Chester Zoo and HUTAN: Reforesting Borneo

Chester Zoo

Destruction of tropical rainforest poses one of the biggest global threats to biodiversity and is a major contributor to damaging climate change. A 20 year partnership between Chester Zoo and Malaysian NGO HUTAN has developed practical solutions that have reversed forest loss and restored endangered wildlife in Borneo.

The Zoo's support has enabled the restoration of more than 200ha of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo, creating corridors to link surviving patches of forest, allowing wildlife to move across the landscape. Practical interventions such as orangutan rope bridges and hornbill nest boxes are trialled in the zoo and then implemented in recovering rainforest to give dispersing wildlife a helping hand. The partnership also tackles the major threat to the rainforest in SE Asia by working with small holders and plantation owners to adopt sustainable practices when growing palm oil. These include reducing pesticides and regenerating natural forest corridors between plantations to allow wildlife to disperse. Chester Zoo uses this highly effective model, in its campaign towards deforestation-free supply chains in palm oil and other agricultural commodities. In 2021, this initiative was shortlisted for an Earthshot prize and both HUTAN and Chester Zoo featured on the BBC series narrated by Sir David Attenborough.