‘Giving Tuesday Now’ is a global day of giving and unity, celebrating the generosity of spirit around the globe.
We hear inspiring stories from our international partners every day. Still, amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, their actions, and in particular those of rangers supported by Keepers of the Wild, have seemed particularly poignant. Our mission states that we aim to: ‘To develop partnerships with local individuals, communities and organisations to engage support and commitment among the people who live in project areas.’ Community has always been central to the way that WLT protect land, so it comes as no surprise that the rangers are now working to not only ensure the safety of the reserves but to support the local communities too.
In Borneo, rangers, researchers and other staff at Hutan are not only practising social distancing between humans – they’re also ensuring they remain at least two metres away from the Orangutan in the reserve too. As reported by Science Magazine, the enzyme that the new coronavirus uses to enter cells in humans is identical in the Great Apes. However, without the ability to practice social distancing themselves, Orangutan at the reserve would be at terrible risk of catching, and transmitting, the virus with nothing that could be done to protect them. Since 2002, some 150,000 Orangutan have been lost in the wild, but the threats they face, including deforestation, hunting and trapping for the pet trade, endure. Hutan’s work to protect the reserve and forest corridors is essential for the Orangutan’s survival, and adding new measures shows just how committed our partners are when it comes to continuing the excellent work they do.
Meanwhile, in Ecuador, Fundación Jocotoco (FJ) has recognised a different problem within their local community and so launched the ‘Help us Protect our Neighbours’ campaign. FJ says, “Conservation is born out of an appreciation for the natural world, but it also depends on the actions of many people, especially those that live in the communities around our reserves.” FJ’s rangers and reforestation staff are quarantining in FJ’s reserves as the risk of threats, including hunting and illegal logging (which places the rangers at significant personal risk) has increased. But they have also recognised the need to support the indigenous communities who have lost their income as a result of Ecuador’s lockdown. The communities have been central to the success of FJ’s reserves, helping in emergencies and being open to education and opportunities that the Ecuadorian NGO can offer, ultimately changing the way that they interact with the natural world in the process. By now giving back, FJ is showing the successfulness of conservation that recognises the role of both humans and the wilderness, giving a touching depth to the ‘all in this together’ attitude we are seeing around the world.
WLT would like to say thank you to every one of our rangers who is giving everything they can to protect these reserves, their species, and their local communities during a time of such turmoil. Giving is not just about money; it’s also about time and passion and selflessness. Thank you, Keepers of the Wild, for giving even more of yourselves than you already do.
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