Mission Statement & Goals
Our mission statement
Yayasan Pulau Banyak wishes to promote local participation in enhancing conservation efforts through community capacity building and socio-economic activities in order to sustainably manage and monitor the natural resources of Pulau Banyak in the Aceh Singkil region, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
- Increase protection of the nesting sea turtle populations through beach patrols on Pulau Bangkaru.
- To define and structure a management system for the area which integrates human development with biodiversity conservation.
- Increase awareness of local communities of the importance of the sustainable use of natural resources through workshops, school visits and meetings.
- Acquire knowledge on population parameters, migratory routes and critical habitats of the sea turtles nesting on Pulau Bangkaru, through (satellite) tagging, genetic research and day-to-day beach monitoring.
- To implement an integrated environmental education programme for local schools on sustainable use of natural resources.
- Provide possibilities for eco-tourism initiatives as an income generation source for local communities.
- Provide research facilities for university students and (inter)national volunteers.
- Provide concessions in terms of socio-economic aid for better use of natural resources.
- Capacity building of local community on sea turtle biology and conservation
Our past successes and achievements
- Efforts of Yayasan Pulau Banyak resulted in the proclamation of Pulau Banyak as a protected area (terrestrial and marine), with Pulau Bangkaru as a “Suaka Marga Satwa” by the Governor of Aceh in December 1994. In February 1997 the Minister of Forestry confirmed this; however, the status of Pulau Banyak was changed to that of protected nature-tourism park (Taman Wisata Alam).
- After intensive lobbying in Banda Aceh, an existing contract between the regency government and the egg collectors on Pulau Bangkaru was cancelled. With a private contribution of the then Environmental Minister, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, guards were posted on Pulau Bangkaru and both turtle exploitation for meat and eggs was stopped. Eco-tourism to Pulau Banyak increased during this period.
- The forests of Pulau Banyak were protected and logging permits recalled.
- Yayasan Pulau Banyak had started on a shoestring budget with funds received after a visit by the programme director of Yayasan Kehati (Biodiversity Foundation), which enabled the foundation to place volunteers from universities in Banda Aceh and Medan on Pulau Bangkaru to assist with sea turtle monitoring. Their presence and patrols kept egg poachers away.
- Yayasan Pulau Banyak managed to change the attitudes of the majority of the local population from opposing conservation initiatives to supporting them. Although the foundation has not been actively present in the archipelago since 2000, largely due to the civil unrest in Aceh during these years, there still exists a positive reputation within the local communities of Pulau Banyak.
2006 to today
- Yayasan Pulau Banyak managed to set up the first active sea turtle tagging programme within Sumatra involving local communities. Nightly beach patrols monitor the nesting population and data is being collected to add to an international database.
- Together with Natura education, Australia, an environmental education programme has been developed for implementation in local schools, concentrating on the fragile marine and rainforest ecosystems.
- The wages of teachers for a local pesantren (school) are being paid to ensure local support for YPB’s activities.
- International volunteers are being recruited to join the beach patrol activities. The first volunteer joined the programme in November 2008 and the organisation has had since then the pleasure to give volunteers a hands-on conservation experience every month.
- The first tourists have visited Pulau Banyak following the promotional efforts by the foundation through websites, posters and leaflets.
- In March 2009, Maggie Muurmans, co-founder and programme manager, received the prestigious Future for Nature award presented by David Attenborough.
- In Februray 2011, Maggie Muurmans achieved the Woman of the Earth award by Yves Rocher Foundation.
After launching the website and publishing the URL, visitors from all around the world have shown an interest in the activities of the foundation and have signed up for a volunteer position or membership.