To kick off 2022, we would like to share the story of another orangutan warrior, this time from the Mawas Conservation Program in Central Kalimantan. His name is Rahmadi and he has worked for the BOS Foundation for an impressive 17 years.
Rahmadi hails from the village of Keladan in Mentangai District, Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan. He started his career at the BOS Foundation as a general staff member for our project at Begantung Lake in 2004. He was later trained to pilot the ultralight aircraft responsible for air monitoring in the Mawas Conservation Area.
Considering that the Mawas Conservation Area covers more than 300 thousand hectares of peat swamp forest, monitoring is vital in order to maintain security and track changes in the condition of the forest, which is vulnerable to fire in the dry season. At the time Rahmadi joined, the Mawas Conservation Program used ultralight aircraft for its ease of operation, to carry out air patrols. This meant that Rahmadi had a very important role within the Mawas Conservation Program.
After the Mawas Conservation Program stopped using air patrols, to reduce operational costs, Rahmadi began working at our branch office in Buntok. There he was responsible for organising and leading a tree-planting group and the construction of canal blocks; two important activities aimed at restoring the peat swamp ecosystem.
In the past, peat swamp forests within the Mawas Conservation Area suffered severe damage as a result of the efforts made to convert them into agricultural land. Peat swamp was drained by digging thousands of canals to rid the area of swamp water. Thus, the BOS Foundation carries out replantating and canal blocking to hold the rainwater and help to flood the peat in the Mawas area. This is to help improve the hydrological quality of the peat swamps, to support the wild orangutan population there.
In addition to supporting orangutan habitat restoration, Rahmadi also helps protect peat swamp forests from the annual threat of fire. He is part of the technical team that drills wells in locations across the Mawas Conservation Area. These wells are used by the local communities to help quickly extinguish fires when they emerge.
After years of contributing to conservation, Rahmadi has only a few simple hopes for the future. He wishes to see activities continue to run well and see the parties involved continue to support the sustainable management of natural resources. He wants the hard work undertaken by the BOS Foundation to be long-lasting and beneficial for the environment and the local communities alike, and for the Foundation to keep improving its performance and impact.