Does planting fruit trees help?......not really!

We all know that the area of rainforests are decreasing and that human population is increasing so this brings the wildlife into contact and thus conflict with humans. Why does this happen? Well, communitys surrounding the borders (buffer zones) of the national park tend to grow cash crops such as durian and other fruits which the wildlife really likes to eat...and when such crops are raided by monkeys and apes it can be devastating for the farmer....who quite rightly wants to protect his crops. Such conflict has resulted in horrific instances of wildlife being shot, beaten and killed. 

What can be done to reduce such conflict?

Agroforestry schemes have become fashionable in many areas in Asia and they encourage farmers to plant more fruit trees so that the wildlife can take fruit and the farmers get more fruit from the extra trees. This is counterintuitive and naive. Scientific research and published literature indicates that such programmes actually encourage wildlife to leave the forest and expose them to further conflict with farmers. International guidelines advise to make a buffer zone by planting crops that are unpalatable to wildlife such as chillis and tea.

Dr Tatyana Humle speaking at the Centre for International Forestry and Research in Bogor, Indonesia said..."Solutions designed by humans are constantly challenged by adaptable wildlife. Once a human-wildlife conflict strategy has been designed and implemented, it needs to be properly monitored and constantly reassessed and revised otherwise it is not worth the investment."

Ecological education and continued support of affected communitys is key in providing a long term solution to such human-wildlife conflict issues.

Villagers in Tualang Gepang/Bukit Kencur SAVE an orangutan!

Last week we received a phonecall at around 6 in the evening from one of our tracking guides in the village of Tualang Gepang/Bukit orangutan had been spotted that afternoon by a villager rubber tapping in the fields just behind the was in a durian tree. The villagers were monitoring it and wanted to inform the national park rangers. We gave them the number of a senior ranger who went to the village that very evening to assess the situation. The following day rangers went to the village to encourage the orangutan to move on..and found villagers and children close by..guarding it. The rangers used firecrackers to make a noise and the orangutan moved on...eventually...after destroying the new fruit buds in the durian tree where it was 'hiding'. This means that this season the tree will not have many fruit....a big financial blow to the farmer who owns the tree. But non the attempted to harm the orangutan by throwing stones, shooting it, burning the tree etc as is often the case when other such encounters are reported.
Several of our trackers guides from the village told me that kids were heard to be saying..."we cant throw stones or hurt it because the white visitors will get angry". would be better if they'd said we should protect it because it's amazing etc...but the fact that Green Hill have been taking guests trekking in this area for almost 10 years has created a presence and awareness that the wildlife should be protected and led directly to this positive outcome! HOORAH and THANKYOU to all our guests for booking with Green Hill and allowing us to continue our conservation and community work in this extremely important border habitat. And THANK YOU to the villagers and rangers. Coming soon: news about Greenwood BaseCamp..our project headquarters in this area.