Conservation of the Babirusa and Anoas and their Critical Habitat, the Nantu Forest, Sulawesi

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Dr Lynn Calyton and the team from YANI (Yayasan Adudu Nantu Internasional) led an application to fund daily forest and wildlife protection patrols in the Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary in Gorotalo Province, Sulawesi by YANI’s Nantu Protection Units. These protection units are resident 24/7 at the remote Nantu field stations. The Nantu Forest is of local, national and global importance as it is one of Sulawesi’s last remaining intact rainforest ecosystems and has been described as “one of the five most important sites for biodiversity in South-East Asia” (W. Duckworth). Of particular interest is the naturally occurring salt-lick in Nantu where Babirusa and Anoa congregate and can be observed. By supporting continuous species and habitat patrols at Nantu the project aimed to address the threats these critical wild populations face from hunting and habitat destruction from illegal logging, slash-and-burn clearance, encroachment for oil palm planting and illegal gold mining.

The Protection Units are comprised of four YANI team members, six local police and two community members and work in collaboration with the Gorontalo/North Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency. A total of 84 days of patrols were carried out between March 1st and June 30th 2017. The protection units were resident continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the remote stations throughout this time with daily patrols lasting 5-7 hours as well as overnight treks to more distant parts of Nantu. The patrols removed 29 poachers’ string leg snares during a single week in March of 2017. The patrols also temporarily detained 6 illegal miners during a 3 day long continuous 20km patrol to Batuangkobu mine and there has been a significant reduction in illegal gold mining within the Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary in 2017. Two chainsaws were confiscated from illegal operators cutting timber within the south-eastern Nantu Wildlife Sanctuary. The Protection Units also patrolled along the south-western boundary of the Wildlife Scantuary which is an area under particular threat from encroachment by slash and burn clearers for palm oil planting. The patrols by the Protection Units has had a profound impact in protecting the Nantu Wildlife Reserve and the species within and ensured that encroachment and illegal activities within the reserve are not on the increase.

To find out more of the work done by YANI please follow the link: https://www.nantuforest.org/