The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Orangutans Need Your Help, Borneo is Burning

Breaking News!

Forest fires are breaking out in the Sabangau forests in Central Kalimantan– jeopardizing the lives of the estimated 8,000 wild orangutans living there. Please make a contribution and help us minimize the number of casualties of this threat to the rainforests of Borneo

The burning season has come upon us again– this time with a vengeance. As you read this appeal vast tracts of pristine orangutan habitat are under threat. The land is firmly in the grip of an extreme drought, caused by El Niño.

Once these fires take hold, they burn and burn and can be almost impossible to put out until the rains come again. And if the rains don’t come, huge areas of forest and irreplaceable peat deposits may be lost.

Local residents report the fires devoured the area incredibly quickly, raging through the tinder-dry vegetation, decimating all in its path and burning down into the peat. The fire fighting team reports that orangutan sleeping nests can be seen in trees shrouded in smoke. On the ground, the teams create fire breaks and pump water from nearby canals and bore-holes onto the fires – bore-holes that need to be sixty feet deep to access sufficient water to tackle the fire. It can take up to six hours and teams of three or four trained workers to dig each hole. Extinguishing just one square yard of burning peat takes nearly 80 gallons of water.

These dedicated fire-fighting teams are working round-the-clock and they will continue to do so until the next rains arrive – which could be anywhere from late October to January. But the odds are stacked against them. And they don’t have the resources needed to tackle all the fires. They need your support now to enable them to continue to work effectively to minimize damage to the areas under threat.

The fires and smoke have seriously impeded our efforts in recent weeks to get the wild orangutans airlifted out of the region to the release sites. It is imperative that we do all we can to support the efforts of the fire-fighting teams who are risking their lives on the ground. As has happened during the burning season in the past, we need to be prepared for a guaranteed influx of injured orangutans as a result of these fires. It is vital we have the space to accommodate them.

In 2006 the team battled successfully for five months to save an area of pristine forest. But there were many orangutan casualties. Some survived the devastation. Many did not. More equipment and personnel are essential if the battle against these fires are to be at all successful. Funding is difficult to secure because major fires occur maybe once every three or four years. Guaranteed income and operational costs for the team are crucial for immediate use when fire hits.

Disasters do not wait; they hit hard and fast, with little warning. The team relies on donations, and are very grateful for any and all support.

Please give what you can. And help us stop Borneo from burning.

Thank you.

Lone Droscher Nielsen
Willie Smits
Richard Zimmerman
Please contact us if you have any questions or have the ability to provide much-needed fire-fighting equipment!


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