Usman Hadi has been with the RPUs in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra for 5 years. “I know that not everyone can join as RPU members,” he says. We face many steps and rules before becoming members, and I can honestly say that a member of the RPU is the best person for the job.”
Though he has not seen a Sumatran rhino yet on his patrols, he has heard their “songs”. Sumatran rhinos often make vocalizations, perhaps to attract a breeding partner. “I almost saw one,” he says. “I was real close and saw the footprint, but it moved off before I could catch a glimpse.” Still, this close encounter is the most interesting thing that has happened to him on patrol.
Umadi recently married. He enjoys being a part of the survey teams and believes that the RPU program can be the model for on the ground conservation work.
“The RPUs are the best teams and we can protect the Sumatran rhino,” he exclaims.
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Rhino Protection Units (RPUs). The RPU program was established on August 31,1995 and is the frontline protection for Indonesia’s critically endangered rhinos in Java and Sumatra. IRF conducted interviews in the field of RPU members and will be posting a series to the blog to mark the milestone.