collage226 September 2015 - Santa Monica, CA - Notable environmental achievements and the people behind those accomplishments were honored during the Second Annual Pongo Environmental Awards and Fundraiser in Beverly Hills, CA on September 26, 2015. 

Among this year’s recipients of the 2015 Pongo Awards include, Dr. Jane Goodall for her lifelong chimpanzee passion studying, protecting and educating people about this great ape; Panut Hadisiswoyo for leadership in fearlessly conserving orangutans and rain forests in North Sumatra; Bradford Schmidt of GoPro for creating "Our Orangutan Brethren", as part of his series of unique and compelling cause-related video stories about endangered animals from the species' perspective; Paul Salaman of Rainforest Trust whose organization has secured the future of over eight million acres of rain forest around the world; and Alexandra Saunders whose company, Nuubia San Francisco, produces award-winning, palm oil-free chocolates that does not threaten orangutans or other wildlife. Finally, Ed Begley,Jr., environmental activist and actor, received a Pongo Award for his lifelong commitment in support of many environmental causes and for leading by example to promote sustainable living  The theme for this year’s event was “Free to be Wild.” The theme represents the foundation's vision of a time when orangutans will be free to wander in the wild rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra as they did before humans became a threat to them.

The well attended event was held at the home of  Cheri and Naren Shankar and hosted by emcee Ed Begley, Jr. Both Cheri and Naren are accomplished in the fields of animal activism and television production, respectively. Attendees enjoyed vegan food and life entertainment, bid on unique silent and live auction items, and heard from inspiring people at the forefront of orangutan conservation.  

The Orang Utan Republik Foundation ( is dedicated to saving critically endangered wild orangutans and over 10,000 other threatened species from extinction through education and outreach programs in Indonesia. OURF awards scholarships to promising Indonesian students in the fields of Forestry, Biology and Veterinary Science to become scientists and conservationists. Subsequently, these young educators go on to work on the front lines of the conflict, educating villagers on new environmentally conscious agricultural techniques to grow crops in sustainable ways, and planting and reconditioning the devastated forests that have been burned to the ground. OURF field teams also train villagers who have a high degree of conflict with orangutans and gibbons, so the animals are not brutally killed by the native populations.

For more information, contact visit the Facebook event page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A hardcopy version of the invitation is found here.