Home Page > News > Emergency Appeal – We Need Your Help

Thank you to all of our supporters who have recently donated to us in these trying times. We are so incredibly grateful for your support.

During this time of struggle against a global pandemic, now more than ever we need your help to continue the important work of saving orangutans in Borneo and ensuring their protection from COVID-19. We are running low on supplies and desperately need additional funding to purchase vital protection equipment for our staff to ensure the safety of the orangutans in our care.

Following is an emergency appeal from Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas…


Friends of OFI Australia:

We need your help. All great apes, including orangutans, seem to be vulnerable to human respiratory diseases so when the coronavirus reared its ugly head, we acted fast! Our Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Central Borneo went into lockdown during the first week of March 2020. Camp Leakey and all field camps followed on March 19, 2020. Since that time all staff, whether at the Care Centre or in the forest, have been wearing face masks, face shields and sterile gloves as well as donning personal protective clothing when coming into direct contact with orangutans while performing medical procedures, rescues, and releases. Our veterinarians are testing newly arrived ex-captive orangutan orphans for the coronavirus while staff are getting tested at the local hospital. So far so good: everyone examined, orangutan or human, has tested negative for the virus.

But we are running short of supplies, and facing logistical and transportation difficulties. It has now been four months since we put our facilities on lockdown. In order to continue providing the strong protection we need against the coronavirus and keep it away from our precious orangutans, whether at the Care Centre or in the wild, we need to buy more supplies and upgrade our transport systems.

There are 230 local staff working in Borneo at the Care Centre and in the field. At the Care Centre there are almost 300 orangutans, both 1) wild born ex-captive orangutan orphans being rehabilitated for release to the wild and 2) wild adolescent and adult orangutans recently rescued from human-wildlife conflict situations who are being treated for injuries/wounds sustained as a result of these conflicts.

As a supporter, you may know that over the years we have successfully released about 700 ex-captive orangutans into the wild and translocated over 50 wild orangutans to safe forest locations.

In order to maintain our efforts to protect not only the orangutans under our care, but those whom we have released as well as wild orangutans we encounter, we need additional funding to buy the following supplies and equipment: 

  • Personal protective clothing (top and bottom) for most of our field staff at $47 for one set each (includes head covering, face shield, goggles, and shoe coverings)
  • Coronavirus test kits for $750 per box of 40 tests
  • Medical face masks (N-95) $70 for set of 50
  • Medical gloves sterile $30 for set of 50
  • Anaesthetics (various) for about $1,000
  • Four-wheel drive vehicle specifically for Care Centre hospital and veterinary and caregiver use to transport medical supplies, take samples to local hospital in town, and be prepared for medical emergencies $40,000.

These supplies will need to last as long as this pandemic does. It seems to have not yet reached a peak in Indonesia as the numbers of people infected and dying from COVID-19 are still increasing.

We must protect the orangutans and the staff who serve them for as long as necessary. We ask for your help in raising $50,000 to make this help possible. Please help us as much as you can during this difficult time.

Please remember that the continued survival and well-being of orangutan populations depends on all of us.

Without you, orangutans here in Borneo might face a devastating loss in their battle for survival. We cannot let that happen. Your support remains critical and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.

In gratitude,

Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas
OFI President