Saving Orangutans, Rhinos, Sun Bears, and Many Others

blog post photoTrevor Frost is an explorer, field biologist, photographer, and conservationist. He has spent the last 5 years working with scientists and conservation groups to save endangered wildlife and wild places.

The number one question I’ve received since the Expedition Contest began is what animals or wildlife my project will help. The truth is my project will help many animals because when you help park rangers protect parks you help all of the animals inside the parks. And in the parks in Indonesia there are ALOT of animals because Indonesia is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet! Some of the cutest, most charismatic and endangered wildlife that my project will help include the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran rhino, and the sun bear. Scientists estimate that there are only around 7 to 8,000 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild and only about 200 to 300 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild. The sun bear is very rare and very shy and so no one knows, even approximately, how many are left in the wild. Many of the last orangutans, rhinos and sun bears are found inside national parks, so if you vote for me, together we can help parks in Indonesia ensure these wonderful creatures are around for future generations.

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Baby Sumatran orangutan

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Baby and mother Sumatran rhinos. Photo credit: Flickr user wAlanB

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Bornean sun bear. Photo Credit: Siew Te Wong and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre


  1. Augustus
    April 2, 2011, 7:01 am

    You have never specified what "scientific information" you plans to collect. The topic has always been vaguely addressed, and leaves a person confused. Why have you spoken so generally regarding the primary focus of your intended expedition? I cannot vote to fund research that has no clear definition.
    Also, I want to know how you mean to deliver this information to a meaningful audience, both domestically and abroad. What media networks exist that would support this campaign within Sumatra? The Internet in Sumatra is generally only available to tourist resorts and foreigner-destination hotels. With such meager funding, how could you possibly hope to disseminate information to the people in a way that would rally their enthusiasm? The Sumatran people are well aware of the poaching issue, and have established the Ministry of Forestry to tackle this problem…and even this government run organization is unable to stop the problem, with more than 130 park rangers murdered in the past 10 years, as you have said. Do you really think yourself so influential that you could pep-talk the government into greater success in not getting killed by poachers? I don’t think so.
    Sumatra aside, what effect do you think that your campaign would have on the international community? The only time in the history of mankind that anyone has cared about what is going on in Sumatra was when the earthquake there caused the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. With the revolutions of the Arab Spring, the multiple disasters happening related to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear nightmare in Japan, what is the likelihood that people in Asia or elsewhere will be able to be united under the banner of saving the Sun Bear? There is way too much going on right now for a public awareness campaign to succeed on an international level, period. There is no evidence that your "science" and "story" will have any impact whatsoever. Your campaign amounts to relying on undefined "science" to make a compelling "story" that the world will unite around. Just how egocentric are you? Why would the Sumatran government or the international community listen to the baseless stories of a 25 year old privileged white kid from California? An advertising major would have greater success at creating an international media hype than a rich, arrogant kid exploring countries for fun and calling it serious advocacy and research.

  2. Augustus
    April 2, 2011, 7:01 am

    I also wanted to mention your idol, Samuel LaBudde. He worked in relatively safe territories, such as Alaska, and did so back in the 1990’s. People simply don’t have the attention span for a pithy effort like your proposed project, to function. Since your aim is not something realistic — since your aim is to start a worldwide campaign and global movement — your project is unfeasible and a waste of support. You are not Charlie Sheen; nobody will just listen to your baseless rants and start to follow you on twitter.
    Charlie Sheen has 3,365,071 followers right now on twitter, while you have fewer than 300. What sort of global campaign can survive off such meager rations?
    Lastly, I want to address your primary statement on the Expedition Granted homepage until recently. You said that we should vote for you because 130 park rangers have been killed in the past 10 years in this one park alone. That is 13 a year for 10 years. You claim that the annual salary is $3,000 over in Sumatra, and as a result, you would have "plenty of cash" to tackle the problem. Even if you weren’t to blow your entire $10,000 on personal expenses and a single 30 second ad at 4:30am (because you certainly won’t get any real coverage for $10,000 dollars), and you somehow spent all of your winnings on park ranger salaries, your money would pay for the number of rangers killed in a brief 3 month period. What would happen with those 3 months of having 1 extra park ranger that would be so significant? How can you be sure that you, yourself, would not be killed, starting an international crisis between the United States and Sumatra? I cannot, in good conscience, let people think that your efforts are in any way acceptable. The scope and scale of your operation would take massive corporate effort.