Halesworth charity raises £1 million to save rainforest home of orangutans
PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 May 2014
Halesworth charity World Land Trust (WLT) has raised one million pounds to save the rainforest home of orangutans and other endangered wildlife in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
The announcement was made during a celebration of World Land Trust’s 25th Anniversary, “Saving Paradise: An Acre-by-Acre Journey”, which took place in London.
Hosted by Sir David Attenborough, the evening event commemorated WLT’s success in protecting the world’s most biologically important habitats during the past quarter century.
John Burton, CEO and founder of World Land Trust, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Borneo Rainforest Appeal. We had an ambitious target and I am delighted to say that our supporters responded very generously.”
The million pounds will safeguard the Keruak Corridor, a critically important strip of forest along the north bank of the Kinabatangan River.
Orangutans need to roam over large areas of forest in order to find a mate and form viable populations.
But when trees are felled, these magnificent, endangered mammals become marooned in islands of forest, cut off from one another.
Keeping the Keruak Corridor forested will protect the link between two existing forest reserves and enable orangutans to move freely throug hmore than 10,000 acres of forest.
Other species will also benefit from the corridor including pygmy elephants and proboscis monkey.
WLT’s Borneo Rainforest Appeal was organised in partnership with Hutan, a conservation NGO based in Sabah, which is one of the few remaining Orangutan strongholds.
Dr Isabelle Lackman, co-director of Hutan, said: “Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of all World Land Trust’s supporters and partners, we are now in the process of purchasing and permanently protecting a strategically important corridor of forest along the River Kinabatangan.
“The protection of the forest is crucial for the protection of species, and by connecting forests that are fragmented we know we can save viable populations of Orangutans.”
• World Land Trust has had its headquarters in Suffolk since the trust was formed in 1989. In 1995 WLT opened an office in Blyth House, Bridge Street, Halesworth.
* The art galley at WLT, Blyth House, Bridge Street, Halesworth, is currently showing an exhibition of paintings by artist and illustrator Jackie Morris from her book “Songs of the Golden Hare.”