The story of kalaweit
In 1998, aged 18, he left for Indonesia with the support of actress Muriel Robin, who financed his trip. He wanted to devote himself to the protection of the gibbons he knew to be threatened by the disappearance of the forests.
Once there, he realised that deforestation exceeded what he had imagined and the serious threat it posed to wildlife, especially gibbons. Living in the trees, they are the first to be affected if the forest disappears.
He then created a first care center in Borneo (Kalimantan), to collect the gibbons rescued from trafficking as there was no infrastructure, then, to receive these animals. In 2003, he opened a second health center on the island of Sumatra and created the Kalaweit FM radio station which broadcasts in Borneo to a young audience.
Since 2012, the organisation has been buying hectares of forest to create protected private reserves, the size of which is increasing each year. They allow the creation of micro reserves where wild animals are safe from deforestation and trafficking.
Kalaweit means “gibbon” in Dayak, the majority ethnic group of the island of Borneo.
The organisation supports biodiversity in general but remains, today, the largest project in the world that saves gibbons.
In Indonesia, forests are destroyed because of mining and logging, but especially for the production of palm oil. Young gibbons are captured and become pets but, at around 7 years of age, they reach sexual maturity, become aggressive and are killed. When the young are captured, the parents are often killed.
Muriel Robin is the organisation’s patron.
Thousands of animals have been rescued by Kalaweit: gibbons and siamangs but also bears, macaques, crocodiles, binturongs, reptiles, birds, etc.
Most, other than gibbons and siamangs, have been released. A large number of gibbons and siamangs, which are much harder to release (territorial, fragile, etc.), will not be able to return to the wild and will remain at Kalaweit.
More than 6,000 gibbons are thought to be illegally kept in captivity on the islands of Borneo, Sumatra and Java alone. Kalaweit cannot rescue them all.
Through its tireless efforts in the field, the association can succeed in giving at least some of these gibbons and other animals a much better life. In certain cases even offer them a future within protected forest zones.
Giving a second chance to animal victims of trafficking
Most of the time, animals are kept in unsuitable conditions: cramped cages, stressful environments, with nutritional deficiencies, an absence of stimuli and companions … Under these conditions, their life expectancy is often short. If they survive, they are unfortunately often killed by their owner at the age of sexual maturity, around 6/7 years old, because they have become unmanageable.
For some, the long process of re-adaptation to the wild life is possible. For example, animals that do not carry human diseases must be selected to avoid contaminating populations of wild gibbons.
Many of the gibbons collected carry diseases such as herpes simplex and hepatitis which makes it impossible to release them.
Protecting Indonesia’s forests
The creation of protected areas is essential for saving the gibbons.
Awareness of the need to protect the environment is increasing, particularly among people who live close to the forests and see these being destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations. Other industrial activities, such as coal mining, gold mining, diamond mining, etc. are exacerbating this deforestation.
In view of the magnitude of the devastation, Kalaweit is reinforcing the protection of the forests. It is developing even closer relationships with the villagers and the authorities with the aim of expanding the area included in the protected zones and thereby preserving the wild animals who live in these./p>
Raising awareness among indonesians of the need to respect wildlife – Kalaweit FM
A future for biodiversity and for the gibbons will be possible if the younger generation realises the importance of preserving the environment.
So, in 2003, Kalaweit created the Kalaweit FM radio station which broadcasts in Borneo. Its’ programs are for young people (music, games …). Short messages with an environmental theme are broadcast every hour, making it possible to raise awareness in a population that Kalaweit would not have been able to reach, otherwise.
The audience call in to inform us about any animals kept illegally or in distress. This radio station has become very popular and is a great communication tool: more than 65% of the animals collected were thanks to the reports from listeners.
Raising awareness in the general public is also achieved by communicating through social networks and other media (press, radio, TV, internet).
The good relationships that Kalaweit has developed with the local populations and partners has allowed us to spread our message in favor of biodiversity.
Integrating the local populations and the authorities
Involving the local populations and the authorities in implementation of the project is crucial. Hiring local people creates a link and a closer relationship with the villagers, encouraging them to take an interest in protecting their forest and its fauna. Kalaweit provides medical care for free to the employees and their family.
Involving the authorities in the project is also fundamental. The fight against poachers or against illegal logging is conducted in cooperation with the Indonesian police, who thereby openly support the work of the association.
Kalaweit refuses to:
- Subject animals to euthanasia in the context of population management. Euthanasia can be performed only as a last resort in the case of a dying animal or an animal suffering constant pain or distress.
- Buy or sell wild animals.
- Buy or sell wild animal parts.
- To sterilise animals by castration. Sterilisation (vasectomy) will always be chosen.
- Dispatch an animal to a zoo or any other establishment.
- Conduct any activity causing suffering of an animal.
- Conduct any activity that is against the laws in force.
Board of directors:
Chanee: President and Founder of Kalaweit
Jean-Marc Bouve: treasurer
Carine Le Thanh: secretary
Constance Cluset: in charge of Kalaweit France
85 employees work for Kalaweit including the vets, technicians, cooks, wardens and accountants, radio hosts, all play a crucial role and enable Kalaweit to exists.
|Expenses 2019||€ / year||Distribution|
|Wages and payroll charges (80 employees)||195 160||21,63 %|
|Food & cares for animals||106 014||11,74 %|
|Running costs France||95 997||10,63 %|
|Servicing of infrastructures||47 607||5,28 %|
|Transport and logistics||56 544||6,27 %|
|Running costs Indonesia||13 728||1,53 %|
|Purchase of forests||387 413||42,92 %|
|Total||902 463||100 %|
Here are the report or our last Annual General Assembly. It contains the financial and moral reports of Kalaweit France and Yayasan Kalaweit Indonesia for each year (reports in french).