Nicholas Daines Blog 2015

Entry 7 - 13.03.15 (Part 1)

Today was a very special day indeed. I got to meet my adopted Orangutan Bidu Bidu for the very first time – and it was one of the most memorable days of my life for many reasons.

This blog has been a journey as Ambassador for Orangutan Appeal UK and this was without doubt one of the most spectacular highlights. I’ve never been involved with a charity before, and to be honest I had no real appreciation for the work that this amazing organisation does. So to be allowed into the belly of the beast as it were, and experience first hand just what the charity stands for and delivers on a daily basis was a true education.

The best thing is that it was all captured on camera so that I get to share this once in a lifetime opportunity with my followers and everyone else around the world!

As a presenter it’s my job to document a story in a totally natural and organic way – Well this particular video could not be more of a testament to that ethic, as it all just unravelled without effort before my eyes and the lens. To experience it for yourself click here

My cameraman for the day was Raymond Low and he did a great job keeping up with me and capturing the true emotion behind this unique experience.

It was an early start to capture the soft morning light for my first piece to camera. The beautiful lake of the Sepilok Nature Resort was a perfect backdrop. Then it was off to meet the caring staff that work so hard behind the scenes at the Sepilok Orangutan nursery. Years and years tireless dedication have made the centre a global phenomenon and linchpin in the continued survival of this incredible creature to keep the Orangutan from extinction.

I was given an extremely warm welcome by the head vet of the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, Dr. Laura – who took me in to the heart of the nursery to witness the busy morning routine in preparing the little baby Orangutans for the day.

It was at this point that I really began to understand just what the rehabilitation centre does and the fantastic work they do caring for the orphaned and displaced Orangutans. The happy and communicative screams of the babies as they received their morning formula was overwhelming. This was a place of complete love and devotion and it was extremely moving to witness.

As you can see in the picture above anyone entering the nursery must wear protective masks, gloves and wellington boots to minimise the risks of passing on any potentially harmful pathogens or disease to the vulnerable baby Orangutans. It certainly made making my documentary and interviewing key figures at the centre an unexpected challenge!

When I first arrived in Sepilok, Sue Sheward MBE, the founder of Orangutan Appeal UK, was keen to impress upon me that I would not be able to touch or hold the Orangutans during my visit for several very important reasons.  The main one being that baby Orangutans have a very fragile immune systems and so minimising contact severely reduces the risk of passing on any communicable diseases that might be detrimental to the health of the little ones. I had to provide my medical history to the centre including proof of Tuberculosis immunisation. Secondly, it is essential that throughout the rehabilitation process the baby Orangutans are not ‘humanised’ and do not become dependent on human interaction and contact. This constantly allows the babies to constantly develop and nurture their wild instincts and survival skills, so that one day they can be released back in to the rainforest.

Therefore, when Dr. Laura allowed me to lift my adopted Orangutan Bidu Bidu on to the examination table for his daily medical, (while under expert supervision), when I met him for the very first time – I could hardly contain my excitement and this really comes across in the video! It was so unexpected and such an enormous privilege – I couldn’t quite believe it was happening.  I was already pretty emotional from the whole experience, but having physical contact and being able to hold his hand just about sent me over the edge. It was so powerful. Baby Orangutans are cutest of animals and their adorable little faces, awkward physicality and vulnerability is enough to melt the coldest of hearts.

Being immersed in the activity of the nursery certainly highlighted just how vital Orangutan Appeal UK is to the centre providing funding that goes directly back to the care and survival of this great ape. It’s hard to express in words just what an emotional experience this was for me – but you can see from the film just how choked up I was! Just being in their mere presence was enough to lose it , but I was also brimming with pride to be a part of this amazing organisation.

Bidu Bidu is just one of many orphaned and displaced Orangutan babies at the centre that need our help. Please donate today online athttp://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk or contact adopt@orangutan-appeal.org.uk

Entry - 6 12.03.15

A quick and easy flight from Kota Kinabalu, arriving safely in Sandakan with Sue Sheward MBE.

Then it was straight off to Sepilok and the home of my adopted orphaned Orangutan Bidu Bidu!

When Sue told me we were off into the jungles of Borneo, I imagined tents or mud huts in the middle of the rainforest – so you can imagine the very pleasant surprise discovering the elegant style and sophistication of our accommodation at Sepilok Nature Resort. I have never been made to feel so welcome anywhere in my life and for anyone travelling to this part of the world this place is a MUST! The owners Mr. Ken Chung and his wonderful wife Mrs. Lycia Chung absolutely spoiled me and I am forever grateful for their amazing hospitality.

It was so exciting to be in Sepilok and one step closer to meeting my adopted Orangutan. My experience of seeing Orangutans swinging free for the first time had been unexpectedly emotional and I knew meeting Bidu Bidu would be that much more intense. For anyone who missed my experience at the Rasa Ria reserve please check out the video and – click here

There was no time to rest though for our team as we’d arrived in Sepilok just in time to experience the feeding platform at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

It was also a very proud moment to wear my official uniform as Ambassador for Orangutan Appeal UK.

My first feeding platform experience at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre was phenomenal. I recognised quite a few familiar faces from the meet the Animal Planet series ‘Meet The Orangutans’ – The naughty Ceria in Particular!

Here are 32 very good reasons not to get too close to an Orangutan! Ceria is such a character though and he came right down to sit with the tourists on the public viewing deck. Absolutely magic to watch! I also recognised Boogie Boy at the feeding platform too who was recently released and rehabilitated in to the Kibili Reserve. It was wonderful to see him thriving in the wild and showing what the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and Oragutan Appeal UK do really works!

Tomorrow is a very big day for me when I meet Bidu Bidu….so please stay tuned to my next blog!

Entry -5  11.03.15

Today was a very special day indeed. It started with some great morning filming – presenting on the beach and raising awareness of the 64 acres of protected endemic forest at the Rasa Ria Resort in Borneo, assigned purely for Orangutan rehabilitation and conservation.

Then it was my turn to go in to the reserve and try to find an Orangutan here in Boreno for the first time!

I looked and looked – scouring the forest canopy for one….(whilst modelling Orangutan T-shirt designs of Jacha Potgieter – You will be able to purchase these very soon and all precedes go to Orangutan Appeal UK )

Suddenly there was a movement in the trees…And finally I found this little perfect piece of nature!…Meet Itanban

It was a joy to see him come swinging towards me in the trees above my head. He made his way right down to me on the forest floor. I made sure to keep my distance as it is important the Orangutans in the reserve remain as wild as possible at this vital stage in their rehabilitation – so human contact must be minimal. It was difficult presenting to camera as I had to keep my wits about me because Itanban was continually curious of me and the camera

I have to say seeing an Orangutan up close and personal swinging free like this in the reserve was extremely emotional. I wasn’t ready for the massive emotional pull that it would have. They are just so beautiful, and you get an overwhelming sense of just how special this species really is.

What an amazing experience. Thank you again to Sue Sheward and Orangutan Appeal UK for this incredible opportunity.

Entry - 4 10.03.15

I can’t quite believe it, but I am in Borneo! Thankfully I didn’t disappear on my Malaysian Airways flight and the arrival in to Kota Kinabalu airport gave the most spectacular views of Mount Kinabalu from the air.

Touching down in Kota Kinabalu as Ambassador for Orangutan Appeal UK, my envoy duties began immediately with a meeting with the new director of the Sabah Wildlife department Mr. William Baya. Conservation in Borneo is a collaborative effort and Orangutan Appeal UK works in conjunction with Sabah Wildlife in Sepilok and in the Orangutan reserve at the Rasa Ria Resort.

It was amazing to see just how well respected Orangutan Appeal UK is here and the was certainly highlighted as I found myself shaking hands with the Minister of Environment and Tourism for Borneo at an incredible sunset banquet on the beach.

It was a fantastic and extremely educational introduction to Orangutan Appeal UK’s work out here in Borneo and I can’t wait to contribute.

Entry -3 12.02.15

Just three weeks to go now until my inaugural visit to Borneo as Ambassador for Orangutan Appeal UK.

The more I get involved in the work of this amazing charity, the more it becomes apparent that although the Orangutans in the forests of Borneo seem like a long way away, what is happening to these beautiful creatures affects us all.

The impact of deforestation has put the Orangutan on the endangered species list. Huge swathes of forest the size of Panama are lost each and every year. Trees play a vital role in the absorption of greenhouse gases that fuel global warming – fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere resulting in increased speed and severity of global warming.

Orangutans and humans are incredibly similar and unless we act now and acknowledge the plight of this wonderful animal to  change the world as a whole – it’s a matter of time before it’s our turn!

Nicholas YouTube piece to camera 

Entry-2 03.02.15

Meet Peanut! He is absolutely adorable but he is afraid to climb. Without his mother to teach him the ropes, Peanut is struggling to get to grips with things.

So for today’s entry for my blog I took to the gym, not only to make sure I’m fit enough to  swing from the trees with the Oragutans when I get to Borneo, but to give Peanut a little encouragement and show him how it’s done! Check out my video on youtube

Here you can get to see Peanut in action in the trailer for the up coming Animal Planet series "Meet The Orangutans"

 

Entry-1 01.02.15

It is an honour and a privilege to be awarded the role of Ambassador for Orangutan Appeal UK and I can’t wait to get stuck in and carry on the important work this incredible charity is doing.

My first trip to Borneo as an official envoy is just 5 weeks away and I can hardly contain my excitement.

This is an amazing opportunity to experience first hand the plight faced by these beautiful creatures and witness the destruction of their habitat.

Through my journey and blog I want to share with you just what it’s like to experience Borneo and the work of Orangutan Appeal UK at the Sepilok rehabilitation centre, and to capture meeting the Orangutans up close and personal for the very first time.

I am particularly excited to meet my adopted orphaned Orangutan Bidu Bidu. He looks absolutely adorable and to be able to be part of his rehabilitation is very special indeed.

So as I end my first official blog entry, I would just like to say another heartfelt thank you to CEO and founder of Orangutan Appeal UK, Sue Sheward, for letting me be a part of it and for making the world a better place!