Orang Utan Republik Foundation to Hold 7th Annual Pongo Awards to Honor Environmental Achievement

The live stream will honor the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation; environmental news site Mongabay;  indigenous activist group: “If Not Us Then Who?”; Acehnese conservationist Farwiza Farhan; and Shaun Monson for his short film, "Guardians of Life" starring Joaquin Phoenix.

July 18, 2020 - Santa Monica, CA. The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) and actor/environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. will honor individuals for environmental achievement, activism, news, advocacy, and orangutan conservation at the 7th Annual Pongo Environmental Awards to be held virtually on Saturday evening, August 15, 2020. 

The evening raises funds for OURF to save wild critically endangered orangutans from extinction through education and is dedicated to honoring individuals, organizations, and projects that have contributed to the improved understanding and appreciation of orangutans, endangered species, rainforest habitat, and for improving conditions for orangutans and other animals.

This year’s recipients of the 7th Annual Pongo Environmental Awards include: 

  • Jamartin Sihite and Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation for sustained achievements in rescuing, reintroducing, and conserving orangutans and their rainforest habitat in Central and East Kalimantan.
  • Mongabay and founder Rhett Butler for in-depth internet-based news on environmental issues, featuring extensive information on tropical rainforests.
  • Farwiza Farhan and the Acehnese organization, HAkA, forchampioning vital legal advocacy, community rights, and conservation action in the Leuser Ecosystem.
  • If Not Us Then Who?” and founder Paul Redman forbringing awareness and advocacy to the role indigenous and local people play in protecting our planet.
  • "Guardians of Life", a short film starring Joaquin Phoenix, and writer, producer, and director Shaun Monson for creating a stunning cinematic call to action to save the Planet.

This year's gala is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic as a virtual event to ensure the continuity of the Pongo Awards while protecting those that have previously gathered together to celebrate the honorees. Funds raised will support OURF’s field education programs so vitally needed to reduce conflict between local villagers and wildlife while improving their livelihood. 

The evening Livestream (6-8 pm PDT) will also feature surprise celebrity appearances, live updates from Indonesia, music, and an online silent auction with unique and exclusive items. Registration to the event is through Givelively.org at https://tinyURL.com/Pongo2020 

Previous Pongo Award recipients have included Dr. Jane Goodall; James Cameron's “Years of Living Dangerously;” Netflix and their groundbreaking series, “Our Planet;" Louie Psihoyos for "Racing Extinction; global climate advocate, Climatologist Michael Mann; scientists Ian Singleton and Anne Russon. CNN’s Bill Weir for environmental reporting; “The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” for the use of CGI rather than live ape actors; Fisher Stevens for "Before The Flood;" GoPro and Director Bradford Schmidt for the film, “Our Orangutan Brethren;” and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network for their many years of environmental activism; actors and activists Ed Begley Jr., Ed Asner, and Mike Farrell, among others.

The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) (www.orangutanrepublik.org) is a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity with a mission to save wild orangutans through education initiatives and innovative, collaborative projects. OURF partners with Indonesian organizations and communities to promote outreach education and sustainable solutions to the long-term conservation of the orangutan and its rainforest habitat. Culturally sensitive and effective education programs to foster community-based conservation actions are developed and implemented to save the forest habitat and the species. It also serves as the US chapter of The Orangutan Project, expanding its reach and support to over a dozen orangutan support organizations in Indonesia and Malaysia (www.theorangutanproject.org)

Orangutans are only found in the wild on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in the countries of Indonesia and Malaysia (N. Borneo). Fewer than 14,600 individuals remain on Sumatra. Their population continues to decline due to the conversion of forest to agriculture, the illegal pet trade, being killed as pests or hunted, as well as habitat degradation from natural and human-caused activities, i.e., fires, mining, logging, palm oil, and significant infrastructure projects.

OURF continues to move forward to advance its conservation education mission. OURF recently awarded 18 new Orangutan Caring Scholarships in May 2020 to students in North Sumatra, Aceh, and West Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Since the first scholarship awarded in 2006, 190 have been given to deserving students in the fields of forestry, biology, and veterinary science. Over 100 have graduated. OURF currently is administering the 1st year of the Community Education and Conservation Program (CECP) in and around Gunung Leuser National Park in N. Sumatra protecting the ecosystem and improving livelihoods of villagers along the border of the Park.

The Orang Utan Republik Foundation is celebrating its 16th year of educating people about the plight of the orangutan to save them. “All three species of orangutans are critically endangered throughout their home range on Borneo and Sumatra,” says OURF President and Co-Founder Dr. Gary Shapiro. “This year’s event raises critically needed funds that help keep our successful programs in the field, pay tribute to those who make a significant effort on behalf of the environment and wildlife (especially orangutans), and focuses our attention on how COVID-19 has been impacting life on the planet, especially for orangutans and humans.’”

Event Info:

The Pongo Awards

Saturday, August 15, 2020- 6pm-8pm (Pacific Daylight Time)

Free and Paid Tickets: https://tinyurl.com/Pongo2020 

Video from previous Pongo Awards Honorees:

Jane Goodall Pongo Environmental Award Acceptance Speech



Louie Psihoyos's Pongo Award acceptance speech for "Racing Extinction"



Fisher Stevens Acceptance Speech Pongo Environmental Award



Bill Weir Acceptance Speech Pongo Environmental Award



Additional information on the Pongo Awards:




Media Contact:

Parvene Michaels, Innovative Media Productions, parvenemichaels@innovativemediaproductions.com 

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