Stories from Scientists
To tree or not to tree? – The fight to protect primary forests versus the creation of new forest habitats
By Jessie Panazzolo
Conservation efforts in the past have always gone to protecting the remaining fragments of precious primary forest, and it’s warranted as these patches of remaining forest land are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the entire world, but that is just the thing, they are just patches. What makes up more of a sparse area is agricultural land such as oil palm and rubber tree plantations, with forests disappearing every day to make more room for this economy driven land use. Now days, when the Sumatran elephant walks along its migration pathways travelled by ancestors before them, they end up trampling through plantations, destroying food and rubber crops as they pass through. Disapproving agricultural workers end up poisoning 20-30 elephants per year who enter these plantations, diminishing numbers of what is already one of the world’s most critically endangered species.
How Kusasi's cheek pads made him 'King' at Camp Leakey
by Graham Banes, Ph.D
I can only imagine what Tanjung Puting was like in 1978, a decade before I was born. Today, this National Park in Indonesian Borneo is a bustling tourist attraction, with dozens – sometimes hundreds – of visitors sailing hours upriver on motorized longboats, or kelotoks, before hauling themselves out into the jungle. They come to see the orang-utans, and largely at Camp Leakey, a former reintroduction and rehabilitation site for these endangered primates. It is, in many senses, spoiled by decades of exploitation – not least by these abundant Western tourists, many of whom take little notice of the rules that are there to protect all apes, both human and orange. On August 22nd 1978, however, the Camp was not overrun with Westerners. On that day, there was only one.