The 2016 Pongo Environmental Awards

The recipients of the 2016 Pongo Environmental Awards were:

  • Dr. Ian Singleton, for his many years of research and conservation activities supporting the survival of the Sumatran orangutan.
  • Louis Psihoyos, for his compelling and visually stunning documentary, "Racing Extinction."
  • Topher White, for his innovative project "Rainforest Connection"
  • Sarah duPont for her eye-opening film "River of Gold"
  • Actor Ed Asner for his activism on behalf of humanity and the environment.

 

The 2015 Pongo Environmental Awards

The recipients of the 2015 Pongo Environmental Awards were:

  • Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, for her achievements in primatology and many decades of dedication to science, conservation, education and humanitarianism.
  • Panut Hadisiswoyo, for his dedication to Sumatran orangutan conservation and his support of the Orangutan Caring Scholarship program.
  • Bradford Schmidt, of GoPro, for creating "Our Orangutan Brethern", a video that shows the world from the orangutan's perspective.
  • Rainforest Trust, an organization that has protected over 8 million acres of rain forest across the globe, accepting CEO Paul Salaman.
  • Alexandra Saunders, for Nuubia of SF, for corporate environmental stewardship and avoiding the use of palm oil in making award winning chocolate.
  • Ed Begley, Jr., for his many years of activism supporting environmental causes and charities and using his celebrity status to lead by example in sustainable living.

 

The 2014 Pongo Environmental Awards

The recipients of the 2014 Pongo Environmental Awards were:

  • Michael Mann, climatologist who coined the "hockey stick graph" 
  • Ronna Phelps, ethical entrepreneur who produced palm oil free skin care products.
  • "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", a movie that used CGI rather than live apes.
  • "Years of Living Dangerously", a television series that examined global warming from a human and orangutan impact perspective.
  • George Shea and Mike Farrell for "Dr. Keeling's Curve", a play that looked at the life of a significant climate scientist who early on called attention to global warming.

 

About the Pongo Awards

Pongo is the genus for the scientific name of the orangutan: Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan) and Pongo abelii (Sumatran orangutan). Pongo, therefore, refers to orangutan in Latin.

The Pongo Awards were originally created to honor individuals for distinguished support to the mission of the Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative. The award consists of a certificate with the recipient’s name, date of the honor, a statement as to why the recipient was selected, and a sculpted bust of an adult Bornean male orangutan, mounted on a base with the inscription of the recipient and the date. The orangutan bust design was expertly crafted by artist Jason Shanaman.

The Pongo Awards were first created and presented in November 2006 on the occasion of the Sumatran Orangutan Conference, Workshop and Summit, held in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Four Indonesians received the awards: The Minister of Forestry, M.S. Kaban for officially declaring Orangutan Caring Week in 2005, to Parliament Member and former Miss Indonesia, Angelina Sondakh for serving as “ambassador” for OUREI, to Mr. Ridhwan Effendi, Expert Staff to Ms. Sondakh for creating and overseeing the Orangutan Caring Clubs of Indonesia, and to Mr. Soedomo Mergonoto, Kapal Api Coffee, for providing the initial financial support to OUREI and consistent support to the Indonesian chapter, OUREI Indonesia.

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Subsequent Pongo Awards have been presented in the United States to Lisa DeSantis in 2007 for hosting OUREI’s annual fundraiser; to the Australian Orangutan Project (now The Orangutan Project) in 2011 for their sustained support of OUREI and OURF, and to Cheri and Naren Shankar in 2012 for hosting OURF’s annual fundraiser.

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Leif Cocks, from AOP, accepting the Pongo Award for his organization via Skype

during the 2011 Annual Fundraiser from OURF President Gary Shapiro.

 

 

Broadening the Relevance

Since 2014, the relevance of the Pongo Awards has been broadened to include recognizing and honoring individuals and organizations on an annual basis that  have contributed to the improved understanding and appreciation of orangutans and endangered species, rainforest habitat, and for improving conditions for orangutans and other animals globally. Such individuals will be from the fields of entertainment, commerce, academia, and government as well as from the non-profit sector. A nominating committee to the Board of OURF will consider nominees for the award and will choose the honored recipients prior to the annual fundraiser.

New Pongo Environmental Awards were first awarded during OURF’s 2014 Annual Fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA on October 19.