Dear Friend of OFI,
Today is a turning point for the rainforests of Borneo.
If we do not step in to save them now, they will be gone forever. We urgently need your help!
Not only are trees being cut down, at the horrifying rate of thousands every minute, but also the fires in Indonesia have reached such a level that they now constitute a major global disaster.
The damage inflicted by the fires, which seem to be getting worse every year, is almost immeasurable. Six Indonesian provinces, including Central Kalimantan where Tanjung Puting National Park and OFI’s Care Center are located, declared a state of emergency.
In 2015 almost a third of the Orangutan Legacy Forest burned to the ground. We must start planting new trees, as many as possible, as fast as possible. To replant the burned area of the Orangutan Legacy Forest will require an estimated 2.5 million trees. That is 2.5 million saplings or seeds that must be found, planted, and nurtured for years, protected fiercely so they can grow into large, fecund trees bearing plentiful luscious fruit for orangutans and other wildlife to eat.
We believe we can rise to the challenge of planting 2.5 million saplings to help replenish the forests which burned but, as with everything that happens in Borneo, it is never simple. The very first step involves finding saplings and seeds of species native to the Borneo. There is nowhere that seeds or saplings of native wild trees can be bought.
We must collect our own. Saplings must be collected during the wet season while they are available to transplant. Most fruits ripen during the wet season so only then can we collect seeds. We have only a few months left to collect as many as we can before the dry season starts, planting becomes impossible, and the fires start again. In other parts of Borneo, the fires have already started.
The forest that was destroyed was thousands of years old. There is no time to lose. If we want orangutans to have a future, simply protecting what little forest remains is not enough. We have to do more than stop the bleeding. We must start the healing. We have to start planting trees, now, and we need your help.
If we are to plant 2.5 million trees, there is not a moment to lose. We need funds! To meet the challenge, we need more staff. We will need to train the new staff. We will need agronomists. We will need vehicles to transport laborers, equipment, and seedlings. We will need to build nurseries to house germinating seeds. We will need hoses to water the nurseries. Thousands of plastic bags will need to be filled with soil and the saplings, much like children and young orangutans, will need to be watched over day and night so they don’t die, rot, or wither away.
To begin the process of bringing the dead forests to life so that orangutans and other wildlife can live, we urgently need your help.
For the help you give us, the orangutans and staff of OFI will be grateful forever.
Will you help today?
Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas