Dear Friends of Saola,
We are thrilled to share news of some significant developments in our mission to help find and save the Saola.
Introducing the Saola Gold Partnership, and a major new supporter
The staff and Board of Directors of the Saola Foundation have given great consideration to meaningful and impactful ways to attract the much-needed funds to find and save the Saola. To that end, we are delighted to introduce a new initiative, one that will recognize and give something back to our most generous donors: the Saola Gold Partnership. The Saola Gold Partnership is a group of supporters who each commit a minimum of 50,000 US$ or euros over one year to our Saola search program. Membership comes with some special benefits, which you can learn about here. Our goal is to recruit at least 20 members into the Saola Gold Partnership, to collaboratively generate $1 million for the Saola search effort.
As we roll out the Saola Gold Partnership, we are delighted to announce its first three members: Beauval Nature (https://www.beauvalnature.org/en/), Synchronicity Earth (https://www.synchronicityearth.org/), and the Saola Foundation’s newest major donor, the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation (LCAOF; https://www.lcaof.org/). Last week, LCAOF informed us of their decision to contribute $100,000 to the Saola search and our efforts to protect the Annamites. Thank you, LCAOF!! And welcome and deep thanks to the other two ‘first responders’ of the Saola Gold Partnership.
Welcome to a new board member
We are honored and excited to announce that Dr. Frank Hawkins has joined the Saola Foundation’s Board of Directors, effective August 1. Dr. Hawkins is a distinguished conservation leader, with decades of experience working with governments, finance institutions, civil society and local communities around the world. He has served as Senior Vice-President of Conservation International, and led CI’s programme in Africa and Madagascar, during which time he launched the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability. Until August 2021, Dr. Hawkins was Director of the IUCN North America office, and is now a policy and finance advisor to IUCN. He focuses on the use of natural capital data in investment decision-making, and on bringing the conservation and finance communities together to drive change in international conservation. He was instrumental in creating the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation and in developing the Species Threat Abatement and Restoration biodiversity metric.
Dr. Hawkins is passionate about the Saola Foundation’s mission, and we and Saola are immensely fortunate to have his talents and experience added to our efforts. He replaces Phoutsakhone Ounchith on our board, who stepped down to focus on her new life and career in Australia. We are so very grateful for her contributions during her tenure, and she has promised to stay close!
Leading by example
Speaking of our board, we would like to express deep gratitude to the board for leading by example with their financial donations to the Saola Foundation. Thus far in 2022, the six members of the Saola Foundation’s board have collectively donated more than $25,000 of their personal funds to the Saola search (led by Board Chair Steve Burns, with a donation of $15,000), with additional donations from members of our Advisory Council. They have led with the kind of commitment that puts saving Saola within reach. We are deeply grateful to them – and hope you will follow their lead.
Introducing a new partner!
The Askari Project (https://www.theaskariproject.org/) is an initiative that focuses mainly on elephant conservation. However, they support the conservation of other species as well, by selling some fantastic, custom-designed merchandise, from which 100% of the sale profits go to that species. We are thrilled to announce that the Askari Project has partnered with the Saola Foundation, and has just launched an entire line of Saola and Saola Foundation merch! The Askari Project uses a cutting-edge distribution system that minimizes fossil fuel consumption, and so they can ship their products all over the world at low cost to both you and the environment. Check out the Saola items here!
Please consider ordering some things for you and/or your loved ones – including Saola. And again, from each sale, a lot of dollars, not just a few pennies or pence, will go to the Saola Foundation for the Saola search.
We are most grateful to Glenn Sullivan of Taronga Zoo in Australia for connecting us with the Askari Project (and to our friend Terry Hornsey for connecting us with Glenn!).
Next month the entire senior team of the Saola Foundation – CEO Lorraine Scotson, President Bill Robichaud and Technical Director Rob Timmins – will rendezvous in Lao. This will be the first opportunity for any of them to travel to Lao since the pandemic unfolded. Exciting time! High on the agenda will be coordination meetings with our Lao government and NGO partners, and working with our Lao Programs Director, Olay, to finalize selection of the local village members of the Saola search team. Thanks to the faith and support of so many of you, we are very close to getting the integrated search team into the field. Our Saola Foundation crew will work vigorously on the final steps together in Lao – in addition to vigorously attending Olay’s wedding in Vientiane on November 6!
Watch in the coming weeks for the team’s updates from Lao.
Keep calm, do a bit of Askari shopping, and help find Saola. Thank you!!