My commitment to wildlife conservation and/or sustainable communities

My love for nature began when I was 2 years old. I lived in Bukit Lawang region in Sumatra for 1 year, I could just walk for 10 minutes to arrive in the middle of a tropical rainforest and directly saw Sumatran orangutans.
At senior high school I joined a nature lover club. We hiked mountains and carried out conservation, like cleaning the mountain tracks from rubbish. These volunteer experiences made me look for a career in the area of conservation and passion for nature.
When I moved to Aceh to study geophysics at university, I learnt about the importance of the Leuser Ecosystem. The Leuser Ecosystem covering more than 2.6 million hectares of rainforests and other landscapes and is the most important last great continuous forest in southeast Asia. It is the last place on earth where rhinos, elephants, orangutans and tigers still live together in the wild.
I joined to a nature lover club at university with the goal that I want to know all about Aceh forest. I have held 2 Aceh expeditions which I was chairman of the committee. First, Five Summits and Observation Flora and Fauna Expedition. We explored and observed about flora and fauna throughout hiking trails. Second, Study of Water Quality Standard Watershed Area Expedition, Geumpang River. The idea came from us ourselves. We heard many stories about mercury poisoning in the rivers, like children being born with deformity maybe caused by the mother consuming seafood from Geumpang River. We wanted to know the level and impact of mercury pollution in this river to the environment, especially for humans. We found high toxicity levels of mercury throughout this river. We send the results to our university Rector and hope the government might respond and change policy management.
Our routine activities in the club are planting mangroves, rubbish clean ups at beach and campus, community farmer social support and Environment Day campaigns. I have learnt from this club the rule of nature: nothing must be left except footprints, nothing must be taken except pictures, nothing must be killed except time.
In my final year of study, I was offered by a mentor in my club to join his office as an intern for Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh (HAkA). I have been working now for one year as a GIS Assistant producing maps. I interpret forest cover loss from landsat images, and analyze it. I am seeing why forest is being lost, mostly because of replacing by palm oil, but also forest fires, illegal logging, and disasters. I also make maps for our elephant and rhino sanctuary plans, for monitoring wildlife and for illegal activities in the forest. I have learnt a lot from Leuser Ecosystem media and advocacy campaigns by our organisations and partners (see www.haka.or.id).
Through this job I learnt about wildlife, conservation, sustainable community development, how important the fauna and flora are in the Leuser Ecosystem, and how important the Leuser Ecosystem is for Aceh, Indonesia, and the planet.

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