DJUNGELSKOG soft toys collection is full of friends to play with and – sometimes – get consolation from. But it has one more important purpose: to highlight wild animals that are endangered due to human activities. Like the orangutan. It lives in Borneo's rainforests where fires and deforestation have reduced their numbers. But it's possible to reverse the trend.
Martin Petri, who works with sustainability at IKEA, was in a rainforest in Borneo in 2016. It was hot and humid. The sound from surrounding wildlife resonated intensively in all directions. High up in a tree, he caught a glimpse of an orangutan dwelling – they were back. "In 1983, a forest fire destroyed 18,500 hectares of rainforest", says Martin. "When Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, heard about it he wanted to contribute to the restoration of the rainforest. That's why, since 1998, we've financed the project ‘Sow a seed’ which has led to more than 12,500 hectares of rainforest being replanted."
"Wild animals provide a sense of freedom, in particular for children living in urban environments", says child psychologist Barbie Clarke, who has extensively researched about children and their development. The natural habitats of the orangutan, panda, tiger and other DJUNGELSKOG animals are threatened. This concerns many children. "But they’re also curious and want to learn more about the animals", explains Barbie. That’s why DJUNGELSKOG includes a number of books, too.
Humans have the possibility to restore the natural habitats of animals and the biological diversity which provides balance in nature ─ just like in the rainforest Martin Petri visited. “’Sow a seed’ is one of the world’s largest rainforest projects, and has given involved researchers valuable knowledge which will be useful for other rainforests which have burned down or been felled", explains Martin. More rainforest in Borneo means more orangutans swinging between the trees with their long arms. What a beautiful sight.