Our History

The SOCP first began activities in 1999 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between PanEco, YEL, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation. One of its first targets was to establish a modern, state-of the-art quarantine facility for confiscated illegal pets and a reintroduction program to release rescued orangutans back to the wild. To that end, in 2002 the SOCP opened its Batu Mbelin Orangutan Quarantine and Rehabilitation Station, just outside the North Sumatran capital city of Medan.
Since the start of SOCP over 360 orangutans have been rescued and cared for at Batu Mbelin, and more than 270 have already been rehabilitated and reintroduced back to the rainforests for a second chance at life in the wild. The SOCP continues to take a leading role in surveying and monitoring the status of all remaining wild orangutan populations in Sumatra, using remote sensing and field surveys to record presence or absence, density estimates, population trends, and conservation threats.
The SOCP has long been seen as the foremost authority on the status and distribution of remaining wild orangutans across the island, and we are proud to be key player in the battle to save such iconic species and their remaining forest habitat.

Our People

Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL)

The Indonesian ‘Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation’ (Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari; YEL) is based in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. YEL manages, coordinates and implements all SOCP activities in Indonesia, and is the Swiss-based PanEco’s primary local partner foundation in the country.

As well as the SOCP, YEL is also active in community development projects, including promoting ecotourism, sustainable organic agriculture, and environmental education.

Ditjen KSDAE of The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry

The Indonesian Government helps is an implementing partner of the SOCP, via the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Directorate General for Natural Resource and Ecosystem Conservation (Ditjen KSDA). There are multiple Memoranda of Understanding signed between YEL and SOCP, and much collaboration therein as without the Government’s support and expertise the SOCP would simply not be able to function or thrive. On a regular basis, YEL coordinates all activities with the Ditjen KSDAE via its local provincial offices who play an active role in project oversight, and as well in conservation law enforcement through their ability to charge perpetrators and confiscate wildlife from the illegal pet trade.

Supporting Partners

The innovative Orang-Utan Coffee Project works with local farmers in the Gayo highlands of Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia to produce and market environmentally friendly organic coffee to roasters and coffee lovers all around the world. Specially trained local farmers in the project all commit to zero forest loss for all of their yields, and for their efforts they gain a significant premium from adopting this and other facets of Orang-Utan Coffee Standards. An additional premium from the Orang–Utan Coffee Project also goes directly to implement the SOCP.

The Swiss-based PanEco Foundation supports and implements projects in nature conservation and education. For the SOCP, PanEco works with several partners and assists in the management, fundraising and implementation of the initiative. PanEco also implements environmental education, conservation and sustainable development projects in Switzerland

Work Focus Area

The SOCP invests a great deal into habitat conservation, as a foundation to ensure the long-term survival of the two species of orangutan in Sumatra - with both being listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered, the Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutan. We do this through focusing our efforts on the species’ two primary landscapes: the Leuser Ecosystem and Batang Toru Ecosystem. Beyond this, we are also investing much into Jantho Nature Reserve, where we are reintroducing rehabilitated orangutans, and in the process, we are creating an entirely new, genetically viable population as a sort of ‘safety net’ to ensure species survival well into the future.

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