Ely Man Helps Orangu-tans Under Threat

PUBLISHED: 14:45 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 04 May 2010

Trevor Wright in Borneo

Trevor Wright in Borneo

IF you have been watching the Orang-utan Diary programme you will, no doubt, have been disturbed to learn that these beautiful creatures are facing possible extinction in less than 10 years. The programme shows the devastating effects on the orang-utans a

An Orang-utan

IF you have been watching the Orang-utan Diary programme you will, no doubt, have been disturbed to learn that these beautiful creatures are facing possible extinction in less than 10 years.

The programme shows the devastating effects on the orang-utans and also the ecosystem that relies on lush, green tropical rainforest for survival. But, importantly, it also shows the determination of the helpers and fund-raisers who are doing what they can to protect the orang-utan and ensure its survival.

DEBBIE DAVIES finds out why the orang-utan is so threatened by man's destruction of the rainforest and talks to local man Trevor Wright who has just returned from Borneo.

A baby Orang-utan

TREVOR Wright is typical of the many volunteers and fund-raisers who are desperate to spread the dire message about the future for orang-utans in the hope that something can be done in time. The 31-year-old has just returned from a trip to Borneo and admits he can't really explain his love affair with big orange ape-like creatures but feels a passion and deep-seated determination to do what he can to ensure they survive. They will survive, of course, but it may not be in the wild and our children and grand-children may only ever see the beautiful creatures in cages and pens at zoos and wildlife parks rather than understand the complicated eco-system they use to depend on in their natural habitat.

"I remember going to Colchester Zoo when I was a kid and seeing an orang-utan and I fell in love with him. He was a real show-off but also a character and I guess that's where it all started," says Trevor.

Trevor, of St John's Road in Ely, is a member of an organisation called, the Orang-utan Foundation and has just returned from Borneo which he says has made him more determined to make a difference.

"It's really hard to believe what is happening and that if something is not done, within a fairly short space of time the animal will only be seen in captivity. It was a completely difficult experience to see the orang-utans in the place where they should be and it has made me even more determined to do what I can to help."

Ten thousand years ago, orang-utans were found throughout Southeast Asia and Southern China. Today, they can only be found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

The rainforests are being destroyed for timber; and large areas are being cleared for palm oil plantations. This destruction of the rainforest is also having a devastating affect on global warming and is one of the world's most pressing environmental concerns, but for orang-utans the threat is imminently more dangerous. The animals are driven from their natural habitat, and when they try to return in search of food they are treated as pests and killed by those who want to protect their lucrative commodities.

The female orang-utan will usually only produce three babies during her lifetime which makes them even more vulnerable to extinction.

Even those who survive can be extremely traumatised by their experiences and the number of orphaned babies is growing rapidly.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

MAKE a donation to the Orang-utan Foundation. Go to the website at: www.orangutan.org.uk

FOSTER an orang-utan - go to the website.

IF you would like to join Trevor an organise a fund-raising event, he can be contacted on 07753383922. If you organise a fund-raising event, don't forget to let the Ely Standard know so that we can help you with publicity.

STAMP APPEAL. Don't throw your postage stamps away, the Orang-utan Foundation send them to the foundation or bring them into the Ely Standard and we will send them off for you.

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