About Lestari

Lestari organization was founded in 2014 by Czech scientists and conservationists. The beginning of the organization is linked to activities to raise awareness about the negative impacts of the palm oil industry on the environment. During the awareness campaign about palm oil, the organization introduced one of the biggest global environmental problems to the Czech public. The main goal of the campaign was to raise awareness and draw attention to the fact that even our decisions have a global impact and that even ordinary consumers can fluence what happens elsewhere on our planet.
After successful education about palm oil in the Czech Republic, Lestari later began to focus more on the comprehensive protection of endangered species and ecosystems. Among the pillars of the organization’s activities are research based on the collection of relevant data, support of anti-poaching activities, investigative activities focused on the smuggling of wild animals, documentation of nature and the threats it faces.
On the following lines you can read more about the activities and species that Lestari organization focus on.

Sea turtle research and conservation

Our team members are currently involved in sea turtle research where the first part of the research is devoted to a questionnaire survey and focuses on hunting and ways of using sea turtles. A questionnaire survey in local communities will help reveal the mechanisms of sea turtle consumption and trade and its socio-economic and cultural causes. The second part of the research focuses on the identification of the genetic structures of the populations of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) that nest on the beaches of Sumatra. Knowledge of the genetic composition is important, for example, for the identification of migration routes and for conservation planning. The research results will also contribute to the ShellBank database, which aims to trace the origin of turtle shell products nationally and internationally. These activities take place in cooperation with other experts and scientists from the Asia-Pacific Marine Turtle Genetic Working Group, Universitas Syiah Kuala (Banda Aceh, Indonesia) and the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.

Protection of the Nias Hill Myna
Hill myna (Gracula robusta) is an endemic species of Nias Island and the Banyak Archipelago, which was considered extinct in the last twenty years. In the summer of 2015, the team (Zoo Liberec / Lestari / Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague) 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 from the scientists was not hidden from the poachers. These birds are still taken from the wild to meet the demand for songbirds for competitions or as pets. Our goal is to protect the last populations of hill mynas in the wild by monitoring their occurrence, finding and identifying other possible populations and disrupting organized groups that focus on hunting and trading these birds.

Fighting animal smugglers
The rate of poaching is increasing at a tremendous rate. This goes hand in hand with diminishing wildlife habitat, human population growth and the use of communication technology. It is a problem for a wide range of species, but some are threaten even more due to high demand from the end customers. This is the case of hill myna or sunda pangolin (Manis javanica). Both of these species are on the edge of extinction due to trade.
Lestari organization, together with the Kukang Rescue Program, was behind the establishment of an international investigative team to combat wildlife smuggling. The group targets more important figures in the chain of smuggling in order to disrupt the trade with maximal impact. The investigation team is advised by EAGLE Network.

Protection of Bangkaru Island

Bangkaru is one of the last places on Earth where there is still intact and therefore unique primary forest. The island is located on the northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Bangkaru is one of the last places where there is a viable population of the critically endangered nias hill myna. In addition, Bangkaru Island is one of the most important nesting sites for endangered green sea turtles in Indonesia.There are up to 10 females laying eggs on the local beaches every night throughout the year. In addition, a critically endangered population of leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) nest here and silvery pigeon (Columba argentina), which was considered extinct, has been observed on the island.
Lestari cooperates swith the local NGO Ecosystem Impact Foundation, which runs the ranger program on the island to protect sea turtles and other species from poachers and simultaneously monitor the nesting activity of the turtles.. In addition, we cooperate with marine patrols in the Pulau Banyak archipelago to support protection of the island of Bangkaru and all endangered species that occur there.


In close cooperation with the Liberec Zoo, Lestari organization forms nature conservation activities with other entities as well. In addition to the already mentioned organization Ecosystem Impact, it also cooperates with the Conservation Response Unit. With this organization, they start the production of paper from elephant dung in Sumatra. This project supports an alternative source of income for local residents from the sale of paper souvenirs.
With the community organization Tebat Rasau on Belitung Island, Lestari supports the protection of wetlands and the adjacent forest, where critically endangered species of freshwater turtles such as the malaysian giant turtles (Orlitia borneensis) are found.

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IBAN: CZ14 0800 0000 0000 0802 0612
Variable symbol: 81200002

Lestari cooperates with

Tebat Rasau

Tebat Rasau is a community devoted to protecting the environment against widespread environmental threats around the village Lintang on the Island of Belitung and for support of cultural heritage. The name Tebat Rasau is taken from the local language where tebat means a dam and rasau means an aquatic plant, concretely Pandanus helicopus

Members of the Tebat Rasau community are mostly people born in the area thus they are familiar with local ecosystems both in the river and in the forest. The area where Tebat Rasau is located still holds a population of Malaysian Giant Turtle Orlitia borneensis, Asiatic Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea, Belitung Island Tarsier Tarsius bancanus saltator and other species yet to be identified. The community tries not to disturb any of these species in the habitat they occupy and moreover educate other people not to catch, hold or eat these endangered species and explain the complexity of healthy and functioning ecosystem.

The community work is to ensure that every member of the community or visitor fish only for their own consumption and solely those species that are fully grown and abundant with using non-invasive practices. There should be also mentioned that juvenile individuals of caught fish are immediately released back to the water in order to allow them to mature and spawn.

Another important part of Tebat Rasau is a mediation and transmission of knowledge of local nature together with traditions and regional language to other people, tourists and especially to young people in order not to lose the connections with their origins.


To manage and protect local ecosystems and biodiversity in accordance with local wisdom, fairness, sustainability and welfare of the Belitung people.

By means of:

  • Implementing and promoting conservation practices based on science, innovation and local wisdom; 
  • Building coalitions and partnerships with civil society, working with private organizations engaged in environmental conservation as well as government to ensure sustainable development; 
  • Promote environmental conservation values ​​by increasing awareness and taking action within the community. 

Ecosystem Impact

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.


Conservation Response Unit

As the human population grows, so does the space for wildlife decreases. This leads to increasing conflicts between wildlife and people. One example are elephants in Asia and Africa. With their size and appetite, they can decimate crop fields of small farmers in a very short time. However, these farmers are completely dependent on the their crops and its destruction can be a serious existential problem for them. Thus, these conflicts can often result in the death of both wildlife and humans. The fact that elephants follow the same migration routes for generations also brings other problems. People sometimes put new buildings or crop fields in their paths and a new conflict is not far away. Solving these conflicts requires comprehensive approach and knowledge of the surrounding factors.

The Conservation Response Unit in Aceh, Sumatra, focuses on preventing and solving human-wildlife conflict. This province is largely still covered with primary rainforest where orangutans, tigers, rhinos and the elephants live side by side. Thanks to this unique position, the organization also monitors the area against activities such as illegal logging and poaching and thus contributing to the protection of the entire ecosystem. Awareness-raising among local people and education is also an integral part of the organization’s activities.

The CRU utilizes captive trained elephants, their mahouts, forest rangers and local community representatives for direct, successful field-based conservation interventions. These units support the conservation of wild elephants and habitat by actively managing key elephant habitats, mitigating HEC developing, installing and maintaining barriers, and achieving positive outcomes for both elephants and people by implementing alternative yet compatible livelihoods such as ecotourism for local communities.

Diverse conservation strategies are needed to secure biodiversity. In-situ and ex-situ approaches are not mutually exclusive; no single method of conservation is optimal for all situations, and no single method succeeds alone. Different conservation systems can complement each other and provide insurance against the shortcomings of any one method. Ultimately, the success of both in-situ and ex-situ approaches depends on forging strong links between the two, hence the CRU concept was developed. Implemented in various strategic locations in Sumatra, the CRU concept has been the main field instrument to provide purpose for the non-releasable elephants held in the camps, and through their work prevent new captures. The CRUs work to demonstrate that the capture of wild elephants is not the best option when various alternative human-elephant conflict mitigation approaches and strategies are available.

The long-term conservation of elephants in Sumatra requires that elephants and people co-exist with minimal conflict. Otherwise demands made to the government by the people for the removal of elephants will be difficult to ignore, resulting ultimately in the collapse of elephant populations on the island. Appropriate methods to mitigate elephant-human conflict in Sumatra need to be identified before the situation reaches a point of no return.

Local community participation in CRU patrols pioneers a forest protection scheme. Conventional forest protection systems rely only on the work of government employed forest rangers and have not been as effective as needed. Local communities adjacent to the forests are important stakeholders that need to be part of forest management and protection programs and benefit from them. In CRU project sites, community-based forest protection has been shown to be the most effective and sustainable way to protect the forest.

Elephants in human care also contribute to anchoring a positive relationship between humans and elephants and nature in general. Tourists can also visit the organization in the village of Sampoiniet or Tangkahan to see the elephants or do a trek into the forest and thus support the organization. However, this is a secondary and controlled activity of the organization, where high standard care for elephants is ensured.

The Conservation Response Unit works closely with the Indonesian government environment agency BKSDA, Gunung Leuser National park and the Veterinary Faculty of Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, where they work together to share veterinary care for elephants and the practice of veterinary students.