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Wildlife Protection Unit

Protecting the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape through proactive patrols and community integration.

survey teams BTP
Survey team crossing river

Front Line Forest Protection

Dusk creeps over the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape. Four rangers try to warm themselves by the small flame of the petrol burner set up on the bank of the Manggatal River. Rain flows over the rims of their hats. They are rangers from the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and have been on foot patrol for the past five days. They each have to carry 20 kgs of equipment and know hat three more rainy days are ahead of them before they reach base camp.

The rangers are in an area called “30 Hills” and know that there are many more than 30 hills here, but they are still in good spirits – they enjoy their work under the leaf-roof of Tigapuluh. They have discovered 12 orangutan sleeping nests in the past five days – an achievement that banishes all cold and tiredness from their bones.


Our reaction to the increasing threat from illegal activities in the national park is the Wildlife Protection Unit (WPU). In 2004 FZS began to establish trained ranger patrols and maintains an average of nine patrol units. This number is able to patrol the buffer zone of the National Park.


The concept is simple and therefore effective: every unit consists of four rangers (one forest policeman, one representative from the Orangutan Program and two local rangers from the villages surrounding the national park). This combination enables us to have permanent contact with national park neighbors and also to have ambassadors from the protection program in each village.


The troops are on patrol 14 days per month to guard orangutans and other wildlife that live far away from the station, to control waterways out of the park for timber thieves and to stop poachers.


More Information: March 2012-2013 Map of WPU Patrol areas and illegal activities recorded