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2013 Highly Commended - Green Lifestyle Magazine

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Green Lifestyle Magazine

Published on: 9-Oct-13
Publisher: Green Lifestyle Magazine

Raw Wildlife Encounters has been awarded Highly Commended in the Travel Company category of the 2013 Green Lifestyle Awards. Held in Sydney on 9 October, the Green Lifestyle Magazine's Green Lifestyle Awards gave recognition to companies and people leading the charge toward a cleaner and greener living environment. (scroll down to Travel Australia – Company)

Renegade Collective - Entrepreneur in the Jungle

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Renegade Collective

Published on: 1-Aug-13
Publisher: Renegade Collective

Issue 3 of Renegade Collective, Australia's newest entrepreneurial and lifestyle magazine, hit stands today and it features Raw Wildlife Encounters Director Jessica McKelson!

Pick up a copy from your newsagent to read her inspiring story.

Visit Collective Hub:

Giving sanctuary

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Green Lifestyle Magazine

Published on: 31-Jul-13
Publisher: Green Lifestyle Magazine

Jessica McKelson is changing attitudes towards palm oil production in Indonesia.

Jessica McKelson didn’t do very well at school. Not because she wasn’t bright, but simply because she spent her time gazing out of the classroom window, itching to get outdoors and work with wildlife.

Her childhood aspiration has certainly paid off. McKelson is not only the head primate keeper at Melbourne Zoo, but is also spearheading an ambitious new project to help save the endangered Sumatran orangutan.

Can Ecotourism Save Indonesia's Disappearing Forests?

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The Diplomat

Published on: 19-May-13
Publisher: The Diplomat

Indonesia’s forests are being destroyed. Ecotourism may offer one way to protect them...

Jessica McKelson, Director of Raw Wildlife Encounters, launched her ecotourism initiative in 2008 and said the livelihood of local people is a core pillar for why the company operates. “They are custodians of the lands that surround their communities, where we bring guests to visit, they allow us to enjoy these areas and we offer employment opportunities from guides to rangers to administration as well as education programs so they can comfortably support their families and don’t have to work in legal, or illegal, logging or palm oil and can live sustainably. Most have lost all their natural resources to deforestation practices and were left with no option but working for $8-$10 per day in terrible conditions or losing that job to transmigrants.”

Islands of sanctuary for endangered orang-utans

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The Age

Published on: 20-Jan-13
Publisher: The Age

AN AMBITIOUS project, led by a Melbourne zookeeper, to create a series of man-made islands for sick and injured orang-utans in Indonesia, is a step closer after an Australian fund-raising drive.

Earth 4 Orang-utans has secured 48 hectares in the northern part of Sumatra after raising a $150,000 down payment on the land from Australian donors, including Melbourne advertising executive Ted Horton and his wife Miche. It is understood they gave a significant sum towards the project.

The initiative is the brainchild of Jessica McKelson, head primate keeper at Melbourne Zoo, and Dr Ian Singleton, conservation director at the Sumatran Orang-utan Conservation Program (SOCP) in Indonesia.

Melbourne wildlife warrior improves the lot of imperiled primates

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The Age

Published on: 20-Jan-13
Publisher: The Age

FROM the air you can grasp the sheer scale of it. Palm oil trees, planted in neat lines, stretch as far as the eye can see, pushing the more chaotic Indonesian rainforest to the fringes.

''The sight of it made me feel slightly sick,'' said Jessica McKelson, who combines a day job as head primate keeper at Melbourne Zoo with spearheading the Earth 4 Orang-utans project in Indonesia. ''We were flying over Borneo, expecting to see rainforest, but it was just a monoculture of palm oil. It's environmental devastation just so we can have palm oil in our food. The frustrating thing is that it could easily be sustainable.''

Learning About Wildlife Conservation & Community Development Through Art

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Zart Art

Published on: 1-Nov-12
Publisher: Zart Art

The Leuser Ecosystem, in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, Indonesia, is an area of prime tropical rainforest and the last place on Earth where critically endangered Sumatran sub-species of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and orangutans coexist. Inside this protected area, and throughout S.E. Asia, palm oil companies illegally set virgin rainforests ablaze to clear way for palm oil plantations.

Palm oil is an ingredient found in almost all products we consume every day, from biscuits to toothpaste to dishwashing detergent.

SBS Dateline | Ape Rescue

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SBS Dateline

Published on: 4-Sep-12
Publisher: SBS Dateline

Vast swathes of land on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been cleared for palm oil plantations and the native wildlife has been left with nowhere to go.

David Brill reports on the mission to rescue the orangutans and return them to the wild elsewhere. (Video report)

Hundreds are being looked after by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, which also rescues those kept as pets in appalling conditions.

I'm saving the orangutans

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That's Life

Published on: 12-Jun-12
Publisher: That's Life

Jess has devoted her life to a very special cause.

A pair of big, brown eyes looked up at me and a hand reached for my face. Deciding I wasn't a threat, the little orphan called Bonito smiled. As he inquisitively ran his fingers through my hair, he captured my heart forever. I was at an Indonesian rescue centre where all of the orphans sported tufts of orange hair.

How to change the world, one orangutan at a time

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Published on: 8-May-12
Publisher: How to Retire in 12 Months

Jessica McKelson is someone who has dedicated her life to her passion and done a really good job of it! I have been drooling over the tours and gorgeous pics of the animals, so I highly recommend checking out her links in the article.

What was the catalyst for your Good Life Crisis?

Raw Wildlife Encounters

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Published on: 12-Dec-11
Publisher: MiNDFOOD

Eco-tourism in Sumatra, Indonesia, is helping to keep orangutans safe and happy. These kind, gentle tree-dwellers share many similarities with humans, including being fiercely protective of their babies. Ian Singleton, director of conservation at Pan-Eco housing, has been working to build a new nursery to look after orangutan orphans in North Sumatra. Visit the babies with tour company Raw Wildlife Encounters. MiNDFOOD reports.

Retirement Islands for Orangutans

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New York Times

Published on: 25-Nov-11
Publisher: New York Times

An innovative plan to create man-made islands for sick and injured orangutans in Indonesia is offering hope of a better life for animals who have previously been destined to spend their remaining days in cages.

While much of the fight to save the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan focuses on protecting their natural habitat, for some orangutans it is already too late.

Zookeepers plan to build islands for orang-utans

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The Age

Published on: 13-Nov-11
Publisher: The Age

MELBOURNE Zoo staff are spearheading an ambitious plan to create four man-made islands in Sumatra to host the Indonesian island's population of sick and injured orang-utans.

The project aims to liberate orang-utans that will never be released into the wild from their current cramped conditions - cages measuring three metres by four metres.

A trio of zookeepers at Melbourne Zoo - Fleur Butcher, Jessica McKelson and Amber Partington - are leading the effort to raise awareness of the project in Australia, and the funds needed to undertake it.

Eco tourism helps save Indonesian orangutans

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Eco Voice

Published on: 4-Nov-11
Publisher: Eco Voice

Eco-tourism is the new buzz in the tourism industry, and so it should be, as tourists stamp their eco-footprint around the globe.

Eco-tourism respects the culture, natural history and environment of destinations and seeks to support conservation efforts, and minimize the negative impact of travel on the environment.

One of five finalists for The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) Innovation Award 2010, Raw Wildlife Encounters, (RWE) is one such eco-travel agency doing its bit for conservation.

2010 Innovation Award Finalist: Jessica McKelson

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Published on: 8-Aug-10

Raw Wildlife Encounters was born out Jessica McKelson’s passion for, and dedication to the conservation of Indonesia. One of the earth’s few remaining biodiversity hotspots, Tangkahan is home to some of the world’s most endangered wildlife including Sumatran Tigers, Orang-utans, Asia Rhinos and Asian Elephants.

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