Eleven years ago, biology graduate, race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter made the commitment to adopt an acre of rainforest for every race she runs. Today, Leilani is proud to announce that she has stepped up her rainforest commitment considerably for the eight races she is running in 2018 in the No. 20 Vegan Strong Toyota for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series. Leilani has partnered with Rainforest Trust to protect over 1,500 acres of rainforest, which will prevent over 60,000 metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere.
With her donation Leilani is supporting a Rainforest Trust conservation project located along the Mahakam River on the island of Borneo in East Kalimatan, Indonesia. The river is home to a Critically Endangered population of Mahakam River Dolphin that consists of around 80 individuals. Researchers are in the process of analyzing the DNA of this isolated population and believe that it may be genetically distinct from other populations of Irrawaddy Dolphin, an Endangered cetacean that is typically found in coastal shallows throughout Southeast Asia. The area is also home to many other Endangered species including the Bornean Orangutan, Malaysian Giant Turtle, Proboscis Monkey and Storm’s Stork, as well as numerous threatened bird species. Leilani has plans to travel to Borneo to visit the area with Rainforest Trust.
“We are so excited that Lelani has chosen to share the story of our important conservation work in Borneo with all of her racing fans,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman. “When she visits this proposed protected area in the future, she will be a stronger advocate for the importance of saving species and rainforest.”
“Rainforest Trust is doing incredible work and I am thrilled to partner with them,” Leilani said. “We are living through the sixth mass extinction event: humans are pushing animals to extinction at a rate that is 1,000 greater than the natural background rate of extinction. I don’t want to live in a world without wild creatures. Our generation needs to do everything we can to save these species we can before it’s too late.”
On July 12, Leilani will be at the United Nations in New York City to speak during The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. She will be speaking about the human impact on our planet, biodiversity and wild animals. Her next ARCA race at Pocono Raceway is on Friday, July 27. The race airs live on FS1 at 4pm ET.