O my, what a subject: One could get a book filled and not having it all covered.. So I will briefly tell you why I chose:
I would like to stress at this point that the length of my paragraphs doesn't have anything to do with a preference or importance these charities have. I only am learning about these things since a short while, and this is basically all I know. As I go along and learn more I will elaborate on the one or the other, and will add more 'related links' to the menu.
It is important to see that these charities are all addressing the matter of how humans live together with animals, how land is exploited and how to avoid that, and the safety of endangered species. They just look at those things from slightly different angles. This is a very good thing because otherwise a lot of important issues might be overlooked.
On the other hand the problems this planet and it's inhabitants are facing are so manyfold and these charities are all non-profit organisations, thus depending on donations: Money is always short!
That raises the question: Where to start? It is a matter of prioritisation within an extremely stressed global environment - I do not envy the ones who voluntarily took on this mammoth task. They maybe dealing with problems thousands of miles away, but in the end of the day they are working to save our bums. So let's get ours up and give them the support they need and deserve!
BOS - Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation I initially chose for the cute Orangutans. I had seen the Orangutan Diaries on the telly featuring the Nyaru Menteng Project and was hooked. Then it got a bit more complicated:
There is BOS International on their website called 'Save the Orangutan' and then there are independent charities which are affiliated to it like BOS UK called 'Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Orangutan Outreach in the US and in Australia it is getting completely confusing with BOS Australia and The Australian Orangutan Project which is supporting the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.
This is quite a bit of Orangutan, Survival, Borneo and Foundation going on, isn't it? And we haven't even touched the fact that there are Orangutans on Sumatra as well. Then I met Grainne McEntee on Twitter who is posting for BOS (@savetheorang) who got me started in my research.
And this is what I found out: There are several Orangutan projects going on in Malaysia and Indonesia and all the BOS affiliates are raising funds and supporting those projects. Their main focus is to give injured, starved and orphaned Orangutans a home and nurse them back to health until they can go back into the wild again. Additionally they are campaigning against use of palm oil which is not from sustainable sources and the destruction of Orangutan habitat.
It however seems to be difficult to donate to a specific project. I for example was so attached to the Nyaru Menteng project featured by the Orangutan diaries, but I wasn't sure which of the BOS affiliates to use. I now know that BOS UK is sort of the fund-raising equivalent of Nyaru Menteng. While Lone Droscher-Nielsen founded the project in Indonesia, Michelle Desilets founded BOS UK to find the much needed financial support - well, that is the very short version, their bios on the BOS UK web site are much more informative.
Given all the above I decided to link BOS UK into our charity column to the right.
OLT - Orangutan Land Trust is the new charity kid on the block. Above I said: '... nursing Orangutans back to health until they can go back into the wild again.' Problem being: There is not a lot of 'wild' left over where they could go. And the bit that is still there is destroyed at the speed of light.
So Michelle just recently set out to tackle this problem and founded Orangutan Land Trust. Her aim is to raise money to secure the land for the charity - to make it untouchable. One has to remember that palm oil is big money, and big money can buy everything. Governments might declare a plot as safe, but if they need a bit of cash they only care little about Orangutans or whether or not global warming will kick our bums. So far the places Lone managed to release Orangutans into are almost inaccessible so not very interesting for the logging companies. It however costs immense effort and money to reach these places with boxed up Orangutans.
Nevertheless, in September 2009 46 Orangutans went back into the wild - 46 of 600 that is: Just to give you an idea about the dimensions we are talking about. Those 600 are living in Nyaru Menteng, which is the biggest rescue operation in the world, but there are many more living in other projects.
So history repeats itself a bit: While Lone is keeping things together in Nyary Menteng, Michelle is doing the fundraising, just this time with a bit of a different focus.
But not just that: Additionally OLT is to provide a platform for Orangutan organisations around the world to work together towards a common cause.
For me all of the above is a good reason to put Orangutan Land Trust up on our menu board, and of course I met her on Twitter (@orangutans)
PS: In October 2009 I decided to make OLT Incredible Ladies main charity. On occasion and on request we will take action on behalf of other charities as well, but my personal focus will stay on OLT.
Oh well, she started it all. Diane Fossey who did for Gorillas what Jane is doing for Chimpanzees might be better known to the public because of her tragic end, but for me Jane is the godmother of animal field research. I got her book about her life between chimps when I was about 15 years old and it never left me. I even did a seminar talk for my biologie class at school when my chimpanzee language skills of that time were much apprechiated by my school mates; luckily by my teacher as well - I still have the book. Jane now has lifted her work onto an higher level and is promoting a more holistic approach. Please watch her talk on TED. She will explain it better than I will ever be able to.
So up she goes to our board on behalf of all Chimpanzees and humans. BTW: she is a Tweety (@JaneGoodallInst)
LEAP Spiral: I met Cynthia Ong the founder of LEAP on Twitter (@gaiksuan) and was fascinated by her energy. On reading through the LEAP website I just liked all the stuff they are doing. She has been tweeting pictures of the sun bear enclosure and reporting about the meetings she had with high ranking people to raise funds and ensure the future of the projects. Her pragmatic but persistent approach is quite to my liking. Like the others listed above: A truly incredible Lady!
World Land Trust I like for the land conservation approach. Again, like Orangutan Land Trust they realised that one needs to secure the land the animals live on. In contrast to OLT who focus on Orangutans, the WLT have projects all over the world and are working to protect many different types of endangered animals, by supporting project partner organisations such as LEAP in their endeavours. World Land Trust hosted the 'The Great Ape Debate: The Controversy Surrounding Orang-utan Conservation' in April 2009 and are holding a follow up, The Red Ape Debate - the future for the Orangutan on 27th November 2009. World Land Trust can be found on Twitter (@worldlandtrust)
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