If you’re going to be in the Charleston area on June 19, I hope you’ll join us for the Hang Out for Orangutans World Tour!

Hang Out For Orangutans poster

We are pleased to host a trio of orangutan experts who will draw on their decades of expertise to give an illustrated lecture on the conservation crisis facing the great red ape.

The event will be held on Wednesday, June 19, at 7:00 PM. It will take place at Gage Hall, 4 Archdale Street, Charleston, SC. This lecture is free and open to the public. You can RSVP to the event on Facebook.

Leif Cocks with orangutan

Leif Cocks with a baby orangutan.

Our guest speakers will be:

  • Leif Cocks, who was head orangutan keeper and then curator at Perth Zoo for 25 years and is now president of The Orangutan Project, which supports orangutan conservation, rainforest protection, local community partnerships, and the rehabilitation and reintroduction of displaced orangutans back to the wild.
  • Dr. Gary Shapiro, who was the first person to teach sign language to free-ranging orangutans in the late 1970s and is now the president of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation, an organization that aims to save wild orangutans via public education.
  • Garry Sundin, of Orangutan Odysseys, who will show how eco-tourism can promote orangutan conservation and describe his upcoming Trans Borneo Challenge fundraising trek.

These three traveling orangutan experts will share with the public some of the expertise they have gained from their collective decades of learning about, caring for, and advocating for the great red ape.

Gary Shapiro with Princess and her child

Gary Shapiro with the orangutan Princess and her child

This event is also part of IPPL’s 40th anniversary year celebration. When I spoke last month with Gary Shapiro, he remarked that this year marks his own 40th anniversary—of working with orangutans! He began by teaching Aazk, a juvenile female orangutan at what was then the Fresno City Zoo, to communicate via a representational language.

I hope you can join us for what will surely be a fascinating evening!