Belfast Telegraph

Body Shop backing scheme to help wildlife in rainforests

A £2 million scheme to create 10 new "bio-bridges" which link up areas of rainforest to help wildlife has been launched by the Body Shop.

The global scheme aims to protect and regenerate 10 corridors between wildlife hotspots by 2020 to connect isolated and endangered animals and plant species and allow them to breed and thrive.

It comes after the company worked with conservationists on schemes in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, helping species such as orangutans, tigers and monkeys, and is in addition to its commitment to protect 75 million square metres of habitat by 2020.

Wildlife spotted in areas protected under the scheme in Malaysia includes water monitor lizards, tapirs, sun bears and muntjac deer.

A key part of the World Bio-Bridges Mission involves engaging local communities to support the long-term protection of the habitat but helping them develop more sustainable ways of life.

The Body Shop will also look to identify potential new natural ingredients from the wildlife hotspots, creating sustainable sources and a viable alternative to logging and poaching for the local communities, it said.

Funding will be available for conservation groups to apply for from the Body Shop, and funds and awareness will be raised through the sale of special edition products each year.

The company has worked with the World Land Trust on several bio-bridges.

Bill Oddie, broadcaster and ambassador for the World Land Trust, said: "Bio-Bridges!? What, like the one they were going to build over the Thames? No, much more useful than that, and a little more remote.

"Wild animals need to swing and leap freely through the trees and not be restricted to what few diminishing patches of wild habitat are left.

"What do they need to be able to cross safely from one patch to another? Bio-Bridges. There are never enough!"

Christopher Davis, international director of corporate responsibility and campaigns, The Body Shop, said: "Through protecting and regenerating land, working with local communities and seeking partnerships with civil and state organisation around the world, the World Bio-Bridges Mission can make a substantial difference to some of the planet's richest and most diverse areas."