Writing

Vets’ charity bike ride

A group of Sydney vets, urged on by wildlife artist Geraldine Simmons, will ride from Canberra to Sydney in October to raise funds for wildlife protection in Indonesia – particularly Bali and Borneo – as well as supporting Balinese recovering from the devastation of the Bali bombings on October 12, 2002.

The vets will be riding the 318 km to raise money for the Indonesian Friends of the National Park Foundation, and its work to save habitats and protect endangered wildlife, especially orangutans and Bali starlings. Friends of National Parks Foundation (FNPF) was founded by Drh I. Gede Nyoman Bayu Wirayudha, who has worked with Australian vets for several years, especially bird specialist Dr Ross Perry, to find ways to protect and breed the Bali Starlings which are close to extinction.

He has been supporting Dr Bayu since 1998, when Dr Bayu went to Dr Perry to learn about keeping birds, as he planned to try to rescue the Bali Starlings. Dr Perry is Australia’s first cage and aviary birds specialist.

Wildlife habitat in Indonesia, especially in the forested areas of Borneo, is under threat from local farmers, and, more seriously, palm oil plantations. The rare birds – Bali starlings and sulphur crested cockatoos are often taken by poachers, and orangutans are captured or killed if they threaten palm oil plantations.

Orangutans are being rescued from these areas by FNPF volunteers, working with local villagers, and the primates are moved to forested areas where they can live freely. FNPF is also creating new reafforested areas, teaching local farmers how to grow suitable trees and create new safe areas for young orangutans.

FNPF works with local communities to protect wildlife habitat, while also finding ways to make the communities more self-sufficient and resilient. Drs Perry and Dr Elaine Cebuliak regularly travel to Bali and Borneo to assist Dr Bayu with his conservation and rehabilitation work.

The fundraising riders will arrive in Collaroy, on Sydney’s northern beaches on October 12, to show solidarity with the Balinese, One rider who is not a vet is wildlife artist, Geraldine Saunders, She travelled to Borneo in 2004 at Dr Bayu’s invitation, to see his orangutan rehabilitation work, and to paint the orangutans.
Ms Saunders us a member of Artists for Conservation, and proceeds from the sale of her wildlife are donated to the FNPF.

“This ‘united’ bike ride commemorates a commitment to nature, and to the Australians and Balinese who lost their lives in the bombings on October 12, 2002,” Dr Cebuliak said..

“As Dr Bayu says, we live in one world where our wildlife and financial welfare are linked. Let’s support each other.

“We can make a real difference to the lives of the orangutans of Borneo, and birds of Bali who have been wounded by poachers, and had their habitat stripped and replaced by palm oil plantations.

“Through your sponsorship of our riders, you can help FNPF rescue and rehabilitate these intelligent creatures as well as conserve their habitat through reforestation projects. By providing education and assistance to these rural communities we can help preserve our children’s global future.”

Dr Perry will be one of the support team, driving with the small group of riders to provide visibility and protection, as well as supplying them with food and drink.

” I won’t be riding, but I will certainly be giving them moral and emotional support, as well as the safety factor,” he said.

Another of the support team who would like to be riding is Dr Mike O’Donoghue. Dr O’Donoghue competed in the Australian Masters Games in February, but now has a torn meniscus, and the 318 km ride from Canberra to Sydney is just not possible.

For more information about the FNPF

To make a tax deductible donation to FNPF:Humane Society Australia specify FNPF under ‘comments’

©Sue Cartledge

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