Prague Zoo contributes to the conservation of Balikpapan Bay and the “Borneo Beer Drinkers”


14. 11. 2018

Prague Zoo has started giving financial support to the Pesisir Balikpapan Project, which has been running in the Balikpapan Bay on the island of Borneo under Czech leadership since 2007. Its aim is to protect this highly valuable natural area, which is home to, among other things, a population of about 2,000 Proboscis Monkeys, given the nickname the Borneo beer drinker here in the Czech Republic. Due to a lack of finance, this project was threatened with a premature end, so Prague Zoo’s management has decided to give it some financial support for twelve months.

Photo: Vít Lukáš, Prague Zoo Photo: Vít Lukáš, Prague Zoo

“We have earmarked CZK 31,800 a month from our ‘We Help them to Survive’ account”, explains Miroslav Bobek, the zoo’s director, “this will pay the staff carrying out monitoring in the field, cover the costs of running the ship and project administration. I believe that, thanks to Prague Zoo’s visitors and sponsors, who contribute to our collection account, the project, led by primatologist Stanislav Lhota, will be able to maintain, and perhaps also conserve, the valuable territories that the Proboscis Monkeys inhabit.”

This comprehensive project includes research activities, environmental education in schools, public campaigns and discussions to declare Balikpapan Bay a new nature reserve. It’s not just about saving the Proboscis Monkeys, but also about 450 km2 of unique rainforest and the concomitant coastline - which are threatened by palm oil plantations and expanding industry. The local coastal mangroves and forests are home to many other endangered animals, including orangutans and Sun Bears.

“If we manage to save the Proboscis Monkey’s environment, it will increase many other species’ chances of survival whilst at the same time preserving the livelihoods of traditional fishing villages where the healthy mangroves provide rich catches of fish and crustaceans,” said the project’s organizer and researcher from Ústí nad Labem Zoo, Stanislav Lhota. “I firmly believe that with the financial help of Prague Zoo and the support of MEP Pavel Poc, who has mediated negotiations with key figures in Indonesia, we’ll be able to conserve this unique site with all its beauties.”

Photo: Vít Lukáš, Prague ZooPhoto: Vít Lukáš, Prague Zoo