'Save our Souls'
In January 2018 Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic worked with Orangutan Information Centre and Sumatran Orangutan Society carved a giant SOS distress call into the landscape of an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, calling attention to the ongoing destruction of Indonesia’s forests and the demise of endangered species.
The canvas for this intervention was an oil palm plantation, land almost totally devoid of wildlife, directly next to the Leuser Ecosystem - the only place in the world where orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos coexist. In order to restore the land for wildlife, the palm plantation had to be removed which created an opportunity for this creative colaboration.
At the end of 2017, fresh and handmade cosmetics company Lush partnered with conservation charity Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) with the launch of the #SOSsumatra campaign and a limited edition Orangutan Soap across Europe. There are only 14,600 orangutans remaining in the wild in Sumatra. In tribute to them, Lush made 14,600 soaps, which flew off the shelves in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Czech Republic, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Estonia, Switzerland and the UK, selling out in many countries in a matter of days and raising £126,014. The proceeds enabled the UK charity’s Indonesian partners, the Orangutan Information Centre, to buy 50 hectares of oil palm plantation land, to reclaim and restore native forest to an area on the edge of the Leuser Ecosystem in Bukit Mas, Sumatra.
Future Plans for the land
- Clear total of 100 hectares of plantation.
- Plant trees native to the local forest.
- Study and protect animals returning to the land.
- Build permaculture farm and public school to employ and educate local communities.