On Thursday 5th February 2015, the Ape Defenders, a team currently working in the Labanan jungle reserve in the Berau region, offered a class about the protection of orangutans to year 11 students at Samarinda Forestry High School. These 96 students are currently completing one month of field work in the Labanan jungle reserve.
The class was held in front of the research station belonging to Governmental Research Unit B2PD (Balai Besar Penelitian Dipterokarpa) in the Labanan jungle reserve in Berau. The class was not only attended by students, but also by many members of the local community, who were attracted by the crowd and projection screen. After the Ape Defenders explained the background of COP, and revealed how many orangutans had been killed in palm oil plantations, local community members were moved to remain and attend the class.
During the question and answer session, one student asked: “Does COP seriously do all the work that is shown in these slide photos?”
Team member Paulinus Kristianto responded by posing another question. “Do you think that the Centre for Orangutan Rehabilitation, which is now in the process of being built, is just a joke?” He was immediately greeted with agreement from all the students.
Another student worried that his work as a forest ranger after graduating from Samarinda would be incredibly challenging, because of the amount of forest conversion that has already occurred throughout Kalimantan. However, many other students protested that they knew they could overcome that obstacle. “We can arrest the people who killed the orangutans once I’m the head of B2PD!” proclaimed one of the students to the laughter of the audience.
The final activity was the screening of the film ‘Sawit Berdarah’ (Bloody Palm Oil). Once the film ended, all the students yelled repeatedly, asking for another film to be played. However, it had already reached night time, and unfortunately the class had to come to an end. (DAN)