Celebrities from across the globe are responding to a charity’s SOS call to support critically endangered orangutans in Sumatra.
Support for the Sumatran Orangutan Society's (SOS) second Jungle VIP online auction, which starts on 1st March, is flooding in from internationally recognised names including Coldplay, Dominic Monaghan, Sebastian Vettel, Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Seth Green, Graham Norton and Gillian Anderson. Last year the auction raised over £10,000 for vital conservation programmes, and it is hoped that similar success will be had this year.
Among the supporters is British actor and celebrity Joanna Lumley, donating an exclusive script page from 2002’s Ella Enchanted, signed by stars including Minnie Driver, Anne Hathaway and Joanna herself, and Coldplay have donated a limited edition lithograph of their Viva La Vida album artwork, signed by all the band members. Other auction lots include Lord of the Rings photos and a blu-ray signed by Dominic ‘Merry’ Monaghan and Billy 'Pippin' Boyd, and a signed racing top worn by Formula 1 three-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Says Joanna Lumley: “I really love orangutans and met many of these majestic animals when filming in Indonesia. What struck me forcibly was how incredibly alike we are as species: they have truculent teenagers, enchanting babies, naughty toddlers, grand old uncles and resigned hard-working mothers. The most thrilling thing in my life was looking into the eyes of a mother orangutan with a baby on her back: I knew her and she knew me. They are not called the People of the Jungle for nothing. It is our duty to do all we can to save them and their way of life.”
Says Dominic Monaghan: “The orangutan as one of our closest cousins clearly feels the stress and anguish that WE might if our homes were destroyed and our families killed. If we are part of the generation that allows this majestic animal to become extinct, future generations will ask us ‘why didn’t you do more?’ SOS DO more.”
Helen Buckland, Director of SOS, says: “Sumatran orangutans share 96.4% of our DNA, but they stand to be the first Great Ape to go extinct if we don’t act now to save their forest home. Sumatra is the only place in the world where orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos coexist – and all are critically endangered. The Jungle VIP Auction will help us raise vital funds to protect orangutans, their forests and their future.”
The Jungle VIP online auction will take place between 1st-10th March at ebay.co.uk/JungleVIP.
The first Jungle VIP Auction took place in March 2012, raising over £10,000, with items donated by Nicole Kidman, Jane Asher, Tim Minchin, Radiohead, Chris Evans, Nicola Roberts, Geri Halliwell, Newton Faulkner and many more.
Members of the public are also being asked to join the Jungle VIPs and sell their own items via ebay, with proceeds benefiting SOS.
Sharing 96.4 per cent of our DNA orangutans are among our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom and are the only red ape.
The number of Sumatran orangutans is estimated to have fallen by more than 90 per cent since 1900. With just 6,600 left in the wild, the Sumatran orangutan is Critically Endangered, and could be the first Great Ape species to go extinct.
Orangutans are the ultimate ‘Jungle VIPs’ – they play a key role in rainforest regeneration and are a fantastic flagship species. By helping them we help countless other species including critically endangered tigers, elephants and rhinos.
The Sumatran Orangutan Society is dedicated to protecting orangutans and their habitat through rainforest restoration, community-led conservation, education and campaigning.
For more information please see www.orangutans-sos.org.