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Project - Sumatra

HAWCS first overseas project is based on the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Having researched the indigenous species that are under threat, the extent of habitat loss and future threats, we found that Sumatra possesses a rich biodiversity of mammalia that are endemic only to this Island and an extensive list of species of flora and fauna which are under the threat of extinction.

Sumatra is the third largest Island in Indonesia with a growing indonesian population of 42 million, which have diverse communities of different ethnic groups, most of whom live in rural groups. For over 30 years there has been conflict between the Indonesian government and the separatist group Free Aceh Movement until, in 2004 when the Tsunami tidal waves crashed into the coastal areas of North Sumatra including part of the capital Banda Aceh. This resulted in a peace agreement signed in Helsinki in 2005. The Tsunami had devastating effects on the wildlife in Aceh and has resulted in collaborated efforts by the government and NGO’s to restore the balance.

Sumatra is rich in mineral resources and oil and natural gas. Agriculture in hardwoods, rubber, coffee and sugar, rice, fruits, vegetables and palm oil have been developed both locally and on industrial scales. The forests of Sumatra support a larger number of mammalian species than Borneo but in small populations which will soon become unsustainable.

Sumatra Species

The Sumatran Orang-utan as a species is in need of conservation and although this species is just one of many which HAWCS are attempting to protect and conserve with the projects outlined. The Sumatran Orang-utan (Pongo abelii) is a separate species from the Bornean Orang-utan(Pongo pygmeaus) and classified as critically endangered by the IUCN Red list . This species faces extinction within the next 10-20 years unless their shrinking habitat can be preserved and the declining numbers of 1000 individuals a year can be halted. By conserving the Sumatran Orang-utan and their natural habitat millions of insects, thousands of plants and hundreds of other mammal species will be protected.

Just some of the species which are endangered and some which are facing extinction.

The future/ The Bigger Picture


Working with other NGO’s, HAWCS supports the charitable organisation PanEco, chiefly Dr Ian Singleton who is a leading Primate and Amphibian expert.

PanEco is an active charity founded in 1996 in Switzerland with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, YELL and the Sumatran Orang-utan Conservation Programme (SOCP) which are all working towards the re-introduction of displaced wild Orang-utan into their natural environment.

PanEco has established a medical quarantine centre in the forest north of Medan in Sumatra. It is Dr Ian Singletons’ vision to develop a new rehabilitation centre for other endangered species of animals. This new centre could be utillised to incorporate activities such as research and education.

HAWCS aim is to raise awareness and funds in order to financially assist PanEco and Dr Singleton’s ongoing work.

Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae); is the smallest of the five tigers and lives only on the Island of Sumatra. Their population in the wild is fragmented and it is estimated that there are only between 200-400 individuals left. There are estimated to be 270 Sumatran Tigers in captivity which are part of zoo breeding programmes.

Sumatran Elephant (Elephas maximus sumatrensis); is registered as endangered, with decreasing numbers of approximately 2,440 to 3,350 individuals.

Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis); population numbers in the wild are estimated as low as 200 with captive breeding proving to be difficult. The additional threat for this species as well as habitat loss is the trade in rhino horn.

Sumatran Sun Bear (Helarctos malyanus malaynus); is listed as endangered mostly due to hunting and deforestation. The bears are also hunted for bile from their gallbladders which is used for medicinal qualities in some countries and for their paws which are used to make soup.

Hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana); is one of the rarest otter species and is on the verge of extinction it is only found in small numbers living in the wild in Vietnam, Thailand and Sumatra.

Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus); is endangered with population trends decreasing.

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HAWCS Future