who we are

About us

We are a non profit organization that works in research and conservation of critically endangered species and ecosystems. The NGO Lestari was founded in 2014 by Czech scientists and conservationists with the aim to promote and support conservation mainly in Indonesia..

The beginning of NGO Lestari is connected with activities on raising awareness about the negative impacts of the palm oil industry. During the awareness campaign about palm oil, we brought one of the biggest global environmental problems closer to the Czech public. The main goal of the campaign was to raise awareness and draw attention to the fact that our decisions also have a global impact and that even an ordinary consumer can jointly prevent the use of palm oil in food, cosmetics and other products.

Throughout the years we have started focusing more on island ecosystems and endangered species that inhabit them. Currently, we have three project areas - the protection of Bangkaru and Babi island, Nias hill myna conservation, and sea turtle conservation and research.

our mission

What we do?

Conserving island ecosystems

We help to preserve the unique island ecosystems and the last wild places.

Protecting endangered species

We focus on critically endangered species. Our aim is to halt the extinction process by finding long term solutions and implementing conservation measures based on research.

Promoting sustainable livelihoods

We promote sustainable living in local communities through community outreach, education and practical training. We want people and nature to coexist in a strong and balanced connection.

what is happening

News

Yet to come ...

our team

Meet our core team

Tomáš Brzek

vice-chair

Pavel Zoubek

conservationist

Tomáš Ouhel

chair

Projects

Hidden wildlife paradise

Treasure islands: Bangkaru and Babi

Bangkaru and Babi island are one of the last places on Earth where there is still untouched and thus unique pristine primary forest. The islands are located on the north-west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is one of the last places where critically endangered populations of Nias hill myna (Gracula robusta) occur. Besides this, Bangkaru island is one of the most important nesting sites of endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Indonesia. There are up to 10 nesting individuals per night coming to lay the eggs on the local beaches throughout the year. Critically endangered population of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) also lay eggs on Bangkaru and Babi island.

On the protection of Bangkaru island we cooperate with local NGO Ecosystem Impact Foundation that runs a ranger program on the Bangkaru and monitors the surroundings of Babi and regularly participates on sea patrols in the archipelago Pulau Banyak.

Filling missing gaps

Sea turtle research and conservation

Currently our team members participate in a long-term research of sea turtle trade and hawksbill and green sea turtle population genetics across Indonesia. As a part of the Marine Turtle Use and Trade Initiative community based surveys are conducted in local villages. Questionnaire surveys and interviews help to reveal information mechanisms and patterns of trade in sea turtles and its socio-economic and cultural drivers. Furthermore, research and subsequent analyses of hawksbill turtle population genetics will help to identify management units for further conservation planning. Study results will also contribute to the ShellBank database that aims to track the origin of tortoiseshell products on both national and international level. These activities are being done in cooperation with other experts and scientists from Marine Turtle Genetic Working Group, Syiah Kuala University (Banda Aceh), and Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.

Reverting its extinction

Nias hill myna

Nias hill myna (Gracula robusta) is an endemic species of the island of Nias and the Banyak archipelago, which has been considered extinct in the last twenty years. In the summer of 2015, our team (Liberec Zoo / Lestari / Czech University of Life Sciences) managed to find two surviving individuals on the island of Nias and in December of the same year a viable population on the island of Bangkaru. However, what was hidden to researchers was not hidden to poachers. These birds are still taken from the wild to feed the demand. Our aim is to protect the last populations of nias hill mynas in the wild via direct protection and awareness raising.

how it started

History

In 2016, Lestari members in cooperation with Liberec Zoo and the Indonesian army arrested a gang of turtle egg poachers. The massive turtle egg poaching caused a zero hatching rate for several months on Bangkaru island. During this action, three poachers were arrested and sentenced for prison for 1 and half years.

Poachers from Bangkaru were later invited to join our educational programs at local schools. Poachers together with our team visited 30 schools on Sumatra in total. The program focused on education about sea turtles, marine ecosystem, and the importance of its conservation. The students got familiar with the story of the poachers and had an opportunity to discuss how people should behave towards nature.

As a natural follow-up on successful events from Bangkaru, Sumatra in sea turtle conservation, two more actions were initiated in the Derawan archipelago close to East Kalimantan. In 2019, more than 1200 turtle eggs and explosives for blast fishing were seized at a fishermen boat. During the second action, tortoiseshell jewelry and raw scutes from more than 300 hawksbill turtles were acquired from local vendors. Again, both events were conducted in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Indonesian colleagues involved in the events were given a “Biodiversity Tree” award for their extraordinary contribution to biodiversity conservation. During the ceremony, the awards were handed over by the Czech Ambassador in Indonesia Mr. Ivan Hotek.