[Press & Publications] Student Initiative to Save Indonesian Wildlife



February 2000

No 26

Students at the University of Leicester have launched a fund raising group entitled 'Sulawesi Conservation 2000', part of Operation Wallacea, an initiative set up to protect some of the vulnerable and endangered wildlife in the Sulawesi region of Indonesia.

By carrying out research, plans can be laid down for active conservation of rainforest and coral reef.

Sir David Attenborough long ago highlighted the danger to the environment in this part of the world: "Sulawesi's wildlife is now more vulnerable than at any time during its isolation (from the mainland). Today's search for facts about its creatures is not merely to satisfy curiosity. It is needed to produce plans to protect these animals in rapidly developing Indonesia." (Sulawesi - Island of Discovery 1985).

Operation Wallacea is now an official charity but still relies heavily on volunteers. The Leicester group will be joining teams with volunteers from 35 countries throughout the world in three existing projects, including conservation and community work, reef surveying and research into rain forests protection.

The project aims not only to conserve wildlife but to help local communities by the development of sustainable community projects, preparation of environmental educational materials and provision of assistance to the wildlife ranger teams in the Wallacea region.

University of Leicester volunteers will carry out scientific studies and active conservation work in the area, including the development of a tidal atlas for the Wakatobi Marine National Park. This will build on work begun in 1999 to study pollution dispersal to help protect fish and invertebrates.

They will also assist in the development of sustainable projects in the Bajau village of Sampela, educating local communities in more efficient energy use and different resources to avoid the destruction of forest.

Each volunteer needs to raise 3,000 for equipment, transport and training, and some events to be held in Leicester and the surrounding area include:

  • A return of the successful pizza eating contest in the Redfearn Bar, Students' Union.
  • A Grand Raffle in which a hot air balloon ride in Derby can be won as first prize and a meal for two at a top restaurant in Leicester as second prize (tickets on sale soon).
  • The Big Green Event (unsure of final name yet), an extra wild night out midweek in the Students' Union, to contribute to saving the environment.

    Speaking of the Leicester group's commitment to the project, Sulawesi Conservation press officer Martin Christy said:"The group took time to develop and organise fund raising but some good events are coming together, for instance, a hot air balloon ride and free meal at a restaurant are decent prises for a raffle.

    "There is a real sense of motivation in the group. We aim to gain support from industry and commerce to help this less wealthy region and protect a really beautiful area, the two main reasons for joining the group whose membership has now reached the maximum 15".

    If you wish to make a donation (no matter how small or how large) to aid this worthy cause and help the environment please make cheques payable to: Juliet Mortimer, Treasurer.

    Further information is available from Matt Struebig, Expedition and Travel Society, Percy Gee Building, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, Fax (0116) 223 1112 or email mjc28@le.ac.uk


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    Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
    Last updated: 10 February 2000 11:24
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