Orangutan Outreach

About Orangutan Outreach

Richard Zimmerman is the Founding Director of Orangutan Outreach, a New York-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save the critically endangered orangutans and protect their rainforest home. Richard grew up in Southern California, where his love for orangutans was fostered by frequent visits to the Los Angeles and San Diego Zoos. His passion was reignited years later when he was living in Barcelona and made regular visits to the Barcelona Zoo to see Snowflake, the legendary albino gorilla. It was in the enclosure around the corner from the gorilla that Richard first set eyes on a giant Cheekpadder male orangutan named Moe. Richard spent many afternoons sitting near Moe, who was always alone, sitting silently on a barren slab of concrete with little enrichment and no companions.

Years later, while living in New York City and working at UNICEF, Richard realized that orangutans were critically endangered in the wild — and that the threat of extinction was very real. He began volunteering for several UK-based orangutan conservation organizations, offering his skills as a web developer to help them update and manage their websites. In 2006 Richard took his first trip to Indonesia to see wild orangutans with his own eyes. Hoping to see a lush tropical rain forest, what he found instead was the near total destruction of the forests of Borneo and Sumatra and hundreds of orphaned orangutans being cared for in rescue centers. Richard realized immediately that he had to do more to help the orangutans. A year later he traveled back to Indonesia to meet more stakeholders on the ground, and when he returned to New York he decided to follow his heart and start his own non-profit, Orangutan Outreach. Created in 2007, the organization grew quickly thanks to a close affiliation with the Animal Planet series Orangutan Island. With little more than his Mac, his iPhone and his will to save orangutans by working with like-minded groups and individuals around the world, Richard has been able to raise over three million dollars for orangutan conservation. Over the years, Richard has expanded Orangutan Outreach to work with an increasing number of partners, including the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), International Animal Rescue (IAR), the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP), the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), the Orangutan Information Center (OIC) and the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF). Orangutan Outreach has achieved his goal of making a significant difference in the lives of orangutans, but there is still so much more work to be done….

Orangutan Outreach Mission

Orangutan Outreach’s mission is to protect orangutans in their native habitat while providing care for orphaned and displaced orangutans until they can be returned to their natural environment. They seek to raise funds and promote public awareness of orangutan conservation issues by collaborating with partner organizations around the world.

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