Orangutan Foundation International Australia is delighted to welcome Prof Charlie Teo to our Board and as our Ambassador.
Prof Teo is best known in Australia as a fearless neurosurgeon, who pioneered the use of endoscopic techniques in brain surgery, minimizing recovery time for patients.
But many Australians would be unaware of his personal crusade to save the world’s endangered orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra, and significantly, the rainforests in which they live.
Eighteen months ago, Charlie, his wife Genevieve and their 4 daughters went on an eco-tour to Borneo to see the work of the world’s foremost authority on orangutans and founder of Orangutan Foundation International, Dr Birute Mary Galdikas.
They travelled by boat, deep into the heart of Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo’s Central Kalimantan region, where Dr Galdikas established the Camp Leakey research station 42 years ago. It remains an active research hub for these great apes, with Dr Galdikas continuing to head a dedicated team.
During their weeklong visit, Prof Teo and his family were instantly taken with Dr Galdikas, the quietly spoken orangutan lover, and inspired by her latest project to secure the orangutan’s habitat, by buying vast tracts of land, to prevent its wholesale destruction.
“Orangutans, share approximately 97% of our human DNA, and it’s blindingly obvious when you see the mothers interacting with their families with such “human like” qualities,” said Prof Teo.
Whatever the reason, these adorable great apes, are on the brink of extinction.
It’s crystal clear …. Buying rainforest is not only the BEST way of securing orangutan habitat, it may well be the ONLY way.