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Published: 23-Nov-2011

Written by: Raw Wildlife Encounters

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” – Dalai Lama XIV

I always smile at this quote because it is supremely fitting for an eco-adventure-travel company. 

  • Mosquitoes? – Check. Yours free with every Raw Wildlife Encounter! 
  • Making a difference? - You bet. Thanks to our travellers and supporters, we’ve already improved the lives of orangutans and will continue to do so.

To save a species, save the ecosystem. To save Sumatran Orangutans, protect Indonesia’s forests. This is the philosophy to which Raw Wildlife Encounters (RWE) prescribes. The not-so-secret formula for saving a species from extinction is ensuring its habitat remains diverse, healthy, and safe.

As much as we’d like to, we can’t all hop a plane and spend months with our sleeves rolled up tending to orphaned orangutans or protecting elephant forests from logging. So we support those who can. We strive to empower the local community of Tangkahan to protect and preserve their own. And we travel to their country respectfully and ethically. Our reward is panoramic views of remarkable beauty and memorable, personal encounters with unique wildlife.

This desire to provide a future for wild orangutans drives our mission to discover the best ways for Raw Supporters to provide practical, tangible, life-changing support for the community and the wildlife.

Here are some of the projects we’re currently sponsoring.

Tourism as Income for Locals

We employ Tangkahan community members in Indonesia to deliver the tourism experiences outlined in RWE travel itineraries. This alternative livelihood program is a great way for the local community to make an income, rather than participating in illegal logging or working in the palm oil plantations. Our team consists of a Communications Officer, a Project Manager, two experienced Tour Guides and four trainee Tour Guides. They are able to showcase their backyard and have a wealth of knowledge to share.

Protecting Natural Assets

We implemented a Litter and Waste Management Programme to educate the local community and tourists about waste disposal. Not only is it a way to combat litter issues, it has been great for the community and assisted in cleaning up the environment which they live in. The program employs locals to collect and sort rubbish for recycle and organic compost for use on community gardens, and minimises the use of harmful chemicals on their plantations.

Local Education

Higher Education Scholarships to study at University STIM Medan are awarded to successful students from the Tangkahan district. To date, we have provided three 4-year scholarships for Ecotourism Management, Finance Management, and Tourism. By up skilling the poorer communities, they have a better chance to improve their education and find employment.

A group of 25 city-based students from STIM University have formed MAPALA ‘Students for Nature Lovers’ to learn about conserving natural regions like Tangkahan through our funded workshops. These students installed bins and developed the interpretive signage for the Litter and Waste Management Programme. Connecting indigenous communities is a great way to strengthen messages in other areas without the information being diluted.

Caring for Wildlife Victims of Habitat Destruction

We contribute all conservation levy money from Australian Orangutan Project (AOP) members who book with Raw back towards TOP Projects.

We support Conservation Response Unit Tangkahan to continue elephant patrols to monitor activities in Gunung Leseur National Park and employs them for eco-tourism activities.

We financially support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme  to build a new baby house and new quarantine cages at Medan Quarantine Centre, necessary for rehabilitation of illegally-held and confiscated baby orangutans before release to the wild.

Our current priority project is raising funds to secure land for the Orangutan Island project, a sanctuary to permanently house orangutans who through injury or illness can never be returned to the wild. This sanctuary will become a conservation education centre for local and international visitors. Donations can be made directly to this priority project at the TOP website on the dedicated Orangutan Island Donation page.

To finish, here’s another quote from the Dalai Lama that surely sums up why eco-travel with us is the superior travel experience for mind, body, and soul:

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

You can contribute to our programs by contacting us now.


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