(Message from Indonesia)

The 2ND August was a red letter day for OVAID and for Pandu Wibisono the vet with the responsibility of the the health and welfare of orangutan being released back to the wild at Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme’s  (SOCP) remote release site at Jantho, Aceh, Sumatra and Arga Kusuma from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre at Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan. After much planning Arga and Pandu met with Nigel & Sara in Singapore in preparation to travel back to the UK for the start of the OVAID Bronwyn Scholarship which would see Arga and Pandu exchanging information on the care and welfare of orangutan with experienced vets and keepers at Chester and Paignton Zoos and hopefully honing and gaining skills during time spent at Liverpool University Vet School and at 1st opinion and specialist vet practices within the UK. Arga and Pandu hope to take these skills back with them to share with their veterinary team members and to help them with the care of the precious orangutan in their charge. The scholarship has been established with generous funding from the late Bronwyn Watson of Australia and will enable a number of Indonesian vets to increase their expertise.

The scholarship for our first two candidates will last until November 21st and Arga and Pandu will be bringing you updates of their experiences here in the UK as the weeks pass.

Arga arrives in Singapore after an exhausting journey

The first time in Singapore for both scholarship candidates was spent sightseeing and sampling the local cuisine. 

At Arga’s special request a detour in Changi airport included a visit to the only Pokemon store outside Japan - this was met with indifference by some members!

Before boarding our long-haul flight to the UK we even rounded up the crew for a selfie!! British Airways were extremely generous in giving us free baggage enabling us to take approximately 160kg of essential veterinary equipment out to Indonesia to the annual Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG) workshop.

There was no rest on reaching London and two hectic days of sightseeing enabled Arga and Pandu to take in the iconic sights and buildings before heading briefly to Cornwall.