A charity’s appeal for funds to purchase a precious piece of rainforest in Borneo has won support on social media from a number of celebrity figures.
International Animal Rescue’s Forest Fund appeal aims to raise $260,000 to purchaseand protect 64 acres of forest adjacent to its Orangutan Rescue Centre in West Borneo. The extra land would expand the existing site by 20%, providing additional space for orangutans being prepared for reintroduction into the wild. It would also prevent the forest from being cut down and converted into palm oil plantations.
Watch the Appeal video here
Celebrity figures who are supporting IAR’s appeal on their social media include actor Peter Egan (Downton Abbey), actress Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy), author and broadcaster Simon Reeve, actor Steven Cree (Outlander, Churchill), radio and TV presenter Fearne Cotton, Dr Scott Miller (Vet on the Hill) and model Lucy Pinder.
Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: “It’s heartening that so many people are concerned about the desperate plight of orangutans in Indonesia and the urgent need for action to save them from extinction. By supporting our appeal and sharing it on social media, the public can help us secure this precious piece of forest forever. And support from people in the public eye helps to spread our message even further and faster. In my experience the internet can be a mixed blessing when it comes to issues of animal welfare but certainly, in this instance, it’s proving highly effective for raising awareness and funds to protect this critical piece of orangutan habitat.
We are very grateful to those celebrities who are supporting our appeal and urging their followers to do the same.”
The Indonesian rainforest is disappearing at a breathtaking rate, with less than half its original forest cover remaining. Studies suggest that more than 2.5 million acres are being lost every year and in 2015 alone widespread fires destroyed more than 5 million acres of forest.
Orangutans are being forced out of their forest homes and left with nowhere to go. Many starve to death or are killed when they stray into villages or onto farmland in search of food.
International Animal Rescue’s centre in Ketapang, West Borneo is currently caring for more than 100 orangutans that have been rescued from the devastated forest or from a lifetime in captivity as someone’s pet. Those animals with the potential to return to the wild can spend years in rehabilitation to prepare them for release.
“The rehabilitation process takes a long time and the funds and effort it requires are considerable,” said Karmele Llano Sanchez, Programme Director of IAR Indonesia. “The length of the process depends on each individual. Some are quick to learn, some take longer.”
International Animal Rescue urgently needs more space for the orangutans already in its care and also needs to fund the cost of saving more animals’ lives in the months ahead.
So far the Forest Fund appeal has raised more than $72,000 (£56,000.)
“The appeal has got off to an incredible start,” Alan Knight said: “We still have a long way to go but we’re really encouraged by the response so far and more determined than ever to reach our target and protect and preserve this precious piece of rainforest forever.”
To support the Forest Fund Appeal visit: https://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/forestfund