The driving force behind Wildlife Watchdogs is Femke den Haas. 15 years ago the animal activist left for Indonesia to help with the care of orangutans in the jungle.
She learned the Indonesian language and set up the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN Foundation) together with local residents. By doing this, they improved animal welfare in Indonesia and operated in a network with all existing animal rescue centers, organizations and government institutions. Because the recent focus has been on stopping the trade in wild animals, Project Wildlife Watchdogs was started to help raise support for these much needed and important programs.
Started small, stayed local
The foundation started small, but is now a fully-fledged body with 60 paid employees: only local residents. We believe that work and awareness must come primarily from the Indonesians. We provide paid work and raise awareness. That also works the other way around, we have to get the locals behind us. In the coming years, everyone in southern Indonesia must oppose the trade in wild animals. Our staff lives near the Sumatra Wildlife Center and therefore near the main smuggling route. The control is thus to grow even bigger and the tamtam goes fast. The knowledge of the local population helps us to stop smugglers.