Two plots saved in 10 days! Steve Backshall speaks to WLT supporters as Borneo appeal aims for new £300,000 target SEARCH NEWS

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With WLT Patron Steve Backshall and WLT supporters on our side, we now have a chance to raise twice as much as we had targeted – twice the impact as we save orangutan habitat in Borneo. Credit: Steve Backshall.

World Land Trust (WLT) supporters continue to amaze – we can’t quite believe our eyes! Launched on 22 June, our ‘Saving Borneo’s Orangutan Corridors’ appeal has almost reached its £150,000 target after just 10 days. Thanks to the incredible support received from all around the world, our partner HUTAN can protect a vital section of rainforest alongside the Kinabatangan River. But this isn’t the end of the story: we can now go much further and quicker for these rainforests, with your help.

Thanks to the countless individuals and organisations who have donated over the past few days, HUTAN will already be able to safeguard 10 acres of habitat part of the Pangi Corridor, the home of orangutans, elephants, pangolins and hundreds of other species.

But it doesn’t stop there. We have already come so far for the Kinabatangan rainforests but because of the extraordinary show of support since 22 June, we can now go much further. By doubling our initial target and aiming to raise a total of £300,000, we can now fund the next stage of HUTAN’s plans: the saving of new plots near the Keruak Corridor, just across the river from where the already saved 10 acres lie. This is a three-year project we’re carrying out with HUTAN – and now we can bring some of the planned purchases forward.

WLT Patron Steve Backshall has been a staunch supporter of HUTAN’s project in Borneo and recently shared a video to address WLT supporters after the extraordinary past few days. Speaking as our new appeal entered its next phase, the explorer and presenter called on lovers of nature worldwide to support the protection of “one of the most critical wildlife corridors” on the planet. “Any donations you make will be providing a last hope for the orangutans and everything else that calls that place home,” he said.

The recent outpouring of support for WLT’s ‘Saving Borneo’s Orangutan Corridors’ appeal mirrors the response to our two previous Kinabatangan campaigns, where we raised well over double (2013) and triple (2017) the initial targets.

Steve Backshall and Olympic athlete Helen Glover were instrumental in the staggering success of the 2017 campaign. Four years ago, the husband-and-wife duo personally raised over £100,000 of the £300,000 total by kayaking the 125 miles from Devizes to Westminster – a gruelling 24-hour race! “It was one of the proudest moments of our lives,” Steve said this week, “and now we all have the chance to make it even better.”

In the Kinatabatangan Floodplain, populations of orangutan have collapsed by over 95% since 1900 but by funding HUTAN’s strategic land purchases, we can save habitat for populations to start bouncing back. Credit: HUTAN

The Kinabatangan Floodplain has already lost 80% of its primary forest but with Steve, Helen and countless other WLT supporters on their side, HUTAN have spent decades building, piece by piece, a network of protected corridors either side of the river. Now, and thanks to the astounding response to this latest campaign, we have set ourselves a new challenge to double the initial target: a chance to maximise our impact by speeding up conservation action, matching the scale of the threats this landscape faces.

Every donation brings another patch of rainforest closer to safety, maintaining the connectivity that is essential for the survival of so many species. Every donation provides more space for nomadic male Bornean Orangutans to venture through; more habitat for roaming Borneo Pygmy Elephants; more land for hornbills targeted by hunters and Sunda Pangolins dogged by poachers; more territory for the elusive Sunda Clouded Leopard.

All of this lies within our reach – if you add your voice to ours!

On behalf of Steve, Helen and HUTAN, we’d like to offer a huge thank you to every single one of you who has donated so far to our ‘Saving Borneo’s Orangutan Corridors’ appeal.

Your belief in a protected Kinabatangan Floodplain and safer home for orangutans is what has allowed us to come within touching distance of our initial target so quickly – and now we can go much further than expected.

These rainforests remain at breaking point but by doubling our target to £300,000, we can continue securing crucial links of a chain of corridors. By donating or sharing Steve’s video across your networks, you can help bring help and attention to this irreplaceable landscape.

This is a rainforest we’re still in time to save. Join us!

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