Action Indonesia GSMPs:
Anoa, Babirusa, Banteng and Sumatran Tiger

The Action Indonesia Global Species Management Plans (GSMPs) set out the management for four threatened Indonesian taxa: anoa (Bubalus depressicornis and Bubalus quarlesi), banteng (Bos javanicus), babirusa (Babyrousa sp.) and Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae). These GSMPs use the One Plan Approach to combine the skills, resources and expertise of both the zoo community and in situ practitioners. The goals of these GSMPs are:

  • To reach a demographically and genetically healthy global ex situ population
  • To raise awareness among zoo visitors
  • To use zoo expertise to help in situ conservation
  • To prioritise and support in situ projects

The anoa, banteng and babirusa GSMPS were founded in 2015 by the Indonesian Zoo and Aquarium Association (PKBSI), Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) and the Asian Wild Cattle and Wild Pig Specialist Groups. In March 2016, they were approved and endorsed by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KKHSG) and WAZA. They have since developed into a strong global alliance with over 50 partner institutions including zoos, NGOs, governments and universities. 

The Sumatran tiger GSMP is WAZA’s longest running GSMP, started in 2008 with the additional partners of the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA) and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). The ungulate GSMPs work together with the Sumatran tiger GSMP to align activities, with full integration of the Sumatran tiger GSMP in the 2023-2025 Action Indonesia Masterplan. 

Thanks to WAZA’s GSMP framework, as well as face-to-face and virtual meetings, there is a good understanding of the varying regional and institutional processes among the Action Indonesia partners. Originally, the Action Indonesia GSMPs were organised with species-specific committees, and all activities involving a given species were arranged by the convenor and co-convenor. A second planning workshop in February 2018 saw the GSMPs rearranged into thematic working groups (population management, husbandry training, education, in situ conservation, fundraising and communications). This allows for more efficient work across all species and will enable greater collaboration in areas such as husbandry training, education and fundraising. A third workshop in 2022 increased Indonesian participation and leadership in all thematic working groups.

Since their endorsement in 2016, the Action Indonesia GSMPs have delivered various training sessions to PKBSI zoos. These include anoa and babirusa husbandry training, banteng transportation and husbandry training, zoo educator training, tiger husbandry training and ‘Train the Trainer’ coaching to share skills in capacity building. To date the GSMPs have delivered training to over 450 participants, including from zoos, local forestry offices, and National Parks. There is a consistent skills-transfer from zoo experts to in situ staff, embracing the One Plan Approach. 

A primary aim of the Action Indonesia GSMPs is to achieve healthy backup ex situ populations for each species. This is particularly important for Indonesian zoos, as they have a number of founder animals, whose genetics are potentially underrepresented in the Indonesian and global zoo population. GSMP population management working groups have been working with studbook keepers and zoos since 2016 to produce cooperative breeding and transfer recommendations in Indonesia. Cooperative breeding and transfer recommendations were produced for Indonesian zoos in 2016, 2018 and 2022 for anoa, banteng, babirusa and Sumatran tiger. During 2023, three babirusa, three banteng, and two Sumatran tiger cubs were born following recommendations, with three banteng transfers also completed. Breeding and transfer recommendations for 2024-2025 are now in preparation. Genetic sampling of founder individuals of anoa, banteng and babirusa in Indonesian zoos was conducted by the PKBSI-GSMP partnership in 2021 and results will inform future recommendations.

In parallel to the implementation of recommendations, the GSMP is working closely with PKBSI to develop the cooperative breeding approach in Indonesia. This includes discussing improvements to the recommendations process, increasing capacity and raising awareness of the importance of cooperation for successful population management. 

Since 2019, Action Indonesia have held an annual global awareness raising day for anoa, banteng and babirusa, with the aim to maximise education efforts and communication about the species and their conservation. In the first 5 years of Action Indonesia Day over 40 zoos in three global regions were actively participating in the day each year, with millions of social media users reached through the #ActionIndonesiaDay hashtag. Zoos celebrate in person by sharing educational resources including many resources provided on the Action Indonesia website, as well as connecting with their visitors through games, keeper talks, touch tables and more. Educational resources about all four species can be found on the website here.

In support of banteng in situ conservation, Action Indonesia are working closely with Javan National Parks to support the parks to collect comparable information about the banteng within their parks. They have supported three years of data collection and analysis in Alas Purwo National Park in East Java, and are supporting the genetic biopsy sampling of individuals across four National Parks in 2023 and 2024. Data collected will increase understanding of the genetic diversity, population trends, and habitat use of banteng in order to move towards a future metapopulation approach. This is a concept which allows all the different populations of banteng to be managed as one single population, thus increasing their genetic diversity and resilience. Population monitoring has also begun for anoa and babirusa in Farahumpenai Nature Reserve in Sulawesi, in partnership with the University Hasanuddin (UNHAS) and the South Sulawesi Forestry Office (BBKSDA SulSel). 

Support from zoos has been key to this partnership, and this continued support is vital for the future successes. AZA, EAZA and PKBSI zoos have provided financial and logistical support and have sent staff to participate in meetings and training sessions.

If you would like to get involved or would like more information about these GSMPs, please contact James Burton (jamesaburton@yahoo.com

For more information about the Action Indonesia GSMP, please visit the Action Indonesia website through the button below, and find the Action Indonesia Newsletters and Annual Reports here for the latest updates. 

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