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Brothers wild about orang-utans

Sydney brothers Daniel and William Clarke and warriors for the orang-utan met yesterday with the United States ambassador, Jeffrey Bleich, at the United States embassy in Canberra.

Bleich requested the meeting, impressed by the boys' passion to save the orang-utan in Borneo and Sumatra, with the teenagers raising more than $600,000 to preserve the animal's environment.

William, 13, said they hoped the meeting with the ambassador would get them a step closer to their goal of addressing the United Nations.

And their message to the UN would be clear. ''Stop clear-felling the jungles of Borneo for the production of palm oil,'' William told us.

The boys have sponsored more than 7000 acres of pristine Borneo rainforest via the Australian Orangutan Project and Orangutan Foundation International habitat protection programs. Daniel, 15, who has cerebral palsy, kick-started the effort when he was just 10.

The brothers also visited Red Hill Primary School and Canberra Boys Grammar School this week and made an appearance at Paperchair book store in Manuka to promote their book , Tears in the Jungle.

So how did their parents Rodney and Penny end up with two such remarkable boys? ''We often ask ourselves that,'' Rodney said, with a laugh. ''Penny and I are just along for the ride.''