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Notes from the Director

Orangutan Foundation International (OFI)

Dr. Birute Galdikas and Orangutan Foundation International (OFI): In our last post we mentioned that we were looking forward to meeting Dr. Birute Galdikas of OFI. We are glad to report that last Saturday, while in San Diego for an OFI benefit performance by John Kay & Steppenwolf, we had the great pleasure of doing so. We met and chatted with Dr. Birute as well as Drew Fellman, producer of the film 'Born To Be Wild', during the band's sound check. Before the show that evening, after screening the trailer of 'Born To Be Wild', featuring Dr. Birute's work in Borneo as well as Dame Daphne Sheldrick's work with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya, I introduced Dr. Birute to the audience. The crowd was respectful and attentive and was clearly interested in what she had to say and relate. In addition to the benefit show's ticket sales, funds were raised for OFI through a profitable silent auction. All in all, a successful and rewarding evening. The next day 'Mothers Day' a special OFI benefit screening of the Born To Be Wild IMAX film was held at the San Diego Science Center. During the film not a single sound was heard from the audience, a testament to the spellbinding effect of this motion picture. Drew Fellman and all who had a hand in bringing this film to life can justly be proud of having created an important document that will reach the core of anyone with a beating heart. We have seen the film 3 times and would gladly see it again. After the screening Dr. Birute and I took questions from the audience. It was heartening that some of the most concerned questions came from many young people, particularly 'What can one do to help preserve and protect the Orangutans'. Dr. Birute ask, in fact begged them to avoid products containing Palm Oil, because most of the often illegally cleared land 'it is estimated that 78% of logging in Indonesia is done illegally' is usually converted into yet another Palm Oil Plantation. These stretch as far as the eye can see for thousands of acres and of course enormously reduce the remaining habitat for Orangutans and all other forms of life, including indigenous people that live there. One of OFI's goals is to raise funds to purchase and protect land that has not been logged and is prime habitat for Orangutans. There is obviously no point in nurturing and raising the over 300 Orangutan orphans currently in OFI's care, if no viable habitat remains into which these orphans can be released.. Therefore, while our Foundation will certainly continue to support OFI, we encourage you to visit www.orangutan.org to learn about OFI's important work and lend a hand. There are many of our not too distant cousins at OFI, waiting for someone like you to sponsor them. JK & JMK