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We are already a quarter of a century old. In 1996, Regina Frey, now President of the Board of Trustees, established the PanEco Foundation in Berg am Irchel in the Zurich Weinland region in order to put her commitment to nature conservation in Indonesia on a stable footing and also expand it to Switzerland. Since then, we have grown and developed into a professionally run, medium-sized non-profit organisation – with programmes in Switzerland and Indonesia.



How it all began
After finishing her studies in biology at the University of Zurich, Regina Frey travels with her fellow student Monika Borner to Sumatra. On behalf of WWF International, the Indonesian government and the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the two women set up the second orangutan rehabilitation centre in the small village of Bukit Lawang on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park.
Foundation establishment
The PanEco Foundation is established. In the old school building in Berg am Irchel, the office and a course and work room for environmental education activities are set up.
Start SOCP
With the signing of an agreement between PanEco, our Indonesian sister foundation YEL and the Indonesian Office for Nature Conservation, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme SOCP is initiated.
Founding YEL
Together with two like-minded people, Regina Frey founded the local partner NGO YEL, which is responsible for implementing PanEco's programmes, especially the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme.
Environmental education Switzerland
Local stakeholders together with Regina Frey founded the initiative «NeulandWeinland» within the framework of an Agenda 21 at communal level. This gave rise to environmental education offers and finally the environmental education centre NeulandWeinland
Tsunamis in Sumatra
An earthquake and subsequent tsunamis wreak unimaginable havoc on the northwest coast of Sumatra at Christmas 2004. Through our good network in Sumatra, we are one of the first on the ground and, in countless night shifts, put everything into motion to organise aid. This includes organising emergency medical aid missions and – together with Caritas Switzerland – setting up a hospital on site.
Zewo certification
In 2006, we are certified by Zewo to show that we use our donations effectively and for the intended purpose. We still hold the seal of approval today.
Integration bird of prey station
Veronika von Stockar, Regina Frey’s mother, hands over the management of the Berg am Irchel Bird of Prey Sanctuary to the PanEco Foundation on account of her age. So we now run three programmes – two in Switzerland and one in Indonesia.
Opening of the Nature Centre
The Canton of Zurich looks for an organisation that can set up and operate a nature centre in Flaach, on the edge of the Thurauen floodplain, which the canton will revitalise over 10 years. PanEco applies and its bid is successful because of its experience in environmental education and its local roots. In August 2011, the centre is officially opened. The activities of the NeulandWeinland Environmental Education Centre are integrated into the nature centre.
New structures
Due to the relatively sudden growth of the foundation because of the takeover of the Bird of Prey Sanctuary and the opening of the Thurauen Nature Centre, PanEco has to make structural changes. A management body is appointed for the first time, communication and fundraising are established and expanded, and the entire foundation is professionalised.
New management
After a 5-year stabilisation phase, the former Head of Communication and the Head of Finance together take over the management from their predecessor: Irena Wettstein and Marcel Etterlin form the two-member management team with immediate effect.

How we finance ourselves


The PanEco Foundation is largely financed by donations. About 1/3 of our funds come from private donors. Another large part (> 50%) comes from funding foundations. Contributions from the cantons make up 7% and a small part is generated through events and guided tours.

Our fundraising activities are guided by the ethical guidelines of Swissfundraising and Zewo.


What we use our money for


Annual accounts and audit


Get to know our team

Our approach

Learn how we work



Our Annual Report 2023 is here!

Orangutan protection, Rainforest protection, Sustainable development

A cross-organisational initiative to protect the Leuser ecosystem

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orangutan and rainforest

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