Le Lézard
Classified in: Environment
Subjects: WOM, PET, ANW, DEI

Meet the Power of Mama, Borneo's first women ranger teams

The Orangutan Project celebrates International Women's Day by recognizing Power of Mama

NEW YORK , Feb. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Global conservation organization The Orangutan Project is using this year's International Women's Day to celebrate Borneo's first ever women-led ranger teams - collectively called "The Power of Mama" - who are breaking into traditional male roles and achieving incredible outcomes.

Borneo's first women ranger teams are living, breathing examples of this year's International Women's Day theme: Embrace Equity. These teams are amplifying women's voices, elevating gender equity in their communities, and protecting nature at the same time.

In a year when the International Women's Day theme is 'Embrace Equity', these new teams are living proof of the power of promoting gender equity - not just for the women themselves but also for the environment, their communities, and wildlife conservation.

"We are proud to support this life-changing project, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of The Republic of Indonesia, and supported by Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia (YIARI). The project is part of their critically important approach to increasing gender equity and protecting forests in Borneo," says Kylie Bullo, Conservation Project Manager with The Orangutan Project.

"As champions of wildlife conservation, role models, educators and beacons of hope, the female-led fire prevention teams will not only transform attitudes towards the role of women in their villages, but they will also highlight the capabilities and success of females in traditionally male roles," says Gail Campbell-Smith, Ph.D., Research and Conservation Programme Development Advisor at YIARI.

In Borneo every year, precious tropical rainforests are threatened by voracious wildfires that destroy thousands of hectares of forest, cause untold casualties in humans and wildlife, and lead to spikes in carbon emissions, further contributing to climate change.

"These new teams are working together on the front line to reduce, prevent and fight forest fires (known as Karhutla in Indonesia)," adds Campbell-Smith.

Supporting women-led fire prevention teams addresses two intertwined challenges: gender inequality and environmental issues such as deforestation, climate change, and poor water and soil quality.

"By empowering women to engage with environmental issues, we are mobilizing a whole new section of the community, greatly enhancing our ability to protect forests, save wildlife, and change lives for the better," says Bullo.

Key outcomes of the project include restoring peatlands, protecting wildlife including orangutans, empowering local women, and increasing education of women and children. Forest-edge communities also benefit from reduced fires, increased awareness of the importance of protecting forests, and enhanced health and wellbeing.

Already, the Power of Mama teams are achieving outstanding change in their forests and with their local communities, but more women are waiting on the sidelines to get involved.

"We always knew that once you put an opportunity like this in front of smart, diligent women, they'd run at it full steam ahead. It's amazing to witness," says Campbell-Smith.

The Power of Mama is only possible through donations from supporters. To play a role in this vital women's project, consider a donation to The Orangutan Project.

For more information about The Orangutan Project's work to save orangutans, contact Vicki Renner on [email protected] or visit The Orangutan Project.

About The Orangutan Project

The Orangutan Project was established by Leif Cocks (OAM) in 1998 with a critical mission: to ensure that Critically Endangered orangutan species are protected against extinction and can continue to live in viable wild populations for generations to come.

Today, The Orangutan Project is a dynamic, fast-growing and successful non-profit organization that has raised over $25 million to support a wide range of critical projects that address the holistic problem facing fragmented orangutan populations - including fighting deforestation and habitat loss at the highest level.

Leif Cocks began his career as a zookeeper, curator and small population biologist at a zoo, and has worked hands on with orangutans for more than 25 years, including establishing the most successful breeding colony of orangutans in the world. In 2019, Leif was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) from the Australian Government, and his university's highest award, the John Curtin Medal, for his dedication to species conservation.

Leif is highly regarded as a world-renowned expert on orangutans, publishing several papers in peer-reviewed journals on orangutans and also serving on numerous boards and technical advisory groups. He is the author of a number of books including "Finding Our Humanity" and "Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends."

Kylie Bullo began her career as a biologist and zoo keeper, and has worked with The Orangutan Project in the role of Conservation Project Manager for over 20 years. Along with Leif Cocks, she has been instrumental in facilitating orangutan rescues, successfully reintroducing orangutans to the wild, and enhancing forest conservation in Borneo and Sumatra.

Together, Kylie and Leif were involved in releasing the first ever zoo-born orangutan into the wild, which she wrote about in her book Reaching for the Canopy.

About Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia (YIARI)

Yayasan International Animal Rescue Indonesia (YIARI) is the Indonesian arm of global organization International Animal Rescue, working in the province of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The organization has been rescuing orangutans from captivity since 2009 and established their rescue and rehabilitation center in 2013.

The long-term goal of YIARI is to establish and maintain self-sustaining orangutan populations in the wild by protecting wild populations and through preventing, mitigating and resolving human-orangutan conflict. YIARI does this through activities, education, awareness and outreach efforts with local communities.

Media Contact
Vicki Renner
Digital Content Editor
The Orangutan Project
0438 018 509
[email protected]

Media Contact
Heather Ripley
Orange Orchard
(865) 977-1973
[email protected]

SOURCE The Orangutan Project

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