Orangutan Caring Week takes place every mid November to celebrate our beautiful and extraordinarily intelligent orange cousins. It’s also a time for raising awareness regarding the threats they face because, tragically, their numbers continue to plummet as vast areas of tropical rainforest are felled, burned, and converted to plantations for commodities like palm-oil.
Unless these critically endangered great apes are better protected, they could face extinction in as little as 10 years.
©Photo by Gerry Ellis.
Creating awareness is the first step towards making a difference, which is why we’re launching our new feature In The Spotlight, where we highlight classic Talking Apes episodes that center on highly critical issues.
Our first Spotlight episode revisits our 2021 conversation with orangutan veterinarian and founder of the British charity OVAID, Nigel Hicks.
Nigel, his partner Sara, and the OVAID team are some of those remarkable people who have turned their compassion for orangutans into action in the ongoing fight to save these gentle beings from extinction. Their pioneering initiative provides desperately needed veterinary supplies and assistance to rescue teams on the ground in Asia who often lack the critical resources needed to treat the flood of injured, malnourished, and sick orangutan victims arriving in their care.
We checked in with Nigel and Sara who are currently traveling across Indonesia and Malaysia carrying out their vital work. They told us that in the past few weeks they’ve delivered 170 kg of veterinary equipment, including an x-ray generator and two dental systems, to several orangutan rescue centers. Moreover, they’ve provided funding for a specialist wildlife dentist to travel out and perform complex surgery on a rescued orangutan and offer practical training to other vets in Sumatra and Borneo.
OVAID’s supporters join them on their annual fundraising tour (photo by OVAID).
It’s heart-breaking to imagine the trauma that the sentient and clever orangutans go through when their homes are destroyed, their families killed, or they are illegally stolen from the wild to be imprisoned as pets. But for the ones that thankfully find their way into the hands of rescuers, having well trained and resourced veterinary professionals at hand means that they can receive the medical care they need to make the next step in their journey back to freedom.
Click HERE to listen to the full episode with Nigel from OVAID.
To listen to more Talking Apes episodes featuring the experts fighting for orangutan survival, visit talkingapes.org and keep an eye out for future Spotlight episodes with new blogs, updates, and photos bringing these crucial stories back into the light.
Thank you once again to our friends at OVAID (and their generous donors) for their incredible achievements.
OVAID’s founders, Nigel and Sara head to Indonesia to carry out ‘Mission Possible’ , providing veterinary equipment to orangutan rescue centers in need (photos by OVAID).
Orangutan Caring Week website:
By Demelza Bond (Media & Communications Manager/Assistant Producer at GLOBIO/Talking Apes)