The impetus for setting up the Foundation occurred in 2008, when a site in East Kalimantan that had been leased by the local government for development of an oil palm plantation (ca. 12,000ha), was discovered to consist of a broad, deep wetland covering at least 6,000ha. Following the confirmation that this was not only a critical source of livelihood for a community of traditional fishermen, but also contained more half a dozen species of Endangered animals (two kinds of freshwater crocodiles, two endangered storks, an Endangered species of turtle and at least two Endangered mammals), the company under the advice of Mr. Richard Robinow, Chair of REA Holdings (London) made the decision that a significant portion of the (the Cipta Davia Mandiri estates) area be set aside for conservation. In order to accomplish that, the Yayasan Ulin (Ironwood Foundation) Indonesia came into being in April 2009.
The initial site for the development of active conservation management was unofficially designated the “Danau Mesangat Conservation Area” in 2009, and soon became the focus for donations from the oil palm company, and institutions abroad, both public and private sources eager to make a contribution to in situ conservation of Rare Threatened or Endangered species.
An updated map of locations that have been visited/sampled in Mesangat to date is provided in Appendix IA. An officially surveyed boundary has been certified for the Land Title (Hak Guna Usaha/HGU) of an oil palm company (Appendix 1B). Tentatively, 9,000 hectares of this agricultural title have been designated as a permanent conservation reserve. Boundary surveys will be determined in consultation with local communities, taking into account local economic needs while giving conservation priority to wetlands not suitable for agriculture and occupied by Endangered species.