Caroline Ladewig has been on several volunteering trips to Borneo where she helped rehabilitate orangutans.
Caroline Ladewig has been on several volunteering trips to Borneo where she helped rehabilitate orangutans. Contributed

Jane Goodall changed Lismore woman’s life

WHEN Lismore animal rights activist Caroline Ladewig was eight years old she read a book by Jane Goodall that would set the course of her life.

"That day I said that one day I was going to work in Africa with chimpanzees," Ms Ladewig said.

"It has taken a while but this is the ultimate thing I've wanted to do since I read her book."

The book, In the Shadow of Man, was an account of Dr Goodall's life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe.

"She's the most amazing and inspirational woman, and a kind and compassionate soul."

Ms Ladewig will set off to volunteer with Ape Action Africa in Cameroon for two months at the end of June.

While in Cameroon she will help rehabilitate olive baboons back into the wild.

She is also running an auction until June 15 to raise funds for Ape Action Africa.

"These places rely on donations to keep up their work and keep the species alive," Ms Ladewig said.

"I guess that's why I want to take a donation with me.

"The big ticket item in the auction is a motorbike and then I've got some jewellery, cushion covers - things I think other people will get value from."

Ms Ladewig has volunteered in Borneo a few times over the past six years, but this will be her first trip to Africa.

"My time in Borneo totally changed my life but this has been my ultimate dream ... it's just going to be incredible," she said.

After volunteering in Borneo Ms Ladewig changed her occupation and focused more of her time on living a more environmentally-conscious life.

"When I got back from Borneo I started studying veterinary nursing. Before that I was an acupuncturist," she said.

"I now work with animals full time. I started the Golden Paw Canine Health Retreat."

Ms Ladewig believes everything we buy has to end up somewhere.

"We're so used to replacing things all the time, we're a throw-away society," she explained.

The Auction for Apes is available as a Facebook event and interested buyers can put in a bid on the individual item photos.

Alternatively, you can donate to Ape Action Africa by visiting and searching Auction for Apes.