The reduction and ultimately prevention of human-wildlife conflict is a major focus for The Sumatran Ranger Project. Mid-year is durian season and is a particularly busy time for our team, who respond to calls for assistance from forest edge communities to help deal with orangutans consuming durian from their trees. Rather than take matters into their own hands and potentially harm orangutans, communities are reliably calling our team to respond. Our rangers use a variety of noise deterrents and methods to move the orangutans safely back to the forest, with assistance from locals and occasionally other NGOs. Durian are known as 'the king of fruits' in Asia and represent a significant income for many forest edge communities. Because they are nutritious and calorific, they are also a favourite of Sumatran orangutans. Many orangutans are shot with air riles, a 'trend' being to shoot the eyes, rendering them blind. The 'lucky' individuals may be rescued and some will have to live out their lives in the care of Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. By responding to every request for help, our team are helping to reduce the need for locals to have to mitigate this threat to their livelihoods on their own, and keep orangutans safe.
More recently we have begun to remove smaller 'bridge' trees surrounding the larger durian trees, to make it more difficult for orangutans to reach them. We've also used metal non-climbable trunk collars on occasion to avoid climbing from the ground up.