Illegal logging practices in Borneo are wiping out the natural habitat of the Bornean organgutan, one of only two remaining species of orangutan in the wild today. But because there is a lack of sufficient career alternatives and affordable health care in the resource-poor country, many people who are contributing to this destruction have no other choice.
Seneca Park Zoo supports Health In Harmony, a nonprofit organization with the mantra “Saving Forest with a Stethoscope.” Health in Harmony manages a human health clinic (ASRI Klinik) in Sukadana, Indonesian Borneo, adjacent to the 223,000-acre Gunung Palung National Park (home to 2,500, or 10%, of the world’s last remaining wild Bornean orangutans.) The ASRI Klinik offers affordable, high-quality health care using non-cash payments (such as composted manure or reforestation pledges) delivered to 30 villages demonstrating forest-friendly practices such as absence of illegal logging.
Seneca Park Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers Chapter (AAZK) has sent our Zoo’s veterinarians, a University of Rochester M.D. resident and the University of Rochester International Medicine fellow to enhance existing programs, all designed to ultimately save orangutans and their forests. During the summer of 2013, University of Rochester’s Nick Aloisio M.D. mentored Indonesian physicians on best practices in Western medicine while at the same time learning traditional approaches to treating tropical disease. Dr. Valerie Lou, the Univeristy of Rochester International Medicine fellow, journeyed to Borneo to mentor villager health care in ASRI Klinik in conjunction with impactful orangutan forest conservation programs. In the five years of ASRI’s operation, key health indicators have improved, in some cases, dramatically, with greater access to affordable, high-quality health care as well as patient education, ultimately saving orangutan forests.
The Zoo Society also donates thousands of dollars a year, raised mostly in small amounts by individual Zoo supporters, to Health in Harmony to advance its mission and sustain its facilities.
When you purchase a ticket to attend ZooBoo, a portion of proceeds goes directly to Health In Harmony.