Working With Apes Abroad

Working With Apes Abroad

One of our newest caregivers, Rebecca, started her job as a caregiver here at Chimps Inc. after returning from Borneo this summer. Her experience there was part of her graduate program in conservation biology where this location focused on primate conservation issues, strategies and community involvement:

There were many memorable and amazing points throughout the program in Borneo. One of the most incredible was seeing different primate species in the wild rather than in captivity. It gives one a whole new perspective and respect for that animal. I had spent the last couple years working with orangutans at a sanctuary, so seeing this lone female move through the trees, foraging for food gave me a new sense of dedication to conservation and advocacy for all primate species. Even though the first sightings of orangutans, long tailed macaques, and proboscis monkeys were amazing, I never got tired of spotting them or observing their behaviors. There were also many moments of peacefulness within the forest where everything seemed to be in balance; watching long tailed macaques playing on the rivers edge while pacific swallows were flying overhead and cicadas were calling; watching a mom and baby orangutan maneuver through the trees while bats rushed past us swerving around trees as the sun set. It was all breathtaking. In addition to these experiences, the dedication and hard work of the communities and individuals we met, who worked to protect and understand these animals and what they face with human conflicts, was awe inspiring.

I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose for wanting to help primates in our country, those that are exploited through the pet and entertainment trade. I plan to continue my graduate projects shedding light on these issues. Next year, I hope to have this same incredible experience in Africa and maybe get the chance to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

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Rebecca S., Caregiver