Conservation Drones

Tackling deforestation and protecting orangutans with drones in Indonesia.

The orangutan is the only great ape found outside Africa but the species native to Sumatra is critically endangered. Illegal palm oil plantations are slowly eating into the orangutans’ habitat and pushing them into the hands of poachers.

“When a palm oil company goes in, they completely destroy the forest and everything that’s living there,” explains Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. “There may be a tree left with a mother orangutan and her baby so they’ll chop down that tree, club her to death and take her baby home.”

One way to tackle this deforestation by palm oil agribusiness is to monitor and report their illegal activities but in large areas such as the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, that has proven virtually impossible – until now. A unique collaboration of conservation NGOs have now begun surveying illegal clearing of protected forests with the help of drones.

Capturing high-resolution aerial footage of the devastating impact of palm oil is proving powerful and has already helped bringing perpetrators to justice.

Join Nidhi Dutt in Indonesia to see how an alliance of conservationists is taking the protection of the orangutan to new heights.


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