Orangutan Odyssey

By Casey Murtagh, Conservationist

After completing my Diploma in Conservation & Land Management, I decided to celebrate by going on a holiday to a destination I have always been fascinated by- Borneo. I chose to volunteer at Matang Wildlife Centre in Sarawak as it has won awards for responsible tourism and cares for not only Orangutans, but many other endangered Bornean species such as Sun Bears, Clouded Leopards and Binturongs.

This experience has changed my life. I have become an avid supporter of Orangutan Conservation. Land clearing for Palm Oil plantations, illegal logging and illegal pet trade are all contributing factors to this intelligent species decline in the wild. Rehabilitation centres across the country are bursting at the seams with orphaned and injured orang-utans. The rehabilitation process is long and complex, with substantial funding required on an on-going basis for these centres to function.

During 2012 I began a fundraising campaign to support a new centre being built in West Kalimantan to be run by International Animal Rescue (IAR). By the end of October, I had managed to raise just under $25,000. It took countless hours of planning and help from family and friends, but it was worth every minute. I have seen first hand the impact that large injections of funding can have on NGO’s and the importance of raising awareness with the public regarding issues faced in Borneo and Sumatra.

This year I have taken on a very different, yet equally challenging fundraiser- the Trans Borneo Challenge. It is a 900km trek across Borneo with a group of young, like minded individuals from around the world. It is the aim of this trek to raise funds and awareness of the plight of orangutan. I have set a personal fundraising target of $15,000 and to date I have raised just under $12,000.

To help me reach my goal, friends and family are having ‘a do’ at the Barnawartha Pub on the 3rdof August. Come along and donate $10 (tax deductable). Meals and drinks available at the pub. Whiteline Music is generously providing the music for the night. We are requesting that people bring something to auction and we are looking forward to a lot of fun with Brian Rock as the auctioneer. RSVP to Jenni Huber on 0410 074 900 by Monday 29th July.
You can also donate at http://my.artezpacific.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=538564 or Google Sponsor Trans Borneo Challenge Casey Murtagh.