Wildlife Conservation Camp (WCC-Part-2): Black-Shouldered Kite, Crested Serpent Eagle, and Asian Forest Tortoise

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The second “Wildlife Conservation Camp” in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, operated by SUMECO in partnership with Singapore’s The Untamed Paths, was conducted while SUMECO demanded to be more focused on rescuing animals nearby Bukit Lawang and Medan city. This second “Wildlife Conservation Camp” has given me a new perspective on where this camp will go.

The team’s arrival in Medan on January 4, 2022, was motivated by good timing to rescue two black-shouldered kites (Eleanus caeruleus) that had been tracked by SUMECO’s surveillance staff. SUMECO’s primary goal will never change; it is dedicated to combating wildlife trafficking.

black shouldered kite eleanus caeruleus

Together with BBKSDASU and TNGL, we have rescued five animals in seven days, they are; two black-shouldered kite (Eleanus caeruleus), two asian forest tortoises (Manouria emys), and one crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela). It was hard working days, but we made it for the best in a short time, once again, in 7 days.

At the second “Wildlife Conservation Camp” the participants were out almost without me during their five activity days in Bukit Lawang. The demand for more animal rescue has led me to prioritize animal rescue over leading participants in biodiversity explorations inside and outside Gunung Leuser National Park.

SUMECO is still struggling financially, but the financial empowerment provided by the second “Wildlife Conservation Camp” in Bukit Lawang has likely convinced wildlife authorities that SUMECO is not in financial trouble. However, a friend from Wildlife Crime Unit has said, SUMECO can’t go down, SUMECO must keep fighting for animals.

“This second Wildlife Conservation Camp in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, has shown me how important it is to keep the work going, although I am the founder of SUMECO, I’ve even started to realize I must keep fight by any help from good friends. The work was not easy, it was about how to keep the money goes to the right way with more animals can be saved” Bobi Handoko (Founder of SUMECO).

protected species of spilornis cheela crested serpent eagle

On the fourth day of the second “Wildlife Conservation Camp” in Bukit Lawang, the authority of Gunung Leuser National Park and SUMECO teamed up to confiscate a protected species of crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela), located about 25 km from Bukit Lawang. A sad poor eagle that has been captivated illegally since it was a chick, had no idea how to fly and hunt.  The eagle has been brought to the SUMECO facility to be taken care of and observed until it’s ready to fly free again. It will take a long time, for sure, but the willingness and the patience are there. It’s SUMECO and GLNP’s commitment, to protect the biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park.

On the same day, we also received information about a villager who lives near Bukit Lawang and was detected keeping a critically endangered Asian forest tortoise (Manouria emys). It even shocks me to have heard. it’s a woman trying to sell a protected species near Bukit Lawang.

manouria emys bukit lawang

On the fourth day of “Wildlife Conservation Camp”, a critically endangered Asian forest tortoise (Manouria emys) has been confiscated by the authority of Gunung Leuser National Park, just few hours after we got the information and managed to find the location of the house. The ongoing trade of protected species around Gunung Leuser National Park, especially around Bukit Lawang, will be of particular concern to SUMECO and the authorities of Gunung Leuser National Park.


While on the other day, during the camp’s trip to Batu Katak Ecotourism which is located 25 km from Bukit Lawang, we witnessed a sad moment to have found a roadkill frogmouth while we were on the way to look for opportunities to enjoy the Leuser biodiversity outside Gunung Leuser National Park, North Sumatra. It is my pleasure to join a highly curious group of Singaporeans The Untamed Paths. I had to admit it is amazing to challenge the curiosity of the people from the third smartest country in the world.

asian forest tortoise

The rescued Asian forest tortoise has been released and returned to Gunung Leuser National Park safely, just a few hours after the rescue. it was known as still wild as it was captured from the wild 3 months ago. Tortoise is grouped as reptiles that are members of the class Reptilia, they are known to be successful animals to survive in the wild. We will keep doing our best to protect our Leuser biodiversity.

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