Use of modern technologies for discovering of illegal activities of poaching and logging in national parks and reservations is a part of our main business. This means mainly a use of several types of camera traps, GPS trackers, and drones. Thanks to the camera traps we were able not only to discover the poachers on Sumatra but literally guide them away from poaching and allow them to make a life change by giving them another job, in the counter-poaching patrol for instance. Our long time experience brought us to using the camera traps not only on Sumatra but even in Slovakia for bear monitoring, or in Uganda and Mozambique in Africa for rhino conservation. Our knowledge and experience of monitoring open the door to Congo for gorilla conservation, to Costa Rica or to Nepal. The camera traps are becoming a true help and a technical facility to enable wildlife monitoring and poaching disrupting. We even got the chance to introduce this topic and our monitoring project The Eye of the Earth (Oko Zeme) at a World Ranger Congress IRF in Nepal where we set a corner stone of an international cooperation which is supported also by Czech, Moravian, and Slovak schools through a project NEPZ (The Richest Ecosystems of Planet Earth).
The idea of animal protection against poaching started to surface since the year 2009 when the Green Life reserve was established, we had encountered traces of poaching from time to time and began to destroy poacher traps when we’ve came across them in the rainforest.
In 2012 for the first time, we visited a black market in Kuala village in Sumatra where animals are being sold and literally fell into panic from what we’d seen going on at the back stage of human society, which made business commodity out of animals. Out of pure despair we began savings these hopeless animals destined to cruel death and bought dozens of them in the space of a year and released them into the Green Life Reserve. Reason behind this questionable behavior was total ignorance and inability to act of the local legal office and organisations in the field of animal protection. After our repeated appeals and demands for controls and confiscation of animals we haven’t found anyone who was willing to deal with this situation. In the very same year two of our photo traps positioned in the NP Gunung Leuser provided evidence of poaching including poachers faces.
In Summer 2013 we realized that the best solution will be to organize an anti poaching team that will be able to not just protect the Greenlife reserve but mainly National Park Gunung Leuser from poaching. In September 2013 we signed a first contract detailing cooperation between us and NPGL office in Bukit Lawang with signature of their boss Mr Turnip and another indonesian not for profit organisation YHUA.
In January 2014 the first anti poaching patrol was launched under the supervision of our site manager Vojta Vojacek in cooperation with rangers from Bukit Lawang and Bohorok including members of our first watch called Green Patrol. In this year alone we’ve managed to do a large number of anti poaching patrols involving local rangers. New photo traps were strategically installed for uncovering poaching activities and monitoring wildlife & animals in their natural habitat. Later that year in May we managed to document Sumatran Elephants for the first time and Sumatran Tiger started to show up from November.
Year 2015 was an eye opener, it became obvious that legal NPGL office in Bukit Lawang and their rangers aren’t willing to cooperate on this scale in reality, to truly uncover and punish poaching activities according to our common views. Little by little their efforts and direct action in field has faded so we acted on our own which was eventually held against us and got us a bad reputation that we do whatever we want in NPGL. Without stop we were bringing new and new evidence about poaching activities and thanks to our presence in the National park poaching activities actually declined and completely vanished from our controlled territory between rivers Berkail and Sekelam. Hundreds of poaching traps and dozens of illegal camps were destroyed by our activity in the NPGL in these two years alone. In spite of having dozens of uncovered poachers and evidence, NPGL rangers made no arrests.
In 2016, Vojta Vojacek and president of YHUA got into an argument which eventually resulted in the departure of Vojta and he left the project later that year replaced by a novice Zbynek Hrabek in the role of site manager of Green Life. After this change we could carry on in our activities and tried to attain a better relationship & cooperation with legal NPGL office in Medan, unfortunately it was not easy as a considerable group was against us, especially the biggest boss from Bukit Lawang Mr Turnip, who became suspicious subject for us for his intentional avoidance and lack of action against poaching. Later, it came about that a poaching & drug trail leads via NPGL park which the NPGL section had known about, therefore the lack of action of their rangers.
From January 2016 we have transformed our Green patrol in to a Tiger Commando, recruited groups in to anti poaching teams under Zbynek Hrabek lead. In April 2016 we’ve managed to make a successful contact with NPGL management in Medan, to whom we submitted all the documentation from our two year work which was previously handed over to their section in Bukit Lawang. When handing these over in Medan we had realized that management of NPGL did not know about us for the whole two years and that the official contract between us agreeing on the cooperation did not really exist with which we worked in the field for two years. It became obvious that the whole thing was a fraud and betrayal from Mr Turnip which he took money for.
Moving forward we started a new cooperation and headed into the terrain providing monitoring while awaited an official licence from the management of NPGL. Bit by bit a new successful team came to creation with great base in our new Tiger house in Batu Katak village. After long wheels of bureaucratic scrutiny the whole process came to an end by 11th of April 2018, when we paid 20 millions IDR for provisioning of the smart patrol licence. Since then we started hard work not just on monitoring, but on long and tiring expeditions into the depths of NP Gunung Leuser, this time always in presence of Rangers. Our monitoring was by far the best, but even then there was a lot of pressure on physical presence of Zbynek Hrabek in the Tiger commando team. Again, it was Mr Turnip from Bukit Lawang (section of NPGL) who was behind this, the guy was a real nightmare. Either way, our team got in to a great form and managed to perform completely on their own. Monitoring program named Eye of the Tiger was bringing amazing results and fantastic inside from lives of tigers, elephants or bears.
In Years 2017-2018 number of poaching groups were uncovered and all collected data had been handed over to NPGL main office in Medan for an investigation. In January 2018, Zbynek Hrabek uncovered poachers of turtle eggs on the Bankgkar Island which led to their imprisonment for 5 years. This success fueled new energy of anti-poaching activities.
During 2018 we had major monitoring successes, worked on monitoring of a Tiger incident and also joined effort to save a female elephant in Sub in Aceh province. Our Tiger comando was at the heart of all of these activities and also Zbynek Hrabek as a specialist at monitoring with photo traps. 26.11.2018 is the day that Forrest For Kids became a member of the International Ranger Federation and a month later we signed an agreement with Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for protection of wild rhinos in Uganda, where we installed 14 of our photo traps for poaching activity and monitoring of animals in cooperation with Green & Blue Uganda.
In March 2019 we have acquired licence from Indonesian organisation Save Aceh Nature for protection of Bangkar island and turtles nests in Pulau Banyak islands. Later in July we launched an anti-poaching activities called Blue Patrol, re-constructed guard station and started to protect sea turtles while our Anti Poaching patrol Tiger Commando continued activities in NP Gunung Leuser. After the monitoring of the injured female elephant in the national park in June 2019 our team began (on NPGL’s office in Medan request) a targeted monitoring of elephant migration path between rivers Sekelam to Bohorok. At this moment there was not a more qualified monitoring team than our Tiger commando. In July 2019 non profit organisation Rainforest for kids (Prales Detem) sent 10 photo traps to support organisation ICORP and their activities for the protection of rhinos in Mozambique.
In the same way our Czech-Slovakian team monitors wild cats in Slovakia and in July 2019 the team began a constructive discussion on cooperation and monitoring in National Park Rodna in Romania. In September 2019 we started another watch guard activity, this time in Czech Republic where we offered a helping hand to Czech Society for Ornithology ČIŽP a AOPk at Vysocina region, there is a massive problem with animal poisoning including poisons like karbofuran and Stutox II. Important to note that our first month activity was extremely successful and this echoed even from the Ministry of the Environment. At the end of the year 2019 we can proudly state that we support two functional anti-poaching teams in Sumatra. First one in NP Gunung Leuser rainforest and the second at sea at Pulau Banyak. Both patrols are financed from supporters out of young generation from NEPZ (an educational project – The richest ecosystems of Planet Earth) and the general public, which understands that it can become a stable base for protection of endangered animals anywhere in the world. Next, our photo traps protect rhinos in Africa and monitor wild cats in Slovakia. Our big active radius completes our citizen watch guard at home, where the final project was born called Justice for Nature, which deals with uncovering and suppress use of poison in the environment. 10th of November our representatives of non profit organisation Rainforest for kids will travel to present our activities and monitoring project Oko Zeme (Eye of the Earth) to international conference at International Ranger Federations in Nepal, where we will try to open doors for international cooperation and create an international educational program for schools on five world continents named Earth’s Ethic. Our big goal for 2020 is to uncover animal poisoning in Czech Republic, that no-one has successfully done so far, these criminals need to be brought to justice and sentenced.
Traditional Asian medicine has been a part of a deeply rooted culture and eastern medicine based on massages, acupuncture, meditations, and use of medicinal herbs for centuries. Some branches of the medicine used to use parts of animal bodies which gradually grew into a massive international and criminal trade. Sacred tigers used to be a resource for gaining wealth and the trade with their bones became their doom. Besides the demand for tiger body parts, an international trade with lion and panther bones, rhino horns, shark fins, hornbill beaks, manta ray gills, or with pangolins and slow lorises arose. An elephant ivory trade became a brutal crime. All of a sudden, there was no animal which wouldn’t be tradeable, and the rarer the more expensive they were. Similarly, a massive songbird trade evolved in south-eastern Asia and reached a monstrous size and is a cause of a visible decrease of a bird population in the wild. Two of the biggest initiators of the traditional Asian medicine are currently China and Vietnam which can be considered the biggest supporters of this international crime. One of the ways how not to support this business is to never buy anything made of animal body parts, including their consummation. Only this way you can avoid this international crime network.