- Patron & Ambassador
Renowned environmentalist, anthropologist and orangutan expert, Dr Birute Mary Galdikas, sits on the board of both Orangutan Foundation International and our local chapter, Orangutan Foundation International Australia.
Dr Galdikas first came to Borneo’s Tanjung Puting Reserve in 1971 and set up the Camp Leakey research site, named after esteemed anthropologist Louis Leaky. Camp Leakey became the home base for international orangutan research which continues to this day.
It was through Dr Galdikas’ four decades of devotion that she came to be offered a unique deal.
It was an opportunity to purchase a 6,400 acre plot of land known as the Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest.
Wedged between an existing palm oil plantation and a zircon mine .. it was a sought after piece of land for plantation owners. But the tribal owners, saddened and displaced by the devastation of their tradition lands, decided to try something different and the land was FIRST offered to Birute and her Foundation for US$640,000.
However, there was a catch. Orangutan Foundation International had very little time to come up with the money as there was a purchase deadline of December, 2012.
Against the odds, Orangutan Foundation International Australia raised a staggering $250,000, mostly in the form of interest free loans, which we now need to raise funds to be pay back. That money, combined with funds raised by OFI in Borneo, has allowed us to purchase the glorious Rawa Kuno Legacy Forest.
It’s ours .. or more precisely .. it’s THEIRS.
Rawa Kuno now belongs to the orangutans now …. the rightful owners.
We are absolutely thrilled that Dr. Galdikas has agreed to be our patron and we warmly welcome her to the Orangutan Foundation International Australia family.