Deforested and degraded lands inhibit the ability of endangered plants and animals to grow and thrive again. Restored wildlife corridors such as “bio-bridges” within damaged landscapes can help re-establish plant populations and reconnect endangered animal populations to boost breeding.
As part of its new Enrich Not Exploit™ commitment, global beauty brand The Body Shop has launched a Bio-Bridges initative which aims to regenerate 75 million square meters – over 18,500 acres – of forest around the world and protect it from exploitation, poaching and unsustainable harvesting by 2020. The goal aligns with the company's larger target of protecting 10,000 hectares (nearly 25,000 acres) of forests and other habitat, one of 14 bold commitments for the same timeframe.
The Khe Nuoc Trong forest is home to rare species such as the Red Shanked Douc, Saola (known as the Asian Unicorn and one of the rarest animals on earth), Bengal Slow Loris and Burmese Python. These species are threatened by hunting for food and medicine and illegally logged with nearby habitats still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam war.
“We want to focus on actively enriching the world's biodiversity. These areas of forest in Vietnam are biological treasure troves that are being destroyed through poaching and illegal logging,” said Christopher Davis, The Body Shop's Director of Corporate Responsibility and Campaigns.
“Bio-Bridges are an innovative way to create protected corridors of biodiversity that allow the wider forest to flourish and its inhabitants to breed and thrive. In Vietnam, within 5 to 10 years we hope to be able to see endangered species multiply.”
The beauty brand has also launched a corresponding global campaign, “Help Reggie Find Love,” centered around Reggie, a Red-Shanked Douc– one of the species that will benefit from the Bio-Bridge project from Vietnam. The playful campaign raises awareness around the challenges the monkeys and other endangered species face in living safely and finding a mate. Every customer transaction in The Body Shop’s stores in 65 countries and online will directly support the project by restoring and protecting one square metre of habitat in the forest.
“The key thing for us with this project is how we engage the customer - and we're doing it in the guise of monkey dating,” Davis told edie. “We're building a link between two areas of forests where monkeys live - that's the stance we're taking to get consumers involved.”