Forest Research Station
The Rare Species Fund has solely funded the rebuilding and reopening of the Forest Research Station in the Leuser Ecosystem of Sumatra. Upon commitment by RSF to fund the project, an official agreement was signed with the Aceh Forestry Department to manage 19,000 hectares of lowland Benkung forest. This forest represents a biological hotspot and is an important home for tigers, orangutans, sun bears, elephants, lesser cats and hundreds of species of birds. Download the PDF.
in 2005, RSF hand-delivered seven tigers and oversaw the creation of their habitat in the Samutprakarn Wildlife Park in Thailand, the first uniquely colored tigers to be established anywhere in Asia. RSF funding supports Thailand’s Khao Yai project by providing in-country teams with the means to purchase equipment and learn anti-poaching techniques. RSF also supports training and capacity-building efforts with the Carnivore Conservation Project in Northern Thailand, which seeks to secure the population of wild tigers in Khao Yai National Park.
Tigers are a barometer of the natural world and ideal wildlife ambassadors for stimulating support of conservation efforts. Estimates by watchdog agencies suggest the worldwide population of tigers has dropped nearly 95% in the past forty years: barely 3,000 individuals remain at large.
Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project
Fishing cats are found throughout tropical Asia and India. Conversion of natural habitats into palm oil plantation and other industrial use has driven the cats to seek food in populated areas. The only available food they find is in farms and fisheries. Locals retaliate by hunting, snaring, and poisoning the fishing cats, whose population has shrunk to dangerously low levels. The RSF contributes to the conservation of fishing cats through the Fishing Cat Research and Conservation Project, which conducts basic surveys, organizes conservation research initiatives, and spearheads on-site programs geared towards restoring natural habitats, educating local populations, and promoting conservation efforts to local businesses.
Tiger Lantern Project
As the human population expands in India, people encroach on tiger territory. What once were pristine tiger preserves now house more than a million villagers. To meet their need for heat and light, villagers collect wood, depleting even further the shrinking tiger habitats. The RSF works with The Corbett Foundation to supply villagers from Kanha National Park in central India with lanterns and solar powered charging stations. The results have been outstanding. Communities that lived in darkness now have a renewable source of light. Children are able to study after dark. Villagers have portable lanterns to help guard against crop raiding herbivores. The reduction in fossil fuel consumption has improved the health of villagers. Equally important, encroachment on tiger habitats has gone down.
Orangutan Foundation International
Founded by Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas in 1986, Orangutan Foundation International operates Camp Leakey, and orangutan research area within Tanjung Puting National Park and the Orangutan Care Center, home to 330 displaced orangutans. By protecting orangutans, these organizations simultaneously protect the habitats of many other endangered species. The RSF is supporting many OFI programs including forestry restoration, protection of virgin rain forest and have directly participated in the re-wilding and release of ex-captive sun bears and orangutans.