Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday night I attended the Please Release Me event for the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) foundation at Name This Bar, Darlinghurst. It was a fun, wild night with flowing cocktails, rocking entertainment and live street art that was created throughout the event and then auctioned at the end of the night.
The fundraiser was to raise much needed funds for the world-first large scale release of endangered Orangutans back into the wild. With the help of the Indonesian Forestry Ministry the Orangutans will be released into a former timber concession restored into natural forest by PT Orangutan Habitat Restoration Indonesia.
I went to Borneo for my honeymoon and visited the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary. I witnessed firsthand the heartbreaking destruction of the Orangutan habitat by slash and burn methods to farm palm oil. Hunters are sent out to shoot any surviving Orangutans and sometimes when a mother is shot the hunters can't bring themselves to also kill the baby. These orphans often end up in sanctuaries.
Without these sanctuaries Orangutans would be left to die, poached for bushmeat or sold into the illegal pet trade or as 'entertainment'. I once saw a documentary on the ABC that included the BOS rescue of an Orangutan that was being used as a sex slave in a brothel. I won't go into the details but it is hard to comprehend something like that occurring.
There are only 50,000 Orangutans living in the wild today and that number is ever decreasing. A huge thank you to the BOS for doing their part in helping to save Orangutans from extinction. If you would like more information or to make a donation please visit http://www.orangutans.com.au/
You can also help without making a monetary contribution by making smart choices. Please avoid buying products that contain palm oil and support the labelling of products to indicate when palm oil is an ingredient. Peace.