CAC Sumatra


This update posted October 12, 2013.   


In January-2013, CAC will travel to the front lines of conservation in Sumatra for the purpose of observing wildlife in the context of a broader study of zoo-mediated wildlife reintroductions.  The dates of travel will be from December 30, 2012 to January 13, 2013. 



In Sumatra, the plan (subject to change) is to explore

  • Gunung Leuser National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage that encompasses pristine rainforests and the last vestiges of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino and tiger.

  • Way Kambas National Park, a location where unique species are preserved in isolated pockets of forest. 

  • Bukit Lawang/Bohorok, a place to see orangutans, pig-tail macaques, leaf monkeys, langurs, and siamangs.

  • Tangkahan, a location that offers jungles, clean rivers, elephants and a good example on how community based eco-tourism can stop illegal logging.

Although, access to wildlife can never be guaranteed, our goal will be to make direct observations of as many species as possible. 



While in Sumatra, we will meet with local groups that are struggling to preserve critical habitats, and we will examine the impact stemming from international NGOs.  We will pay particular attention to the attitudes and practices of local people, the impact of ecotourism, and to the roles that the worldwide zoo community is playing in effecting real wildlife conservation in Sumatra. 


Following our field studies, participants will enroll for three credits in ABEC490 (in the Spring semester).  The goal of this course will be to relate the lessons learned in Sumatra to conditions elsewhere in the world, and to the Buffalo Zoo's efforts to reintroduce hellbender salamanders in our own region.  Over the course of the semester, the students will produce multimedia educational modules targeted toward middle-school-aged children. 



  • Undergraduate students will enroll in ABEC 490  for three-credits, and will be obliged to produce three separate modules.  Graduate students will enroll in ANZ 290 for one-credit, and will be obliged to produce one module. 

  • The modules will be made available online to children logging in from anywhere around the world.  They will be established as branches on the larger web site. 

  • The content of the modules will include, but not be limited to, videotaped lectures, wildlife video footage, still images, informational text, editorial opinion pages, action plans, interactive games, interactive quizzes, and feedback forms. 

  • The modules can focus on any topic jointly agreed upon by the student and instructor.  They might, for example, focus upon: 

    • specific species lessons pertaining to Sumatran wildlife (e.g., on orangutan, gibbons, rhinos, etc.) 

    • conservation challenges unique to Sumatra 

    • third World conservation challenges 

    • conservation success stories 

    • ecotourism 

    • efforts to bridge the First-World/Third-World gap as it pertains to wildlife conservation 

    • reintroductions of zoo-bred animals (orangutans, rhinos, black-footed ferrets, hellbenders, etc.) 

    • etc. 

  •  As an alternative, involvement in the Buffalo Zoo hellbender release program for forty hours can take the place of one module.


The student's cost will be $3900 (plus the cost of food and any immunizations). 


Limited Spaces:

Space in this project will be allocated competitively and limited to six students.


Application Process:

Applications can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Written applications are due on October 25, 2012.


Award Announcements:

The CAC-Sumatra team will be announced October 31, 2012.


Contact Info: Michael Noonan, PhD, Canisius College , 2001 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14208