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Update from Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK

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  • Michelle Desilets
    Dear Friends of the Orangutan, I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on some developments with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK. Our
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 24, 2006
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      Dear Friends of the Orangutan,

      I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on some developments with the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK.

      Our website continues to be developed, and in recent days some new links and news have been added. One item that deserves particular attention is the new “Create Rainforest” link. This link offers supporters a chance to “purchase” square meters of land for BOS reforestation efforts at our Samboja Lestari Project. Here, you can pay online and receive immediate acknowledgement of your support in the form of a downloadable certificate, and satellite imagery allows you to see precisely where your square meters are. (Please note that these funds are managed by our BOS Germany office.) You can also go directly to www.create-rainforest.org to find out more.

      An interview with BOS UK on BBC Radio Birmingham took place a couple of weeks ago, allowing listeners to learn more about the issues surrounding palm oil and orangutans. Although there is not an online version of this interview available, you can visit a similar interview we did for Pacifica Radio in the US, which was subsequently fed out to local stations nationwide, and is archived online at the following link:
      Go to minute 38.13 for the start of the interview.

      We were pleased to find that the story of palm oil and orangutans made the cover of Geographical magazine (March 2006), and the 11-page article reported on our campaign for sustainable palm oil as well as featured photos of our work in the field.

      The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI) in Washington DC ran a full-page ad in the New York Times this week to draw attention to the link between palm oil and orangutans. (To view the ad in PDF format go to: http://www.cspinet.org/palm/CSPI_Palm_adlr.pdf). Their website has more information as well as an online petition to tell Wal-Mart to use only sustainably sourced palm oil. (http://cspinet.org/new/200603211.html).

      BOS UK, along with other representatives from the Ape Alliance Palm Oil Working Group, has been meeting with DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Minister of Biodiversity to discuss these issues as well. We are pleased that the UK government seems to be taking this situation seriously. Meanwhile, BOS Denmark has enjoyed positive meetings with the Indonesian Ambassador in Copenhagen to draw attention to the matter of the plan for conversion of 1.8 million hectares of forest to palm oil in Kalimantan. However, there remains no definitive answer as to whether this will go ahead as planned. To protest the conversion of this area, be sure to visit http://forests.org/action/alert.asp?id=indonesia.

      BOS UK and Nature Alert continue to campaign for the return of known smuggled orangutans in Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Saudi Arabia. Last week, a letter was faxed to the secretariat of CITES (the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) calling for sanctions against those CITES members failing to take action in these cases. The letter was endorsed by Sir David Attenborough, Dr Richard Leakey and 40 international NGO’s representing millions of supporters worldwide.
      Please be sure to sign the petitions for smuggled orangutans at these sites: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/822035733?ltl=1121612391

      In reaction to my most recent update from the field, Columbus Zoo in the US has kindly offered us $ 5000 for emergency rescue work for wild orangutans at risk in the palm oil plantations. We are very grateful for this support. http://www.colszoo.org

      Our friends at Twycross Zoo have assisted in an episode of The Really Wild Show talking about palm oil and orangutans. The programme will be aired on May 15th, time to be announced. I will certainly send a reminder closer to the date.

      In a couple of weeks, I shall be returning to Borneo. First on the agenda, I will be working with wildlife filmmakers Nick Lyon and Evie Wright of Cockroach Productions and the Orangutan Film Protection Project, who have been instrumental in the sustainable palm oil campaign (their footage taken with us last year featured on special Sky News report which was seen by 18 million people worldwide). With funding from Asda, who have now joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, we will be producing a conflict mitigation video which will be distributed and used to teach palm oil workers and their managers how to prevent and to deal with conflicts with orangutans in their plantations. Find out more at the very comprehensive website: www.cockroach.org.uk.

      A few weeks later, I will be joined by 2 BBC film crews and presenters Michaela Strachen and Steve Leonard to start production on Orangutan Diary, which is due to air for a week next January. The programme will feature Kesi, whom some of you will know from our baby appeal and the palm oil pamphlet. A victim of the conversion of orangutan habitat to palm oil, she lost her hand when her mother was killed. Kesi will soon be launched for the BOS UK Adoption Programme. Look out for details to come.

      On the tail end of the first shoot with BBC, I will be joined by a film crew from Canada, who are making Orangutan Mama, a documentary looking at some of our orangutan babysitters, and how working at Nyaru Menteng has affected their lives, families and communities. Following this, the BBC crews return to our project for the second shoot of Orangutan Diary. I will return to the UK at the end of June. And back to Borneo for August for the third and final shoot of the programme.

      It is with sincerity that I thank you all for your continued interest and support for the survival of the orangutan.

      Kindest regards,

      Michelle Desilets

      Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK

      Michelle Desilets
      BOS UK
      "Primates Helping Primates"

      Please sign our petition to rescue over 100 smuggled orangutans in Thailand:

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