When I visited Borneo in 2005 I saw firsthand the destruction caused by the planting of palm oil plantations that threaten local plant and animal species such as orang-utans. Inspired and deeply moved by this trip, I used my love of push-bike riding to found Riding for Rangas. Since 2009 Riding for Rangas has raised thousands of dollars assisting Friends of the National Parks Foundation fight for the survival of the orangutan through restoring habitat and relocating dozens of orangutans to safety from the palm oil plantations to Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. The pain and exhaustion I felt climbing hills for over 7 hours and then facing another massively steep hill that looked like Mt.Everest when I had no more energy left, I thought to myself "How am I going to make it to the top of this climb and make it to the end of this ride with another 50km to go? Then I remembered those soulful brown eyes of an orangutan from my visit to the Tanjung Puting national park. I realized that the pain and suffering I am going through right now is nothing compared to the pain and suffering these animals endure." Orangutans lose their forest homes year after year cleared through deliberately lit fires by palm oil corporations, they spend miserable lives as "pets", are smuggled for the illegal wildlife trade and are slaughted by local farmers because they are considered pests. Most people do not realize that orangutans play an essential role in the ecosystem by maintaning the health of the forest floor. When they eat the forest fruits the seeds drop to the ground that makes new plants to grow maintaining biodiversity.
Friends of the National Parks Foundation combine a program that directly improves local community wellbeing (education scholarships, agro-forestry, eco-tourism) to motivate and mobilise the communities to protect wildlife, restore habitat, and support its conservation work. FNPF have an inherent understanding of local Indonesian communities, culture, spirituality, needs and challenges … so it can work closely with the local communities to design programmes that benefit them, wildlife and habitat. FNPF receive and seek financial support from individuals, corporations and international NGOs interested in conservation and community-development in Indonesia. FNPF is small, local and frontline. FNPF repeatedly demonstrates that it is cost effective, achieves results, and are transparent in the use of funds. FNPF's projects in Kalimantan (Borneo) and Bali have received international recognition. It has been supported by the Humane Society International Australia since 2000.