalimantan and Sumatra that deliver practical education and training to local people living in or near forest ecosystems about sustainable living practices as well as the protected status of the orangutan and the need to conserve and celebrate this Critically Endangered species.
Many people view orangutans as ‘agricultural pests’ and human-orangutan conflicts often occur in areas where natural orangutan habitat has been encroached upon for agricultural purposes. Sadly, orangutans are often injured or even killed in these conflicts. Education teams carry out education, awareness, community development and capacity building of local communities and stakeholders, targeting the main motives and drivers for human-orangutan conflict, with the aim to reduce these incidents. Mobile education teams often visit local schools and farmers in particular to discuss the importance of protecting orangutan habitat.
Empowering local people with the knowledge and resources to live more sustainably is also a key objective of the education teams. Training and workshops regarding low environmental impact agro-forestry and mixed tree cultures are an important step in the long-term protection of forests whilst also providing a sustainable living for local communities.