First thing’s first, you did it! By purchasing Orangutan Soap you raised a staggering £126,014 for SOS - a charity dedicated to reforesting the Leuser ecosystem and saving the orangutan.
Back in November 2017, 14,600 limited edition patchouli and orange soaps were produced and sold across Europe - with all proceeds going to SOS to fund the purchase of 50 hectares of deforested land in the Indonesian rainforest. So it’s only fair we keep you updated on the progress and success of the campaign. After all, none of it would have been possible without you.
Over to Helen Buckland, Director of SOS:
“At the end of 2017, the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) was delighted to team up with Lush to launch the #SOSsumatra campaign, aiming to raise awareness of how perilously close to extinction orangutans are, and the effects of deforestation.
“There are only 14,600 orangutans remaining in the wild in Sumatra. In tribute to them, Lush made 14,600 Orangutan Soaps, which flew off the shelves, selling out in many countries in a matter of days!
“The proceeds enabled our Indonesian partners, the Orangutan Information Centre, to buy 50 hectares of oil palm plantation land, to reclaim and restore native forest to an area on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem in Bukit Mas (“Golden Hill”), Sumatra. This part of the forest was under attack, with more and more orangutan habitat being lost every week as illegal agriculture encroached into the protected area. By supporting us to buy this land on the buffer zone of the national park, Lush and their customers are enabling us to hold back the tide of forest loss.”
What’s happening now?
So now the land has been purchased, what’s happening to it? Helen explains that something very exciting and poignant has been undertaken to really make the most of this campaign.
She says: “In order to restore the land for wildlife, we needed to first remove the oil palms. Seizing the opportunity to send a dramatic message, we gave activist artist Ernest Zacharevic and his chainsaw-wielding team a call.”
The group, who have previously collaborated with SOS on a campaign called Splash and Burn, carved a giant distress call into the landscape of the oil palm plantation by selectively removing oil palm trees to spell out the letters SOS.
Helen says: “Seen from the air, this is a call for help from a patch of land that was once lush green rainforest. We intend to answer that call, by planting thousands of rainforest tree seedlings to replace the oil palm monoculture, re-creating a thriving ecosystem, buzzing with life.”
So there you have it. By purchasing Orangutan soap and supporting the #SOSsumatra campaign, you helped to make a real difference to the Indonesian ecosystem. Keep your eyes on Lush channels for further updates on this crucial environmental issue.
Read more about the issue on the Lush Times, or learn about the work of SOS here