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Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID)

24 February 2017

Here at Grahame Gardner Ltd, we are always looking at ways we can give back, not only to our local community but also to the work our customers and partners are doing around the world.

In our latest guest blog, Nigel Hicks, veterinary surgeon and co-founder of Orangutan Veterinary Aid, gives us an insight into his inspirational project and how Grahame Gardner has contributed to its efforts.

Nigel said: “Orangutan Veterinary Aid (OVAID) is a small UK based charity dedicated to improving orangutan welfare by providing essential veterinary medicines, equipment and practical expertise to orangutan rescue groups in Indonesia and Malaysia.

“The orangutan is a critically endangered species found only in Sumatra and Indonesian and Malaysian Borneo. It is estimated that there are now less than 50,000 in existence with deforestation for the growth of palm oil and the resultant loss of their forest habitat is the primary driving cause of the decrease in orangutan numbers. The orangutan is an umbrella species in that it not only benefits its forest environment but at least 10 other species depend on its very existence and the extensive destruction of rainforest in Indonesia affects indigenous people along with numerous species of animals, insects and plants - not just the orangutan.

“OVAID sprang from the disturbing realisation that vets in Malaysia and Indonesia working with the charismatic and critically endangered orangutan were often doing so with minimal, outdated medicines and equipment in poor conditions. As professionals we can think outside the box and perform many procedures with basic facilities but there is always a limit to what we might achieve if a suitable antibiotic or a simple drip set is unavailable. Drawing on our experience of working with rescue groups and in orangutan rescue centres over five years, my wife Sara and I established OVAID in 2014 with the specific aim of supplying medicines, equipment and practical veterinary expertise to orangutan groups urgently needing help.

“Since then, OVAID has already supplied more than eight orangutan non-government organisations with essential veterinary medicines and equipment. In addition, during the last two years the charity has volunteered veterinary surgeon and nurse positions for a period of 15 months and the veterinary clinic of a newly established orangutan rescue centre in East Kalimantan has been supplied with equipment. Complete new anaesthetic machines and monitors were donated to three major centres during 2015 and in 2016 OVAID has supplied five centres with microbial respirometers.

“In the harsh tropical conditions everything deteriorates rapidly and there is a need for constant replacement, not least with clothing - orangutan are strong and sometimes have little respect for our everyday wear! Grahame Gardner has been generous sponsors of OVAID over the last two years and their scrub tops can now be seen in daily use in the jungles of Kalimantan and Sumatra.

“We rely heavily on both private donations and corporate support to enable us to continue our work and often it is not the expensive pieces of equipment which make the biggest difference. Our association with Grahame Gardner has made a huge difference to equipping the orangutan vet teams with suitable professional wear. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support that the company gives us, thank you.”

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