Dr. Willie Smits built the Tasikoki animal rescue center at the end of the 1990s, along with a number of other wildlife rescue centers, to combat the illegal trade in wild animals in Indonesia. North Sulawesi is a well-known route for wildlife smuggling from Indonesia to the global market through the Philippines. Endangered animals from across the Indonesian archipelago suffer from this trade route. For example, in addition to the many animal species from Sulawesi the center has currently also animals from Sumatra (e.g. Siamang ape), Borneo (orangutans, gibbons, Sun bears), Java (Javanese Leopard and turtles), Papua (Cassowary, parrots, crocodiles). So Tasikoki is located in a strategic location to help the authorities with tackling this crime and to rehabilitate confiscated animals.

The center has a team of dedicated employees, who take care of the animals, let them recover and, if possible, prepare them for reintroduction into the wild. In addition to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals Tasikoki provides local education programs to raise awareness of the threats for the wildlife and precious biodiversity of Indonesia. The work on the Centre is carried out by local staff led by an international team who only receive food and accommodation for their efforts. They are supported by hard-working volunteers from all over the world. Volunteers participate in the care for the animals and the center and provide a financial contribution that is used for the care and the nutrition of the animals. The black sandy beach that is part of the center extends into a shallow sea grass plateau located a few hundred meters into the sea. Behind it lies a coral reef, after which the water gets very deep quickly. The reef is partially damaged and we try to restore the coral reef by using, among others, bamboo-constructions. The beach is regularly visited by three species of sea turtles that come and lay eggs. We try to take away the eggs because otherwise collectors they dig them up. The turtles that hatch on Tasikoki are released on the beach. Some of the first hatched turtles have already come back as young adults and have laid eggs themselves.The beach is regularly visited by three species of sea turtles that come and lay eggs. We try to take away the eggs because otherwise collectors they dig them up. The turtles that hatch on Tasikoki are released on the beach. Some of the first hatched turtles have already come back as young adults and have laid eggs themselves.