Patrick Rouxel shares his passion for animal conservation with students
By Brenda Whately, Director of Alumni Relations
Patrick Rouxel ‘84 has a BA in Humanities from the University of California at Berkeley, a BA in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne and a number of environmentally-focused, award-winning documentary films to his name, but his real passion lies in animal conservation.
While working as a special effects supervisor for feature films some years ago, he made a trip back to Asia. Surprised by the extent of the deforestation in Sumatra, he decided to use his filmmaking skills to raise awareness about environmental conservation and the need for protection of tropical rainforests and animal habitats.
Since 2011 however, after discovering a number of captive sun bears held in dire conditions in Indonesia, he has spent most of his time rescuing and reintroducing sun bear cubs into the wild and improving the living conditions of captive adult bears.
Over the last couple of years Patrick has created a non-profit organisation called Sun Bear Outreach and has been constructing 15 large forest enclosures over an area of 15 hectares for 62 bears in the care of BOS (Borneo Orangutan Survival), in its refuge called Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
His next challenge, he says will be to make groups of two to six individuals that enjoy each other’s company. “Many of the bears are scarred for life from being deprived of everything for many years and they now find it difficult to make friends with other bears. So we need perseverance and luck to find a good match. But when we do, the bears go from being alone in a tiny cage to being among buddies in a large forested area, and that makes all the difference.”
Patrick came back to UWCSEA at the end of January 2019 and spoke to a number of student groups, including Grade 1 students who are studying an Animal Habitats Unit, Grade 5 students who are studying a Web of Life Unit, Grade 7 students who are completing a Systems Thinking and Sustainability Unit studying the interconnectivity between people and the environment, members of the animal welfare service group PAW, and the group of Grade 11 students who will be spending their upcoming Project Week working at Patrick’s sun bear rehabilitation enclosures. We thank Patrick for sharing his experience and passion for conservation.
Patrick’s latest film called Life is One about the return to life in the wild for three sun bear cubs is now available online. Click here to view a short teaser.
"My films are an act of global citizenship." Watch Patrick Rouxel share more about his work in filmmaking and environmentalism in the video below.
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