Posted by: Wisnu | February 15, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year 2018

Posted by: Wisnu | February 8, 2018

Happy World Wetlands Day 2018

Wetlands do a lot for Planet Earth. Not only are they home to a vast array of species, but they also help to filter our drinking water, shield coastal communities from hurricanes and remove up to 700 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere. And every February 2nd since 1997, World Wetlands Day has been held across the world to celebrate these vital but often overlooked habitats. Each year governments, NGOs and even ordinary citizens publish material and hold events ranging from nature walks to seminars to clean up days. All based around a specific theme and all designed to educate the public on the importance and benefits of conserving wetlands. For 2018, the theme is ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’, with the focus being the effects of urbanisation on wetlands, ways in which cities can conserve and restore wetlands and the positive effects of urban wetland conservation for wildlife and people. If you are interested, go to:  http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/ to download information packs and to find wetland related events near you.

Hope you had a Happy World Wetlands Day!

Thomas Gomersall

 

 

Once again, Discovery College supported the Masarang Foundation projects and went to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre in Sulawesi, Indonesia, in November 2017.

As the photographs below show, the whole group worked hard, experienced a great deal and shared with local students, as well as also fulfilled CAS visit expectations. A win, win, (win, win) scenario!

The students not only worked hard whilst in Indonesia, but they also worked hard to prepare in Hong Kong. A bracelet sale, organised by Melanie Toh and Casey O’Brien, was able to raise funds for sugar palm planting in Indonesia, in addition to raising funds for the purchase of wish list items to donate to Tasikoki. Additionally, some students took part in a bake sale to support the projects.

We are very proud to have worked with Discovery College School Community for many years and remain very grateful to those students and staff, who made the arrangements and took part in the trip, especially Peter Muir, Cheryl Osbourne and Steve Bolton.

A Big Thank you from Masarang Hong Kong and All the Tasikoki Team!

Students Comments

Overall this experience was amazing with my classmates. The area was clean, the view was nice from our rooms and the soundings amazing with all different types of animals like bears, birds, monkeys, wild pigs, deer and crocodiles. Every day was planned out very well with good organisation. We did hikes, visited 2 schools, made food for the animals, saw and fed the animals, went snorkelling and lots more. The rooms were nice and big with several bunk beds with a balcony and of course a bathroom. The only down side was the weather as it was very hot, but overall the trip is amazing and I would like to go back one day.
Clemence Bureau

Overall, the trip to the Tasikoki wildlife reserve was amazing. Even though there were many spiders, mosquitoes and early mornings, Everyone on the trip had a good time. We did many fun activities which included snorkelling, visiting a school and watching them perform their talents to us, beach clean ups, food foraging for the animals very early and watching baby turtles hatch and help them towards the sea, which is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The views from the lodge were amazing and some of us were lucky to wake early to watch the beautiful sun rise up into the sky.

The snorkelling was definitely my favourite part about this trip. Seeing the coral in the coral triangle really makes you think to yourself how beautiful our world is. In the water we saw many different marine species ranging from colourful coral to elegant turtles. Others on the trip got to go scuba diving, which was amazing seeing all of the marine life.

Another very exciting activity we got to experience consisted of creating enrichment puzzles for the animals with the reward of a juicy apricot or a tasty walnut. After this activity we got to decorate the sun bear’s enclosure which was extremely fun for everyone. The most exciting part about the decorating was watching the sun bears look for the food and activities placed in the enclosure once they were released. The sun bears had so much fun eating the food and playing with our puzzles, paying off for our hard work.

Overall, this trip was really fun doing all of these activities and if I got the chance to go back, I would definitely go back. The only thing I would change if possible is to get a diving licence so I could scuba dive.
Will Cheung

Casey and I bought a lot of dried fruit and nuts (dried cranberries, cashew nuts, etc.) for the animals, as well as medical items (bandaids, antihistamines, bug bite relief creams, etc.) and a few stationery items (whiteboard markers) with the money we raised for Tasikoki.
Melanie Toh

 
A group of students from Island School, with the support of staff, especially Mr Ross Burrough, carried out an investigation into palm oil. They are now in the process of completing a documentary they made. They also decided to raise funds to support Masarang HK!
The group, with great leadership from Anya Saunders, planned and worked well. In addition to carrying out the research,  they organised a number of meetings and interviews with Masarang HK, as well as arranged a Skype with Dr Willie Smits.
We are very pleased with their interest in the palm oil industry as well as their kind support for our projects. We are hoping to show the documentary, if possible, when it is finished! They worked hard to sell the Masarang HK bracelets, support items from Mr Burrough, as well as their own delicious ‘no palm oil’ Nutella-equivalent, and cashew nut spread. The have included the recipes below, for all the lucky readers!
Thank you to all staff and parents, for the help given, and a big thank you to the group for raising $1630. The team decided that it would like to have 100 sugar palms planted with these funds.
We were pleased to help and we are very grateful for the kind donation for sugar palm planting.
Masarang HK Volunteers

My group only heard about palm oil earlier this year, because of the recent palm oil spill in Hong Kong waters. After learning about this, we did more research into palm oil, and discovered how horrible it is for the environment. We were all surprised that we’d never heard about this before, and after sending out a survey, we discovered very few people at our school knew about this issue. We decided we had to do something about it.

One thing we decided to do was to make a documentary about palm oil and how it’s harmful to the environment. We did research into palm oil to write a script and voiceover for the documentary, but to make it better we thought we should also add in some interviews. We contacted Ms. Adrienne Watson, a volunteer with Masarang HK, for help. She helped us arrange a Skype interview with Dr. Willie Smits, where we were able to ask him more in depth questions about palm oil. This interview was really useful to our documentary, and it was very interesting to speak to Willie about palm oil.

Our target audience to educate about palm oil was adults with buying power, since they can make decisions about what groceries and such are bought. A lesser target was their children, since they can teach their families about palm oil. After some research and thought, we came up with a good way to target these audiences. Every year Island school has a Winter Fair, which is always a big shopping event, with stalls available for students and teachers to run. Since this event lets us target adults with buying power, we decided to apply for a stall at this fair.

We decided to to sell a number of different things at the fair. We contacted Ms. Watson, again, and in addition to generally giving us advice and help, she provided us with some rattan and silicone bracelets to sell at the fair. One of our teachers, Mr. Burrough, also had some leftover Masarang bracelets and T-shirts from another fair, so he gave them to us to sell. After hearing how successful palm oil free nutella has been at other school fairs, we decided to make our own version of that to sell. We tested recipes and ended up making 100 jars of palm oil free nutella and chocolate peanut butter between the 6 of us.

Aside from products to sell, we also got a number of promotional materials and decorations, including a number of leaflets again provided to us by Ms. Watson, and several large photos taken by Mr. Burrough. We also designed and made a few informational posters about palm oil and what Masarang does.

On the 2nd of December, we set up the stall and started welcoming customers. We had lots of people coming up to us at the stall, asking about the pictures, reading the posters and leaflets, and asking about the bracelets and chocolate spreads. Over the 4 hours there, we managed to sell quite a few bracelets and most of our jars of chocolate spreads.

We managed to make over a thousand dollars at the fair, and continued to take more orders for the chocolate spreads over Facebook. In total, we managed to raise $1630 HKD. The money we raised will go to Masarang to help fund growing more sugar palms, which will help prevent palm oil plantations from being built. Jaeho: I learnt how even students can make a difference if we try hard. I didn’t think we’d be able to do much, but we did, so that’s cool.

Hamish: I learnt many things from the Masarang project including, how palm oil is an extremely serious problem and one that needs action taken against it. I was extremely unaware of how big a problem it was until I researched into the issue.

Over the project, my whole group has learnt a lot about palm oil and what we can do to decrease its impacts. This has made us more capable to avoid palm oil in our own purchases and buy things that support the environment instead. Our project has also helped people we know at school, as well as anyone who visited our stall, become more aware of palm oil. Our group is really happy we could help make such a positive impact on the environment, and we will be sure to continue buying products without palm oil to continue supporting the environment.

Palm oil free Chocolate Peanut Butter

 Ingredients:

  • 8 oz peanuts (2 cups)
  • 2.4 oz sunflower oil (6 tablespoons)     
  • 4.5 oz powdered sugar (¾ cups)
  • 2.5 oz cocoa (¾ cups)
  1. Blend the peanuts until smooth. This will take a while. Probably around 10 minutes. Test it and see if there are any chunks. Don’t rush it. Do not add oil until it’s smooth with no chunks. Scrape the sides of the blender so everything is thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and the oil. Mix until fully combined.
  3. Add in the cocoa powder and mix until combined.
  4. Scoop or pour into a container.

Makes about 15oz of spread

Palm oil free Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz hazelnuts (1 cup)
  • 4 oz cashews (1 cup)
  • 2.4 oz sunflower oil (6 tablespoons)
  • 4.5 oz powdered sugar (¾ cups)
  • 2.5 oz cocoa (¾ cups)
  1. Blend the hazelnuts and cashews until smooth. This will take a while. Probably around 10 minutes. Test it and see if there are any chunks. Don’t rush it. Do not add oil until it’s smooth with no chunks. Scrape the sides of the blender so everything is thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar and the oil. Mix until fully combined.
  3. Add in the cocoa powder and mix until combined.
  4. Scoop or pour into a container.

Makes about 15oz of spread

Posted by: Wisnu | January 25, 2018

Release of 3 Orangutans from Sintang Orangutan Centre

Another day, another flight and another airport. Endless lines and security checks but at least being a frequent flyer on Garuda I can sit in a quiet lounge here in Pontianak, a city on the equator on the west coast of the island of Borneo and use the opportunity to write some words to our loyal supporters.

I just came back from visiting the Sintang Orangutan Center and the team there. So good to catch up with Father Jacques, already more than 50 years serving and supporting the Dayaks of West Kalimantan and still going strong. Jessie, one of our first baby sitters will got married the 9th of December, many new staff joined the project to deal with the new release site and with the upcoming Jerora forest school. There is so much to tell at the end of 2017 that I will try to divide it in chapters, beginning with our first orangutan release in the Betung Kerihun National Park.

The river as well as our basecamp inside the national park are called Mentibat. It takes 7 hours by boat over ever cleaner and faster streaming rivers to reach the basecamp within the national park. Going up the Mentibat river from our basecamp we then enter the smaller tributary called the Rongun River that leads to the release area passing by various fast and furious rapids. It takes our skilled boatmen only 20 minutes by longboat to reach the area where they moor the boat after which it still another tough 30 minutes walking to the actual release site in the jungle. Here are some pictures of the release that took place last month and that can tell so much more than paragraphs of words:

Chapter 1:

The Release

The Forest

It took a very long time to ensure that this release area was going to be suitable for the release of orangutans. First of all we had to make sure there was not wild orangutan population present where the introduction of rehabilitant orangutans could have disturbed the balance between the carrying capacity of the forest and the number of orangutans that can live there and to prevent potential release of diseases into a natural population of wild orangutans which would have the opposite effect of helping orangutans survive.

From previous inventories by the Ministry of Forestry and various international parties we knew that there were no.

orangutans seen in the area and also that the composition of the forest was ideal for orangutans in terms of edible fruits, twigs and leaves. And sure enough the first reports on how our first three ladies are doing in the forest completely support it. Already within the first five days of freedom they are utilizing 23 different known orangutan fruit species that we were able to determine and about 80 more species of which we have marked the trees and sampled leaves and fruits for later identification.

Some samples of food items already utilized by Jojo, Juvi and Cemong.

Secondly the location needs to be secure. What makes a forest secure? First of all the legal status. We worked long and hard with the Ministry of Forestry to get all the legal paperwork in place and especially the national park management and the regional nature conservation office have been great in getting it all done. As far as fire risks, the area with its high rainfall and relatively cool temperatures (24-25 Celsius, sometimes as low as 22) and its surrounding rivers also is at low risk. But then there is the most important factor and that is the influence of people. There are hunters, poachers, fishermen, wood thieves, gaharu seekers and people and companies that try to get their hands on the land despite protected status or importance of the area for other people around it or downstream.

The fast-flowing rivers with many rocks make it hard to steal the timber from the release area without making a permanent road access system. When we tried initially to survey the area there many times that our people ended up soaking wet being unable to get the boats over the rapids. But now we have two very skilled local boatmen. Before the actual release, we had many contacts with the nearby Dayak tribes, especially the nearby village of Mendalam. I visited them already 10 years ago and was impressed how the Dayak culture of doing things together through consensus still worked there. But they also had huge problems with oil palm companies trying to enter their areas (see one of my earlier blogs) that tried to disrupt that unity. So, having lost forest to outsiders some people come hunting in the national park with their locally made rifles or look for the precious gaharu wood (Aquilaria malaccensis) from which the world’s most expensive Oud perfume is made. But by hiring many young men from the nearby Mendalam village to work with us for the orangutans the other villagers agreed not come in any more with their locally made guns and hunt for pigs there or put up snares.

A recent event improved the situation further. A small group of Dayaks had gone past the camp upriver to catch fish and had set up a small camp. Two persons, a father and son, stayed behind while the others left for a few days. Then the father seriously injured himself from an exploding jerry can with fuel. There was no way he could be evacuated so his son drifted with the fast-flowing water over the rapids and rocks to our basecamp to beg for help. Our boat immediately headed upriver with doctor Jati and our local staff. Jati gave first aid and the father was evacuated and survived his serious burns. That action really made our relationship with the villages even stronger. In the discussions they had in the Mendalam village afterwards, the villagers agreed that this was a sign that the “fine beings” of the forest did not agree with them entering the new orangutan area. There are still some gaharu seekers from the nearby Talis district seen sometimes but they are also told one by one that this area should be left to the orangutans. Also 14 of the staff that are monitoring the released orangutans are recruited from the nearby villages and this creates also a lot of goodwill for the project. These local recruits have now become the ambassadors of the orangutan and nature conservation project to the other local people.

A good sign is that the forest still has lots of wildlife in it. An important indicator is the presence of the Murai bird, a bird that is extremely popular in Indonesia because of its singing. Poachers bring USB sticks with various of their songs on them to entice the wild birds to come near and sit on some strategically placed branches with bird glue so they can be easily captured. So their presence is an indicator that the area has at least not yet been heavily impacted by hunting and poaching.

The Murai bird in the release area and a crab eating macaque looking at the boat passing by on the river.

The Mendalam area also has a lot of naturally occurring sugar palms that we can develop for the local people to be tapped. Masarang can train them and also help them with the marketing of the palm sugar, especially now we just received the national award of the president of Indonesia as the best medium sized social enterprise of Indonesia which will increase the demand for Masarang palm sugar even more.

The orangutans are doing really well. Juvi makes the best nests and high in the trees. Cemong and Jojo like to share a nest at night. They are gradually exploring more of the area now already moving into higher areas up till 825 meters above sea level compared to the release location at 150 meter altitude. The work to observe them in the steep and muddy terrain with almost daily tropical rain showers is very hard. That is why we have a lot of staff so they can take turns. After all they have to be there at sunrise when the orangutans wake up and only can leave them once they have made their nest shortly before sunset. Those are long and  exhausting days but the local Dayaks are the best suited for the job!

To end this first blog on the release in the Betung Kerihun National Park a picture of Cemong collecting fresh shoots of this Licuala understory palm and at the same time using the leaves to build a ground nest to play with. We can take these pictures because Cemong is still interested in people and still approaches us sometimes.

 

Willie Smits

Sintang/Pontianak

 

Posted by: Wisnu | December 17, 2017

Felix

This was where Felix lived tied up with a tight two-metre chain around his neck without anything to rest on or to play with for three long years. During these years, Felix basically only got rice as food and as a result he is malnourished and thin. His hair lacks the shine of oil that normally protects the orangutans from rain reaching their skin in the rainforest. Felix originally came from an oil palm region in Central Kalimantan and was kept by a family in the Erna plantation area several hours from the Sanggau city in West Kalimantan from the age of one year. He now is four years old and does not look at all like a normal 4-year-old orangutan baby.

It was quite interesting how we first found out about Felix. A local NGO staff put up a WhatsApp message that included a picture of the orangutan he had seen inside the plantation area living with this family. Dudung, our Sintang Orangutan Centre director, came across this message and immediately followed up trying to find out where this orangutan might be hidden so he could organize a rescue operation. After he found out through social media, where he uploaded the picture, he contacted the forestry conservation office of West-Kalimantan, with whom we have an official cooperation, and on Sunday morning a joint team of forestry police and our Sintang Orangutan Centre staff immediately left for Sangau. Bayu, our paramedic, was the one to take off the chain from the neck of Felix when after The ‘owner’ was asked to “voluntarily” hand over the orangutan and the forestry police just made a report of the confiscation and handed over the orangutan to the Sintang Orangutan Centre.

Felix is not very strong. But when I met him about two weeks after his confiscation at the Sintang Orangutan Center, he was very approachable. He was still on his own in the quarantine facility of the orangutan clinic where he was undergoing a range of medical tests and parasite treatments. He already looks a lot better and he is very interested in things around him. So, actually, I have hope he will quickly join a group of youngsters and start the learning process to return to his forest home in our Betung Kerihun release area.

Here are a few pictures of the rescue operation for Felix.

 

Posted by: Wisnu | December 12, 2017

Masarang Hong Kong’s Sustainable Merchandise

Masarang Hong Kong is trying to raise funds for the Sintang Orangutan Centre in West Kalimantan and the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre in North Sulawesi. One of the latest initiatives is to support the local Dayak women in the interior of West Kalimantan making small Dayak handicraft items as sustainable merchandise items. The women are members of the Koperasi Menenun Mandiri, which translates to the “We can do it ourselves” cooperative. Indeed, now the women make more money than most of their husbands! They seem to have been taking good care of the money they earn, rather than spending it on cigarettes, it ends up in funds to pay for the studies of their children!

The first type of product is a woven bracelet, very much based upon the woven clothes that the women in the cooperative are already making but much smaller obviously. Here are some photographs showing how the women make them and what types of bracelets they presently produce. The various motifs in the woven patterns represent various aspects of their culture, like protecting harmony, supporting good fortune and health as well as many other Dayak motifs.

The second type of bracelet is made from other jungle materials. They are made from rattan, a product normally better known as being used in the production of furniture. The rattan is sliced by hand in very thin strips that are then sometimes interwoven with the stems of a climbing fern with much darker shiny surface as seen here right.

No colouring is used, the products are 100% natural from intact jungle and are made by hand only by local women. These bracelets are made from a climbing palm from the rain forest of Borneo. The palms are very thorny and with long whips with hooks these palms can make walking in the rainforest very difficult. Interestingly, the palm is sometimes called “wait a moment!” for obvious reasons since the hooks are difficult to loosen from the clothing of a passing person! These palms have always been the most important material for the Dayak, former head-hunters of Borneo, to make baskets, fish traps, bind their huts and houses together, for mats and hundreds of other products. The material is very light but extremely strong and flexible. When kept clean it can last more than a hundred years! The bracelets are normally woven by one Dayak directly around the wrist of the other person and are difficult to take off. But the newer ones, like in the picture above, are now popular as gifts between Dayak members as well as for gifts to visitors.

The long rattan stems are pulled from between the branches of the trees. This does not damage the forest and the rattan immediately grows back from the clump in the soil with new shoots that fill up the space again. The stems are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then the stems are cut by hand in very fine long strings of the material that then are woven by Dayak women in the longhouse during the long evenings in the jungle, normally with the light of resin burning in bamboo. The women are very skilled at making all kinds of patterns. The various patterns in the woven end-product represent deeper meanings like prosperity, security, love, unity and many more.

The women that make both the woven as well as the rattan bracelets work in a cooperative set up by the formerly Dutch Missionary Father Jacques Maessen, with the goal of increasing their income while preserving their special Dayak skills.

By purchasing these 100% natural products from the intact rainforest you:

help protect the jungle and its inhabitants;
increase the well-being of the local people, while contributing to the preservation of their culture and traditional knowhow;
help to enable Masarang Hong Kong to support the salary of vets at both the Sintang Orangutan Centre and Tasikoki.

Posted by: Wisnu | December 3, 2017

New Orangutan, Old Threats

Everyone has heard of orangutans. The Red Ape, the Old Man of the Forest; the poster child for shrinking Indo-Malayan rainforests. But less people are aware that since 2001, there have been two recognized orangutan species: the Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and the Sumatran (P abelii). And a study published earlier this year has revealed something that until recently, nobody knew about: A third orangutan species, the Tapanuli Orangutan (P. tapanuliensis).

The first signs of a new species came when a DNA analysis of over 30 orangutans from across Indonesia found that the genetic code of a population from the Tapanuli region of Northern Sumatra differed from that of other Sumatran Orangutans. A closer examination of the code found that they had split from each around 700,000 years ago. Subtle differences in mating calls and skull shapes provided further evidence for the uniqueness of these orangutans, leading to scientists from the University of Zurich and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme to declare them a new species.

While the validity of this new species is currently being debated, what is depressingly clear is how close we are to losing it. There are thought to be less than 800 Tapanuli Orangutans in the world, making it the rarest great ape species on earth. All of them live in a 1000 km² area already threatened by illegal hunting, deforestation, gold mining and now the looming possibility of a new hydroelectric power plant. For now, the Tapanuli Orangutan is going on the IUCN’s Critically Endangered list. But it should also be listed as yet another reason why we must act now to cut our palm oil consumption and save Southeast Asia’s unique rainforests.

Sources:

Thomas Gomersall, Masarang HK Volunteer

Posted by: Wisnu | November 15, 2017

National Award for Masarang’s Palm Sugar Factory

A few days ago I was given a package with batik cloth in it, sent from Jakarta. I asked Erwin Tanauma, our palm sugar factory director what it was for. “Well it is not 100% sure but this could mean that we won the prestigious Paramakarya award Sir.” I thought, sounds a bit like the Sidhakarya award of last year?…

So what is it about? Last year’s Sidhakarya award was given for the best provincial enterprise and the Masarang and Pertamina (Indonesia’s state oil and gas enterprise that also operates the Lahendong geothermal plant that provides our factory with energy) was chosen as the provincial winner for a mid-sized enterprise. It turns out the provincial ministry of labor and industry recommended us for the national level price!

Paramakarya stands for “extraordinary work”. The award was instituted in 1994 as part of an ILO (International Labor Organization) program. The goal is to support small and medium scale enterprises and create good quality jobs for people. In Indonesia, it is given as the highest national award for enterprises of small and medium scale. Our Masarang factory is in the category medium scale. Some of the criteria to be considered are to have a complete legal status and certification and the enterprise must have been active for many years.

Here is a picture of the jury that comprised provincial government officials and several independent national level jury members from the business and academic and NGO world that visited the factory for a final inspection some three weeks ago in Tomohon. Third from the right is Erwin Tanauma, our director and second from the right Ir. Marthen Polii, the operational manager.

When I asked what made the national jury decide that our Masarang Palm Sugar Factory was considered the best medium enterprise of all of the Republic of Indonesia with its 250 Million people and ten thousands of companies I was told that two aspects stood out for the jury. The first aspect considered the clever design of the factory using geothermal steam to save trees from being burned as fuel wood and increasing income for some of the formerly poorest farmers in the society that were tapping sugar palms. They also mentioned that the integration of traditional methods with efficient industrial processing of the palm juice was unique in Indonesia and that we are the first sugar palm sugar factory in the world like this.

So now we received the official confirmation that on November 16th, 2017 we are invited to the presidential palace in Jakarta to receive the highest national award directly from the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, better known as president Jokowi! Unfortunately I already committed to attending COP23 in Bonn, Germany this week and to lectures in New York and Boston so I will not be able to be in the palace myself but be represented.

I want to take this occasion to highlight a very special person whom I credit with improving many things in our operations and it is Erwin Tanauma. When we started the palm sugar factory the local sugar palm tapper coordinators, 36 of them, advertised the position of factory director more than 10 years ago. And they selected Erwin with a very big majority vote out of three candidates that had applied. Very unusual for Indonesia that farmers elect their own director! When the sugar palm coordinators had internal problems we had to reorganize the factory and Erwin choose another path. Two years ago we had a lot of issues that needed to be dealt with in the factory and I approached, rather begged, Erwin to come back and try to improve the factory and expand the production. I am very pleased that Erwin agreed and I want to thank him here for the great job he is doing, benefitting so many local people in Tomohon and now in many other places in Indonesia where we share our knowhow to improve the wellbeing of local people.

I also must thank a very generous donor that financed the upgrading of our factory and who chooses to remain in the background for now. We call him “Gaia” and when he reads this he knows how much we appreciate what he is doing to give Masarang a chance to bring about change. Thank you Gaia!

We are very pleased to announce that a group of staff and students from STFA Yung Yau College will visit Tasikoki and some of the nearby Masarang projects in 2018.

After an initial visit to the school to meet the principal, Mr Alex Kai, staff and students with school sponsor, Mr Billy Yung, then Masarang HK commitee members, Sharne McMillan and Adrienne Watson Smits, arranged to speak to a large group of students and staff in October 2017 about our charity, Tasikoki and biodiversity issues in HK as well as Indonesia.

 

After hearing the talks from Sharne and Adrienne, some responses given by the students
are shown below:

I can now say that I’m “otterly” fantasized by the world of animals! When Ms Watson was telling us about how the wildlife’s lives are endangered because of us – human beings. It made me realize that humans are really selfish. We are taking away the lives of these species just to enjoy our own. After the heartwarming sharing by both Ms Watson & Ms Sharne, I’m now determined to change the lifestyle ours (eg use less plastic bag) in order to help save the lives of many. (Laiba 5D)

Before the talk,I didn’t know that there is a centre protecting animals in Hong Kong and nor did I know that there are so many beautiful and amazing species that are unique in Hong Kong. I used to believe that Hong Kong is lacking its unique species but I learn after the talk that this is not true. The talk encourages me to pay more attention to the waste problem and the animal orphans in Hong Kong. I hope I can have a chance to visit the Marasang centre and know more about nature.
(Anna Wong 5D)

Actually I have learnt a lot from the talk especially about biodiversity. This talk gave me the opportunity to understand that there are still a lot of species that need our care and protection in Hong Kong. Also, I’ve got a lot of new information about the extinct and endangered species and it really increased our awareness of protecting animals.
(Kystral Lee 5D)

The talk was inspirational. As a student in HK, I was not aware about the type of unique species HK has. I am looking forward to the chance to join the visit. Hope that I can be chosen!
(Aimen 5D)

Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for coming to our school to promote the importance of nature conservation.  I am crazy in animals too. They are cute and friendly to us. But unfortunately, some of them are in the verge of jeopardy. I have learned that we should save water and woods to prevent further deforestation. I feel sorry to the endangered species. It’s high time for humans to do something. Your talk impressed me a lot! Thank you again!
Christy Yiu (5D)

The talk is really informative and meaningful. It provided multifarious photographs for reference. Besides, it reveals the importance of conserving wild animals and maintaining the biodiversity. Biodiversity is vital for not only humans but also the whole ecosystem. As we have no idea on what will happen when some species become extinct, we should attach great importance on the biodiversity in nature.
Moreover, the wild animals are treasures in the earth so we should take the responsibility to protect the endangered species and maintain the biodiversity. It is really great that students can more about this so we may increase the awareness on the endangered animals.
(Hiu Tung 5D)

We are looking forward to their visit and we are grateful for the kind sponsorship of Mr Yung to allow the visit to take place.

 

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