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The Mount School celebrates 50 years of orangutan conservation

- 19 May 2021 -

The Mount School is hosting an online talk with the world’s leading primatologist celebrating 50 years of orangutan conservation.

To celebrate 50 years of orangutan conservation, The Mount School York, the UK’s only all-girl Quaker school, is hosting a live online talk with Dr Biruté Galdikas who first studied orangutans in the wild in 1971.  

Dr Galdikas’ expedition was supported by the anthropologist Louis Leakey, who also sponsored Jane Goodall’s research of chimpanzees and Dian Fossey’s study of gorillas; when Dr Galdikas began her study, the three women were dubbed ‘the Trimates’.  

Dr Galdikas was the first to observe that orangutans were fruit eaters. She also documented the long orangutan birth interval, learning that orangutan mothers can spend more than 7 years caring for their young. The situation facing wild orangutans today is far more complicated, than when Dr Galdikas began studying them. As a result of poaching, deforestation and palm oil plantations, viable orangutan populations are on the edge of extinction and could be gone from the wild within the next twenty years.  

“Understanding is the first step in helping to protect and care for the future of orangutans and our planet,” says Dr Galdikas. “I look forward to speaking with school pupils in the UK about my work and orangutan conservation and how they can help.” The Mount has invited schools in York to join the online talk, as well as the UK’s Quaker schools and girls’ schools across the UK and abroad.  

“The Mount is extremely proud to host this talk for schools in York and across the UK. Bringing real world issues into the classroom is a powerful motivator for learning in young people. Conservation and the environment are issues that the younger generation care about. We know that by hearing first-hand experiences and to learn more about the work of this extraordinary scientist will inform, encourage, and inspire the pupils.” says Adrienne Richmond, Principal of The Mount. “As well as local and Quaker schools, we are delighted to be welcoming girls’ schools to join us in celebrating Dr Galdikas’ work. She is a fantastic role model to young girls as a woman leading in her field.” The talk will be held on Monday 21 June from 9am. 

Donna Stevens, CEO of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) said, “We are delighted that The Mount is inviting our member schools and sister organisations to join this talk. GSA schools have a great track record in enabling girls to flourish in the sciences and I have no doubt that Dr Galdikas and her extraordinary career will inspire the girls who attend to consider the amazing career possibilities a science background can bring.” Girls’ schools belonging to the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) have also been invited to join the event.  

As President of Orangutan Foundation International, Dr Biruté Galdikas has studied orangutans longer than any other person in human history; she has worked ceaselessly to protect orangutans and their forests, save orphaned orangutans and to bring orangutans and their plight to the attention of the world. 

Schools wishing to join the online talk on Monday 21 June at 9am should contact The Mount School York’s Marketing department at marketing@mountschoolyork.co.uk  01904 23 23 25.  

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