WRC Jogja was founded in 2010 by YKAY (Yayasan Konservasi Alam Yogyakarta), can translate it into Yogyakarta Nature Conservation Foundation, a non-profit that works with rescue centers in Indonesia. We have been operating as a rescue center since 2003, but under a different name. In 2003, Wild Animal Rescue Centre was established as part of the Indonesian ‘Wildlife Rescue Center Network’ to take temporary care of protected wildlife that have been involved in confiscation operations. The centre also receives wild animals submitted by the community or private owners, with the intent to rehabilitate and release them back to the wild.
In 2007, the ‘network’ collapsed, funding was withdrawn, and our rescue centre fell into disrepair. For three years, lack of funding and support meant the centre struggled with basic daily operation and staff and animals suffered as a result.
Since 2010, the centre has been under new management — Yogyakarta Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAY). The foundation is a non-profit and non-government organization dedicated to Indonesian wildlife conservation. It is registered at the Ministry of Law and Human Right Republic of Indonesia as a legal foundation in Indonesia. It also has permission as a conservation organization from the Ministry of Forestry Republic of Indonesia. Under the new management, we were renamed Wildlife Rescue Centre (WRC) Jogja, and is the centre as we know it today.
We work to rehabilitate the protected animals and return them to their wild homes. However, some of the animals were raised as pets before coming to WRC and have become so mentally impaired that releasing them is no longer an option. Several individuals also have physical disabilities that mean they can never be released into the wild. Furthermore, for those animals which still have the option of release, the transfer is in most cases not possible, partly due to deforestation and insufficient funds. It is very difficult to find suitable release habitat in Java, where protected species can thrive without the threat of poaching or habitat loss.
To date, we have taken in over 1000 animals, and have successfully released over 800. The disparity in those numbers is due largely to translocations. Though our facilities are slowly improving, we still do not have the capacity, staff, or proper enclosures to rehabilitate many species that we help to rescue. Additionally, many of our residents are not from Java (orangutan, sunbears), and therefore must be transported back to a rehabilitation centre in their homeland (usually Borneo or Sumatra). Fortunately, we work closely with other rehabilitation centers around Indonesia, so many animals are transferred to those that are better equipped for intensive rehabilitation programs.
One of our greatest challenges as a charity organization is to obtain financial continuity for operational income. As we are non-profit NGO we accept no funding from the government, nor do we operate our centre for the general public as a zoo. Our main funding comes from the Volunteer Program that we run for animal lovers all over the world to come and gain experience and education of the work that we do here. We also rely heavily on Donations and Animal Adoptions to be able to guarantee feeding everyday, repairing inadequate cages, developing release programs, and staff salaries. We hope to gain enough stability to improve existing enclosures and to develop better wildlife rehabilitation programs for our animals.
A large part of our daily cost – food for the animals – is alleviated by donations. Most of our animal food (fruit and vegetables) is donated by large supermarkets, which is sorted by the staff on a daily basis. The generosity of the supermarkets saves us a massive expense as feeding so many animals twice a day can be very costly, I’m sure you can imagine. It also greatly reduces supermarket waste too.