In May this year, orangutan conservationist Melvin Gumal received the Whitley Award for conservation in ape habitats donated by the Arcus Foundation. To highlight his exceptional work to protect these iconic apes, Melvin visited the Arcus Foundation for a week of activities in September.
Accompanied by WFN staff, Melvin visited the US Department of State in Washington DC to discuss his project with representatives from the Bureau of Oceans and International Scientific Affairs. A reception was held to showcase Melvin’s work to a variety of NGOs in New York, and presentations were made to the Arcus office. The week concluded with a visit to Melvin’s colleagues at the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he holds the position of Director of the Malaysia Programme, to update them on his progress.
Since winning the Whitley Award, Melvin has received significant media coverage in his home country of Malaysian Borneo which has boosted both the local and national profile of his work. The Award has also increased his access to the decision makers responsible for declaring protection of rainforest habitat, as well as opened several new fundraising doors to further support his important work. We are extremely grateful to the Arcus Foundation for organising and donating the cost of this week.