Rise of the Eco-Warriors - a Dural man's fight for animals

BEN Dessen's passion for orang-utan conservation will be shown this month in the documentary Rise of the Eco-Warriors.

The Dural resident is one of 15 young people from nine countries who spent 100 days in the Borneo jungle in 2011 to implement solutions to the palm oil-driven deforestation threatening local Dayak communities.

The Kellyville Pets employee, 21, said it was a life-changing experience.

"We had big expectations of changing the world but we had limited resources," he said. "The movie really drives the message that every action counts so even if we just saved one orang-utan or one local village, that's a start."

But they did more than that.

Australian director Cathy Henkel filmed the group as they built an orang-utan rehabilitation centre, introduced a satellite monitoring system, started a reforestation nursery, educated local people and built a global support network.

Mr Dessen helped build the Sintang Rehabilitation Centre.

"We started by rescuing Jojo, who was being kept as an illegal pet, and now we have 15 orang-utans at the centre," he said. "All we need now is for people to help keep the centre open and stop buying products with palm oil to put a stop to the deforestation."

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