Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Bill Oddie video appeal on behalf of Big Match Fortnight

30 September, 2013 - 17:00 -- World Land Trust
Line drawing of an Orang-utan.

TV presenter Bill Oddie has made a video appeal urging the public to support World Land Trust’s Big Match Fortnight in aid of Orang-utans in the Bornean Rainforest.

Bill Oddie is a member of the Council of World Land Trust (WLT) and a committed supporter of WLT’s conservation work.

WLT’s recently launched Borneo Rainforest Appeal aims to raise a million pounds to safeguard a corridor of forest along the Kinabatangan River which links two reserves. During Big Match Fortnight all donations to the Borneo Rainforest Appeal will be matched making them go twice as far.

“Making a donation during Big Match Fortnight is a great way for members of the public to help us reach our million pound target,” says Mary McEvoy, WLT’s Conservation Programmes Manager (Africa and Asia Regions).

“As Bill explains in the video, to save the Orang-utan we have to safeguard its wild habitat and keep existing protected areas connected. Last year Bill visited Kinabatangan on a WLT site visit and saw for himself the threats to the forest and its wildlife. We are very grateful to him for helping us promote this appeal through his video.”

Orang-utans and Pygmy Elephants

In 2012 Bill went to Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, where he witnessed the extraordinary range of wildlife in the rainforest. A highlight of the trip was seeing a large male Orang-utan making its nest high up in the trees above him.

Bornean Elephants

Donations during Big Match Fortnight will protect Bornean Orang-utans, Bornean Elephants and other wildlife living in the rainforest of Borneo. © Jo Finch.

As the area of forest shrinks, it’s not just Orang-utans that are under threat. Another iconic animal also at risk is the Bornean Elephant, and while in Sabah, Bill was captivated as he watched a herd of Bornean Elephants on the banks of the Kinabatangan River.

Known commonly as Pygmy Elephants, Bill was expecting the elephants to be very small. “My first encounter with Pygmy Elephants was slightly disappointing,” he said afterwards, “because they really aren’t very small!”

Having come to terms with their stature, Bill is now a keen advocate of the Bornean Elephant. “OK, so they’re not pocket sized,” he jokes, “but they are nonetheless incredibly endearing, beautiful creatures.”

Saving the rainforest

While in Sabah Bill encountered some of the other creatures of the forest. “Wildlife wise, I was particularly fond of the little things,” he said afterwards, “the Pygmy Squirrels – now, they really are small! And the Lantern bugs.”

By raising funds to conserve the Orang-utan’s forest home, WLT is helping safeguard habitat for the huge biodiversity that co-exists in the Bornean Rainforest.

The main threat to the forest is land clearance for agriculture, and demand for land is pushing up the price of property to unprecedented levels.

Big Match Fortnight

Bill is convinced that if the Orang-utan and the Bornean Elephant, the Pygmy Squirrel and the Lantern Bug are all to survive in Borneo, then conservation has to compete with big business - by buying land and protecting it. And that’s why he and many other high profile supporters of World Land Trust are calling on the public to give generously during Big Match Fortnight.

More information

After Big Match Fortnight, please help WLT reach its million pound target to safeguard Orang-utan forest habitat by donating to the Borneo Rainforest Appeal.

Donate to Borneo Rainforest Appeal »

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