Bukit Tigapuluh Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection

To protect the wildlife and habitat of the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem in Indonesia


The ecosystem of Bukit Tigapuluh is rich in biodiversity with the representation of highly threatened flagship species such as Sumatran tiger, elephant and tapir, and is the site of a reintroduction programme for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. The programme is endorsed by the Indonesian Government. The ecosystem has been threatened by logging, forest fires and clearing of the land for farming. The protection of wildlife and the ecosystem through the funding local wildlife protection units, community education, infrastructure to support these programmes, development of alternative industry and government negotiation, liaison and advocacy has been vital for the success of habitat protection.


The goals of the project include advocacy, representation and programmes to protect the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem. Programmes include:


  • the successful Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project reintroduction programme
  • the protection of habitat and wildlife by wildlife protection units
  • habitat and wildlife monitoring and research
  • community development programmes and local employment that complements the conservation of biodiversity


Bukit Tigapuluh National Park and its surrounding areas in the province of Jambi make up a unique area of Sumatra with rich biodiversity. A reintroduction programme initiated by Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) for ex-pet and orphaned Sumatran orangutans has been operating in the area since 2003. In a world first, a Perth Zoo born and bred Sumatran orangutan was successfully released at Bukit Tigapuluh as part of this programme in 2006 to help boost the numbers and genetic diversity of the reintroduced population. A second Perth Zoo born orangutan was released in 2011.


A coalition of partners, which include FZS, Australian Orangutan Project, Perth Zoo and other Australian and New Zealand zoos (Australia Zoo, Auckland Zoo, Taronga Conservation Society and Dreamworld), fund various  projects in Bukit Tigapuluh. These include wildlife protection units, the release programme for orangutans, sanctuaries for the intensive management of orangutans prior to release, research projects, infrastructure, elephant–human conflict mitigation projects and community education programmes for local people.


All programmes train and employ local people and support local community involvement. This involves cooperation and written agreements with the Indonesian Government at the local government (Bupati), provincial and national levels. The outcomes achieved to date include:


  • development of Wildlife Protection Units within the ecosystem minimising encroachment into the protected areas of the park and protecting some 150,000-200,000 ha
  • the establishment and operation of Mobile Education Units that work with villagers in the immediate areas of the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem and build awareness of the importance of the protection of the wildlife and ecosystem
  • construction of infrastructure to support the ongoing operations and presence of the orangutan re-introduction programme (the largest employer in the area) as well as the wildlife protection units and researchers.
  • the introduction of 139 Sumatran orangutans (as at 2011) into the ecosystem creating the only alternate population of orangutan outside of Sumatra's Aceh Province
  • the construction of an open orangutan sanctuary that supports the orangutan reintroduction programme as well as providing training for local people, creating an additional presence in the ecosystem that deters illegal activities, protecting the biodiversity and wildlife of the ecosystem and creating additional local employment
  • infrastructure upgrades including road works and bridges within the protected areas to enable the patrols to occur and maintain presence of wildlife patrols within the ecosystem
  • wildlife surveys to build understanding of the extent of wildlife within the ecosystem including a specific research programme on elephants in the ecosystem and elephant conflict management


The broader programme employs over 80 local people as staff in the wildlife patrols; as technicians working with wildlife in sanctuaries and in monitoring wildlife; as educators; and as support staff.


WAZA Conservation Project 10001 is implemented by Frankfurt Zoological Society, Perth Zoo, Australian Orangutan Project and the Ministry of Forestry, Republic of Indonesia.


Visit www.perthzoo.wa.gov.au.


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