Coronavirus update from our Chairperson

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15th April 2020

Dear Supporters

I thought you may well like to know how the terrible situation with the Coronavirus, which is devastating the world's populations, may be affecting our beautiful critically endangered orangutans in Sabah, Borneo.

As you are aware the orangutan is a very close cousin of our sharing 96.4% the same genes. They are particularly susceptible to human diseases such as the common cold from which they can die, so needless to say this new virus is posing a huge threat to their existence.

The Sabah Government took the decision to close Sepilok doors to the public on March 18th and the country was put on lock-down. This had the knock on effect that as the Rangers at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre are all employed by the Government there was nobody left to care for the youngsters at Sepilok. Fortunately, most of the staff in Sepilok's Indoor and Outdoor Nurseries are local Malaysians who are employed by OAUK and I am very proud to say that they have all volunteered to continue working for us doing this very important job, so our supporters contribution is more important now than it has ever been before!

To date, this terrible pandemic has not transferred to the orangutans but all the staff are constantly observing them, on the outlook for any symptoms, to enable them to take urgent action should the need arise.

Other sanctuaries throughout Asia and Africa have also followed our lead to close their doors to the public as a safety measure which I am sure we are all pleased to know.

As you may know this terrible disease started in one of China's wildlife wet markets in Wuhan and several petitions are currently calling for a ban on these markets and also the cruel dog markets which operate in China in a very similar way. I am pleased to say that we have recently heard that there is going to be a “stop” placed on these markets which I hope will please you.

At this very, very difficult time I would like to wish you all to “STAY SAFE” and sincerely hope that the end of this horrendous disease will shortly come into sight.

Sincerely yours

Susan Sheward MBE
Chairperson & Founder