There are very few virgin islands in the world that have not been significantly impacted by human activities. These islands of wilderness are often the last refuge of endemic and endangered species. Their survival, including preservation of a unique island ecosystem, is entirely in human hands.

One of these islands is Bangkaru. It is covered by a primary forest and next to many species of fauna and flora it is home to critically endangered birds such as the silvery pigeon (Columba argentina). The beaches of this islands also serve as important nesting places for sea turtles, especially for green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and leatherbacks sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).

The protection of the island of Bangkaru is ensured by rangers under organisation Ecosystem Impact Foundation and the Indonesian government environment agency BKSDA. The rangers regularly monitor the beach and the forest from illegal activities, collecting data on turtle nesting and the occurrence of rare bird species. Thanks to this activity, rangers under Ecosystem Impact and their partners including Liberec Zoo has reduced the poaching on the island to a minimum.

Ecosystem Impact wants to extend this protection to other islands in the region, which are covered by primary forest and home to endangered species. Babi and Lasia are two pristine deep-sea islands covered by primary forest and surrounded by tropical reef ecosystems. The protection of the islands of Bangkaru, Babi and Lasia has also become the subject of conservation during the EAZA campaign Silent Forest.

Ecosystem Impact also provides and supports education and awareness on the island of Simeulue. Ecosystem Impact is part of a group of environmentally minded organisations, including Mahi-Mahi Surf Resort and a company for processing sustainable certified virgin coconut oil called āluān. Both of these activities support the organization’s conservation projects, but they do not fully cover the costs of protecting the islands. Therefore any financial donation is very welcomed.

To take you on a journey to Bangkaru Island we are privileged to share this short film by award-winning photojournalist Paul Hilton and Alex Westover filmed with Ecosystem Impact in December 2019.

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The founder is the Statutory City of Liberec