Animal Care students get a taste of the wild side

15 December 2010
Yesterday, Oaklands College animal care students swapped the cold, grey winter weather for tales of Borneo as they heard from the Head of Conservation at The Great Projects, and driving force behind the Great Orangutan Project in Borneo, Leo Biddle.

On his first trip back to the UK for three years, Leo delighted and shocked students with facts about endangered orangutans and other species such as tigers, gorillas, elephants, chimps and sunbears, which the company helps support through conservation projects. According to the project, without intervention, orangutans could be extinct within the next 20 to 30 years.

Leo Biddle said of the experience: “It’s so important for me to visit colleges in order to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and the key trade problems which affect the existence of many species today.

“When I was younger and studying zoology I remember Jane Goodall visiting my college to talk about her experience in Tanzania and it sparked a fire in me. It suddenly brought the course alive and this is what I wanted to do for Oaklands College animal care students. I hope I have brought their studies to life today and in turn, sparked their interest in the conservation of endangered species.”

Tony Hawkins, Animal Care Manager at Oaklands College, commented: “We knew that today would be inspirational for our students and without exception they were fascinated by Leo’s experiences. He opened up their eyes to the real issues and the delicate balance between third world development and survival of animals in the wild.”

The Great Orangutan Project is always looking for volunteers to experience working life behind the scenes at wildlife centres and help support Borneo’s efforts in protecting the endangered orangutan.  To find out more visit