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Tree planting for orangutans continues despite elephant migration

SOS tree planterHelen Buckland, UK director of the Sumantran Orangutan Society, reports that the organization has now planted thousands of tree seedlings in damaged orangutan habitat in North Sumatra. "We have also been training local people in the Besitang region to manage organic tree nurseries, growing indigenous seedlings to plant in damaged areas of land within the Gunung Leuser National Park," she said in a recent e-mail.

"We're already seeing some really exciting results," Buckland added. "Our team has reported evidence of lots of wildlife starting to return to the restored areas of forest—not just orangutans but also siamangs, white-handed gibbons, leopard cats and many endangered and critically endangered bird species too."

One small setback occurred when a herd of wild elephants passed through the replanting site on their migration route, but the planting was able to continue once the elephants had moved on. "And the silver lining is that elephant dung makes an excellent natural fertilizer for the newly planted seedlings!" Buckland said.

In the coming year, SOS plans to expand their work to a new part of the Leuser forests, Ketambe in the Aceh province of Sumatra.

SOS works with communities living on the edge the edge of these forests and Buckland reports that the local people have sprung into action to save their forests, embracing the restoration work, and pledging to protect the park from further encroachment.

To learn more about SOS, please click here.

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