Illegal logging – when the harvesting, processing, buying or selling of timber takes place in violation of local and national laws – is crippling smaller economies, fragile ecosystems and stunting the growth of wildlife populations worldwide: the World Bank estimates that the annual global market loses US$10 billion per year from illegal logging. And the environment gets a beating too – an estimated 10 to 30 per cent of global carbon emissions are attributed to deforestation, as well as having a considerable impact on regional climates, not to mention the growing list of species that are left without a home to lay their hats.
That’s where Reggie the red shanked duoc comes in. He’s the seemingly stony-faced yet warm-hearted (and undeniably well-turned out) Vietnamese monkey at the centre of The Body Shop’s newest Bio-Bridges scheme, which forms part of their Enrich not Exploit™ Commitment.
At the moment, he spends his days swinging through the treetops of the Khe Nuoc Trong forest (locally known as ‘the forest of hope’) in North Central Vietnam, a little over 460 kilometres south of Vietnam. But because his home is situated in rare remaining lowland forest, ‘Reggie’ and his pals aren’t sure of their future in the area, especially as rampant hunting and illegal logging and doesn’t help matters.
The Body Shop is one company that’s decided to take a stand against the global problem of diminishing wildlife. Partnering with a local NGO to help restore and protect what home turf the local species like the red shanked duoc, the Bambi-like saola (which is so rare, it’s been dubbed the ‘Asian Unicorn’), the Bengal Slow Loris and the Burmese Python has left, their Bio-Bridges scheme works to help the dwindling wildlife live safely and repopulate.
“We are aiming to protect, restore and regenerate 14.5 million square metres of habitat in Vietnam alone,” The Body Shop’s Marketing and Corporate Responsibility Director, Shannon Chrisp tells Collective Hub. “The Body Shop will donate funds from every customer transaction throughout the campaign that will protect one square metre of habitat in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest of North Central Vietnam, giving customers the opportunity to directly support the project.”
As the face of the campaign, ‘Reggie’ represents the one of over 340 species that inhabit the threatened forest area – 38 of which are on the international list of threatened species.
Based around a 30 year lease of a core area of the forest agreed with local authorities, World Land Trust and Viet Nature, The Body Shop will provide financial support to on-the-ground staff in order to bulk up rangers and field staff, while also increasing the capacity of existing rangers and forest guards as well as educating local communities to be part of a larger scheme to monitor and protect the forest.
“Some specific ways [local communities] will help are; patrolling the forest, removing traps/snares and freeing animals from traps, and engaging with forest owners, local communities and local authorities to prevent illegal logging,” Shannon explains. “Many of the communities will be given the opportunity to be employed in some way to help with the protection or planting of trees for habitat rehabilitation.”
So in lieu monkey Tinder, we’d say on-the-ground work in Vietnam is a pretty good second option to help Reggie find love.