RAISING close to $350,000 to buy land and protect the habitat of thousands of orangutans - man's closest cousin, Panania resident Gail Browning is stepping down after 10 years from her post as regional organiser of The Orangutan Project (TOP).
"When I discovered the desperate plight of orangutans while working for 'Free The Bears' and fundraising for Australian animals, I travelled to Borneo to learn more about their fight for survival," she said.
"Seeing firsthand the vast deforestation, I was inspired to make a difference, joining TOP, leading a team of volunteers to create awareness and fundraise, holding regular stalls and also organising live music events.
"I'm retiring because I have more piano playing work and teaching than I have for a decade, so more of my time is taken now.
"I will still be supporting TOP as I don't want to stop helping these animals but I also know our own forests are being replaced by more and more housing so I may campaign to help protect Australian animals."
TOP president Leif Cocks said: "Gail has been a devoted and passionate volunteer for orangutan conservation for over 10 years; the longest serving rep in TOP's history.
"Her immense contribution during this time has made a significant difference to the lives of many orangutans and other wildlife."
The Orangutan Project is looking for someone to take on the team leader role of fundraising in the southern Sydney area. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.