Head of Orangutan Conservation Program Honored by Queen Elizabeth II
Ian Singleton now “OBE”
Dr. Ian Singleton was honored by Queen Elizabeth II and received the Order of the British Empire. Ian Singleton has been the director of the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Program since 2001 when the program began.
Why the Honor?
Born in Britain, Ian Singleton received the recognition or title “Officer of the Order of the British Empire”, OBE for short, on October 10, 2020, from the British Queen. He received the award for his services in favor of species and nature conservation in Sumatra. The Queen of England is honoring his longstanding commitment to the Orangutans and the rainforest on Sumatra.
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program
His first contact with the Sumatran orangutans was made by Dr. Singleton at the Jersey Zoo in the Channel Islands, UK. He left Jersey in 1996 to study wild Orangutans in Sumatra for his Ph.D. at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. After completing his Ph.D. in 2000, he immediately returned to Sumatra to found the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. The program’s goal is to help protect and conserve wild Orangutans and their habitat. When asked about the special award, Ian said: “I am very honored and very proud that all of our hard work over the years is recognized. However, I would like to emphasize: this was not the work of any individual or an organization. This award is in recognition of the entire team of committed conservationists, most of them Indonesians, with whom I have been able to work throughout my career. “The primatologist also emphasizes: “Our work is not done yet. There are still many Orangutans in Sumatra that are illegally kept as pets or trapped and isolated in fragmented forest areas. We need to bring these Orangutans back to safe and protected rainforests where they can contribute to the future of their species.” Immediately he adds the ultimate goal of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program: “We are building new, genetically independent and viable orangutan populations. These populations act as a “safety net” or “backup” in the event a disaster hits the remaining populations. “The value of the new wild populations that our Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program creates is very obvious, especially in these times of the pandemic.
Orangutans in the Light of the Coronavirus
Given the current situation, the Queen’s award is an impressive reminder of the urgent need for endangered species such as the Orangutan to be protected. With the award of this order, she also underlines the importance of nature conservation work in general and for the benefit of the rainforest and its orangutans in Sumatra in particular. Twice a year, Queen Elizabeth honors British citizens with Orders of Merit. The awards are given regularly on New Year and in June. This year, the British royal family postponed the award to October 10, 2020, due to the corona pandemic. In this way, personalities who have achieved outstanding results in connection with the coronavirus could also be honored.
I am extremely pleased that with this honor for once the orangutans in general and especially the Sumatran orangutans come into the spotlight. It takes many, many more such honors and mentions to keep the Orangutans safe and secure. Unfortunately, the most dangerous Orangutan predators are humans.
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