Orangutan charity’s poignant film shortlisted for a Charity Film Award
Wildlife charity Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) launched a poignant short film in August 2018 to raise awareness of the devastating impacts of forest destruction in Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem. The film has now been shortlisted for a Charity Film Award. The film, Concrete Jungle, shows much-loved jungle characters struggling to survive on grey city streets, having lost their natural rainforest habitats. SOS launched the film to encourage donations to their Rainforest Home Appeal, with which they aim to buy a 360-hectare plot of land called Cinta Raja and turn it from a lifeless oil palm plantation back into diverse and vibrant rainforest. “We’re thrilled that this film has been recognised by the judging panel”, says SOS Director Helen Buckland. “We want it to get all the exposure it can to highlight to everyone that forest destruction is real and needs our attention, and we know the Awards will make a big difference in getting it out there. We're excited to see whether we win at the Awards ceremony on 26th April."
The Leuser Ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is the last place on Earth where orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and tigers still live together in the wild. Tragically, though, Indonesia has the fastest deforestation rate in the world, and the Leuser Ecosystem’s forests are being torn down for palm oil, logging, mining and roads.
This destruction has pushed the Sumatran orangutan to the edge of extinction, along with the Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhino, all of which are classified as Critically Endangered.
Concrete Jungle is a moving illustration of the stark reality facing many animals as forest destruction accelerates in Sumatra. There have already been orangutan evacuations from the area around Cinta Raja, as forest loss drives orangutans into farmland in a desperate search for food. At least two Sumatran tigers have been poached from the area, and it is also a hotspot for conflict between people and elephants; SOS is aware of at least one baby elephant being deliberately killed. Individual orangutans, tigers, elephants and many other animals are suffering as their homes are destroyed and they struggle to find food and safety. Meanwhile, their species decline in number and the risk of extinction increases. The message is clear: animals need forests, but forests are being wiped out.
Bringing forests back to life
Fortunately, there is still hope for Sumatra’s forests. Together with its partners in Sumatra, SOS reclaims land that has been deforested and restores it, planting and nurturing trees so that orangutans and other wildlife can return. Land that was barren just a few years ago is now buzzing with life once more, and there are regular reports of orangutans, elephants and other animals returning to their forest home.
The charity has identified that the 360-hectare Cinta Raja plot, once restored, will provide a home for thousands of species, including the iconic orangutans, elephants and tigers we all recognise in the campaign film.
Notes to Editor
About the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS)
SOS strives to secure the future of Sumatran orangutans and their forests through a holistic approach, supporting and enabling vital work on the ground in Sumatra through developing effective conservation programmes and partnerships, capacity building and fundraising for frontline organisations, and advocating globally for changes to government policy and corporate practices to enhance conservation outcomes.
About the Film
Concrete Jungle was made by Don’t Panic, an award-winning creative agency based in London, UK.
Don’t Panic has previously created campaign material for charities including Save The Children, Oxfam and Greenpeace.