Turtle Foundation: Construction of a ranger station

Situation in Belambangan/Indonesia:

The conservation project on the Derawan Islands in the Berau district of the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan on Borneo has been in place since the formation of Turtle Foundation in 2000. There, the eight largest nesting area of the hawksbill turtle in the world is located, spread over several islands. The population is currently only about 10% of the population 70 years ago and is still threatened by illegal collection of its eggs. In addition, the hawksbill turtle lives in the coral reefs of the archipelago, only rarely nesting on the islands. These animals are threatened with extinction, but they are still heavily hunted: jewelry is made from the turtle’s shell, smaller animals are often stuffed as wall decorations and illegally offered for sale. The estimated average annual nesting volume in the entire Derawan archipelago is approximately 13,000 – 14,000 nests. Since the year 2000 the hatching of approx. 9 million young turtles has been made possible. Today 90% of the turtle nests in the Derawan Archipelago are under active protection (by Turtle Foundation and other organizations), compared to 0% 20 years ago.

closed a significant protection gap. Since the beginning of 2019, all measures for the protection of the sea turtles are now being implemented here, which were also successful on the other islands in the years before. We have a team of six local rangers on Belambangan, who protect the turtles and their nests from attacks by poachers. They also move endangered nests to safer beach areas and clean the beaches of driftwood and plastic waste. Another task of the rangers is to collect and evaluate relevant data on the nesting behaviour of the sea turtles. From March to October 2019 we already counted 2,673 turtle nests on Belambangan.

hatchling on its way to the sea
Turtle on its way back to the sea after laying eggs

The project:

The journey from the mainland to the island of Belambangan takes 6 hours and is very expensive. For this reason, the rangers stay longer on the 9.3 ha island. Because otherwise no infrastructure is available on the island, the rangers have lived in a provisional camp last year. A solar system generates the electricity and tanks with a total capacity of 10,000 liters were purchased for the supply of fresh water. In order to enable the team to settle down permanently on the island, to provide the rangers with a safe shelter and sleeping place and the possibility to prepare food in a kitchen, the Turtle Foundation – with the financial support of the Tierschutz-Stiftung Wolfgang Bösche – has built a ranger station there. For this purpose, the complete building material, consisting of wood, cement and metal, was first purchased, prefabricated and cut on the mainland. It was important to us to use only certified wood for the construction. In January 2020 the time had finally come: The northern monsoon had calmed down and the swell allowed us to transport all building materials to Belambangan in a single crossing. The ranger station was then set up. For this purpose, a location on the island was chosen where no trees had to be felled. The ranger station of 75 sqm consists of an open rest area (veranda left of the entrance), a four-bed room, a two-bed room with workstation and a kitchen. The bathroom with the toilet, which is connected to a biogas plant, is located in a separate small outbuilding.

construction of the ranger station and ceremonial opening

Your donation helps:

With the new ranger station, we can further professionalize our work in the Derawan archipelago and provide better working conditions for our employees. Thank you very much for your great support, which helps us to protect sea turtles and save them from extinction.

the rangers are happy about their new accommodation