I have just had two amazing days presenting my talks from my recent trip to Sumatra alongside Panut the founder of OIC from Sumatra. A big thank you to everyone that attended the Spotlight Sumatra talks in the Natural History Museum, London and Chester Zoo. I’ve only been back from Sumatra a few weeks and my trip is still so raw, with every image I process and publish taking me back there. I had amazing access over the two weeks and the images formed the basis of my talks. To speak at two such amazing and well respected places was a great honour for me.
I’ve made many visits to both places since childhood, Chester Zoo is an hour away from where I live and has an amazing successful breeding programme with all its animals but more so the very rare wildlife entrusted into its keeping. Sumatran animals are doing so well at the zoo. The Sumatran Tiger and the Sumatran Orangutans all giving birth to babies there. I met some amazing, passionate people during our time there all doing amazing work. The zoo does so much for wildlife conservation around the world. I have visited many places being a wildlife photographer from Madagascar to India and very often the locals in the countries I visit always mention Chester Zoo somewhere in our talks, that just shows you how respected this place is.
Helen Director of SOS, Panut and I had a guided tour of the zoo by vet Steve Unwin. I had sat in on a meeting he’d being having earlier with Panut and Helen and other important staff from the zoo. I was amazed at his knowledge and passion for the Orangutans. His no-nonsense approach really struck a chord with me and afterwards I told him. Time is running out for many animals throughout the world, but the problem is so acute now for the Sumatran Orangutan that everybody using all their knowledge and expertise needs to come together to help save this first great ape that may become extinct should current trends of de-forestation in Sumatra be allowed to continue. These words were echoed throughout Steve’s conversions.
During our visit we witnessed the new baby Sumatran Orangutan that was born there last week. His proud mum, Emma who was showing off here new baby boy to the public. Holding the baby so close reminded me of their wild counterparts in Sumatra. I have never witnessed such a close bond between mum and baby outside of humans during those encounters I saw in Sumatra and the same bond was clear to see here in Chester Zoo. Click here to read this amazing news.
Both talks were full houses and again I cannot thank everyone enough for attending and showing their support for the problems facing the Orangutans and their rainforest habitat. I met some wonderful, lovely people during those two days. I met some of the Sumatran Orangutan Society trustees who were all very nice, thank you all for helping Helen and SOS each of you. Thank you to the guys at the Natural History Museum for all your help in setting up the talks and slideshow. Special thanks to our host who helped Panut and me through it all, Ana Rita and kind lady.
Thank you to everyone from Chester Zoo for caring so much about the wildlife within your zoo and around the world. We had two lovely ladies helping us through the talks, comparing and doing the raffle. So a massive thanks you to Penny and Andrea for your help. Both have worked for many years at the zoo doing wonderful work, I hope we can see you all again in the future doing something along the same lines.
Lastly a huge thank you to everyone who attended both talks, what’s happening in Sumatra cannot go on any longer unchecked. With firm and loyal support small things will lead to change on the ground there and in turn a safer world for the Orangutans. I’d like to finish this blog with one of the presentations I showed. Just processing these images brought every emotion I went through in Sumatra flooding back to me. It’s a mixture of what I saw during my time there. It upsets me just watching this clip such was the effect this place and trip had on me. For best results watch in HD on YouTube full screen here.
The Spotlight Sumatra talks have been hugely successful already, raising money for SOS from prints, and many other items. Showing through powerful presentations what is happening out there. If you are a school. Trust, Zoo, Camera Club or anything like that who would like to host this series of talks then please get in touch with Helen Buckland, UK Director SOS here. Alternative contact me through email here many thanks.