Farwiza Farhan – 2016 Whitley Conservation Award winner
Farwiza is a fearless environmental activist leading the fight to protect Leuser — both on the ground and through high level legal advocacy. She built a grassroots community movement advocating for law enforcement against destructive oil palm companies that were ultimately fined $26 million. Farwiza also launched a citizen lawsuit, empowering local communities to meaningfully engage in policy making and inspiring new grassroots environmental defenders. As Co-Founder and Chair of Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh Foundation (Yayasan HAkA), Farwiza continues to take on big industry and government in order to protect Leuser.
Panut Hadisiswoyo – 2015 Whitley Conservation Award winner
For the past 15 years, Panut has led the Orangutan Information Centre, an NGO he founded in his native Sumatra to help save the critically endangered species of the Leuser Ecosystem. Panut and his team rescue orangutans found on the fringe of the forest as their habitat shrinks and from wildlife traders attempting to sell juveniles on the black market. Panut is also leading the Community Agroforestry, Reforestation and Education Programme (CARE), building a cadre of committed local supporters to restore degraded forests and protect what remains.
Rudi Putra – 2014 Goldman Conservation Award winner
Rudi is the first person to shut down illegal palm oil plantations by working extensively with local communities around the issue of water access and the flooding that results from deforestation. By activating support from local leaders, politicians, and police agencies in these areas, Rudi catalyzes successful law enforcement to dismantle the illegal concessions to naturally restore the forest. Humble and soft spoken, Rudi is a powerful force for conservation of Leuser.
Dr. Ian Singleton – 2016 Pongo Environmental Award winner
Dr. Singleton manages the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (a joint NGO – Indonesian Government working group), a quarantine center home to 45+ rescued orangutans. Formerly an English zookeeper, Singleton conducted Ph.D. studies on orangutans in the 1990s before dedicating his life to their protection. Caught between keeping ‘the official powers that be’ (i.e., those who could kick him out of the country) happy and fighting for preservation of the species, Singleton’s frustrations with the government’s failure to protect orangutans have turned him into an reluctant activist on the frontlines speaking truth to power.