Primate keepers, Louise Grossfeldt and Mandy McLellan, coordinated a 40 km walk for Zoo staff from Palm Beach to Taronga Zoo last weekend to help Orang-utans.
The pair took time off from their busy schedules at the Zoo where they care for the Taronga’s orang-utans, gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates, to help raise awareness and funds to save Orang-utans which are under terrible pressure in Asia from jungle clearance. In total they raised $7000 for the BOS program.
Louise and Mandy are also volunteers with Bornean Orang-utan Survival Australia (BOS) which is organising the fundraising walk. They have visit Orang-utan habitats and support centres in Borneo and care for the Zoo’s Orang-utans.
Louise said: “The explosion of Palm Oil plantations has speeded up the forest clearance where Orang-utans live in Borneo so rapidly that we could see the end of Orang-utans in the wild there in just a few years.”
“This walk will not only raise funds but give us the chance to show that palm oil is bad for all wildlife and yet we find it in much of what we use from biscuits to soap.”
“We hope to show people the connection between the food they eat and whole forests being cut down in Borneo, leaving the Orang-utans nowhere to go.”
“These are truly remarkable creatures, with great intelligence and humour. Jantan our big male can be quite a tease but to think of a world without Orang-utans is sad indeed.”
Taronga Zoo’s Orang-utans are part of the regional species management program for these great apes, with breeding programs at Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide Zoos. One of Taronga’s male Orang-utans is now at Adelaide for breeding.
Louise and Mandy have also been working as surrogate mothers to Elke, the tiny Francois Langur baby that was abandoned by her parents earlier this year.
Support for the program can be arranged through the BOS website at: www.orangutans.com.au