Answer The Call to Action
Sumatra’s wildlife face numerous and challenging threats including illegal logging, palm oil and rubber plantations, fires, and poaching but there is hope. Ecosystem Restoration Concessions are an innovative approach to protected areas in Sumatra and were little more than a dream just a few years ago. Much work must still be done, but with your help, more innovations and protections for critically endangered species and ecosystems can become realities. Donating is a crucial part of funding the work being done in 30 Hills, but there are other ways to help too that can lead to necessary, lasting change. Follow the steps below to help save some of the last and best lowland rainforest in Sumatra!
Palm oil is a major threat to rainforests around the world, especially in Indonesia. Used in food processing, cosmetics, and biodiesel, almost everyone encounters this vegetable oil every day without even knowing it. As the most efficient vegetable oil, palm oil is unlikely to go away any time soon. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to save critical rainforests from oil palm plantations!
Lobby major consumer companies to use only RSPO certified palm oil. Call or email them and demand sustainable processing.
Tigers and orangutans, as well as many other endangered rainforest species, are disappearing from the forest as demand for them and their body parts grows. About 80% of Sumatran tiger deaths are due to the illegal wildlife trade for live animals and body parts. While employing local people to help protect these magnificent creatures from poachers is crucial, measures at the regional, national, and international levels are also necessary. Contact your representatives and demand they support legislation that helps end the wildlife trade. A great place to start is enforcement and expansion of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
For those living in the USA, two bills in particular need support now. They are the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which seeks to limit private ownership and trade of big cats in the USA which fuels poaching and the demand for tigers both alive and dead, and the Preventing Future Pandemics Act 2020, which seeks to prevent pandemics like COVID-19 by ending the international wildlife trade.
Contact your elected representatives and ask them to support these bills!
One particularly problematic aspect of the wildlife trade of Sumatran tigers and orangutans is the pet trade and private ownership. About 8,000 tigers are held in Asia in captive breeding farms while 5,000 are held privately in the USA as pets and attractions for roadside zoos. While captive breeding programs conducted at AZA accredited zoos and facilities are crucial for saving species from extinction, breeding elsewhere is not for conservation and in fact fuels poaching of wild individuals. These tigers are used as attractions while they’re cubs and then swiftly killed for their body parts when they get too big to cuddle, or are sold to private owners as pets. Many suffer severe effects from inbreeding depression and cannot survive in the wild. Additionally, the conditions animals are kept in at breeding farms and unregulated zoos are often horrific and cruel.
You can help put an end to these abusive and dangerous practices by refusing to visit zoos and other places that offer cub petting, elephant rides, and other direct contact with animals. You can also research the pet you want to get to find out if it is endangered or threatened by the wildlife trade, like many common aquarium fish and pet reptiles.
Rainforests in Sumatra are threatened by logging, paper, rubber, and palm oil industries. While high standards of living require some extraction of these resources, the amount consumed particularly by Western countries is unsustainable and unnecessary. If you can’t find products that use RSPO certified palm oil, consider if you actually need the product at all. Buying less in general is a great way to decrease your negative impact on the environment since even recycling requires energy and resources, albeit less than manufacturing new products. And when you do buy, try to buy used and sustainably sourced products.
Sumatra has faced devastating forest fires with increasing frequency recently. While many are started by slash-and-burn agricultural methods, the intensity of each fire is exacerbated by the climate emergency. When rainforests and peat forests burn, they release carbon into the atmosphere and prevent the areas from absorbing carbon in the future since the vegetation is destroyed, and the amount of forest burned increases as conditions in Sumatra get hotter and drier.
Fighting for climate justice any way you can will help the whole world, and though indirect, is crucial to protecting 30 Hills.