We created this project in 1998 following a visit to the State of Sabah in 1995. Then, we realized that orangutans were living in degraded habitats throughout the State, which was widely unknown at this time. So we decided to create a research project in order to investigate whether and how orangutans could adapt to habitat degradation.
We realised very quickly that although good conservation practices must be based on solid science, scientific research is not enough to achieve good conservation results. In order to contribute to protecting and saving the orangutans living in Kinabatangan and in Sabah, we thus switch our scientific approach to a more holistic one by incorporating the needs and aspirations of the local communities we are working with. Today, our team is made up with about 50 local research assistants, all hailing from the villages. They are active in orangutan and elephant research and conflict mitigation, law enforcement (Wildlife Wardens), education and awareness (HEAP), community development
The possibility to meet with all kinds of people from all over the world, with different aspirations and views about conservation. I really enjoy spending time with the KOCP teams of RAs who are all originating from the villages. I also love to be in the forest enjoying the close proximity of orangutans, elephants and all kinds of wildlife that is roaming free in the forest.
I also greatly enjoy the fact that not a single day of my life is similar to the next. This work is full of surprises! However it is also highly frustrating to see that despite all our efforts, destruction of the rainforest and animals is still going on!