Dr. Gary Shapiro Welcomes You

November 16, 2005– Jakarta, Indonesia.  While a group of reporters from the television and print media listened among a throng of orangutan and primate support groups, Minister of Forestry, MS Kaban read a declaration officially recognizing “Pekan Peduli Orang Utan” or Orangutan Caring Week, 13-19 November 2005. The declaration, presented at a press conference announcing the special week, was the culmination of an effort among supporters of the Orang Utan Republik Education Initiative (OUREI) to have International Orangutan Awareness Week given government recognition during the month of November. Thousands of signatures were collected throughout year and those signatures were presented to OUREI Ambassador Angelina Sondakh last July and this November.  Efforts by her office to gain ministerial support were ultimately successful.  Pekan Peduli Orang Utan (PPOU) was chosen as the Indonesian equivalent for Orangutan Awareness Week which occurred the week before (Nov 6-12).


index image10771During the press conference that was held in the Operations Room of the Indonesian Parliament Building, OUREI Chairman, Dr. Gary Shapiro, publicly presented a certificate of appointment to Angelina Sondakh as OUREI Ambassador and a certificate of appreciation to Minister Kaban for making the official declaration. Brief presentations about orangutans and PPOU were made by Ambassador Sondakh while Dr. Ian Singleton (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) and Togu Simorangkir (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia) gave illustrated briefings on the status of orangutans in Sumatra and an education initiative in Kalimantan, respectively. Writer and conservationist Fachruddin “Rudi” Mangunjaya also used the opportunity to launch his new children’s book, “Orangutan Pesta Buah Durian” or “Orangutan Durian Party”

The declaration of PPOU led to increased interest about the plight of orangutans by the media. Numerous newspaper articles about orangutans appeared during the week, and Ambassador Sondakh and Chairman Shapiro appeared on several radio and television programs to discuss PPOU and orangutan issues.  OUREI facilitated a 3-day fair in the lobby of the Parliament Building featuring a dozen primate and conservation organizations (NGOs) that were invited to participate. Indeed, the mission of OUREI is to enroll the combined efforts of government, NGOs, media, and the people of Indonesia to save the orangutan. In that regard,  PPOU was a successful inaugural event for OUREI in Indonesia and one that will be expanded in the coming years.