Pellys Employment Lawyer, Victoria Pratley is oranged for Orangutans!
Employment Solicitor, keen charity fundraiser and animal lover, Victoria Pratley, based at Pellys' offices in Cambridge will be embarking on the trip of a lifetime to Borneo at the end of April. Vikki has signed up to be a volunteer for six weeks working in the Indonesian rainforest to support the Orangutan Foundation.
Vikki says "I first got involved with the Orangutan Foundation when I persuaded my work colleagues at Pellys to come into work wearing orange (and to make a donation for doing so!) to raise awareness and money for the "Orange for Orangutan Day" in November last year. This was because, although I was aware of the plight of the Orangutan, I was shocked to learn that Orangutans are now only found in the remaining tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the Bornean Orangutan is classified as endangered and the Sumatran Orangutan critically endangered. Recent estimates put the Bornean species at less than 54,000 individuals and the Sumatran species at 6,600 individuals. Therefore, I wanted to help the Foundation with the amazing work that it already does.
After some research I discovered a fantastic volunteer programme which the Foundation has been running for 11 years. The programme provides an amazing and unique opportunity to work in the rainforest of Borneo to directly contribute to helping the Orangutans by assisting with forest habitat and wetland lake restoration which provides critical habitat, food and nesting areas for Orangutans and other indigenous wildlife. Therefore, I was delighted to be accepted to participate as a volunteer and pleased to have the full backing of the partners of Pellys Solicitors Ltd and my fellow work colleagues."
The Orangutan depends on the forest to survive. Tragically these great apes are seriously threatened because their habitat is being lost at an alarming rate due to illegal logging, oil-palm plantations, acacia plantations (for wood pulp), fire, mining and small-scale shifting cultivation. Almost three million hectares of forest are lost each year, which amounts to over 10 football pitches disappearing every minute.
In 2007, a UNEP report,
the Last Stand of the Orangutan, suggested that 98% of Indonesia's natural rainforest may be destroyed by the year 2022, with lowland forests disappearing much sooner. As these forests fall so do the Orangutan populations. The current rate of habitat loss, especially in Borneo, is causing Orangutan numbers to fall and it is the speed at which they are falling that is the real cause for concern.
Having spoken at length about the Foundation's project work and what it meant to be a volunteer, Vikki was completely and utterly hooked. Voluntary work is physical, varied and will be dependent upon the needs of the Foundation at the time. Vikki shall be based in the Lamandau Reserve at Camp Mangkung, built by previous volunteers, which the Indonesian Government has recently designated an official site to release trans-located Orangutans and will be used from next year.
It is impossible to access the Camp during the dry season or times of low rain as it is dependent on access via the river. Therefore, the focus of this year's volunteers shall be to join forces with a number of Indonesian people to build a boardwalk to provide access to the camp. Vikki says "For the majority of the programme we shall be based deep in the rainforest with only very basic facilities. Our food shall be predominantly rice and noodles and the work shall be hard, particularly in the hot and humid Indonesian weather. However, I know that this will prove to be an invaluable experience, particularly as I have been told to expect the unexpected."
If you would like to help the plight of the Orangutans please log onto the Orangutan Foundation's website at www.orangutan.org.uk to find out what you can do to make a difference.