Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group - Chester Zoo

Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group

Initiated by Orangutan Conservancy and supported by Chester Zoo, the Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG) aims to bring together those working with orangutans in order to share expertise, knowledge and the exchanging of ideas to move forwards with effective orangutan conservation.

Communication between conservationists and scientists is crucial to moving forwards with orangutan conservation. The many projects working to protect this endangered animal are doing an amazing job and to strengthen their work, contact between field projects, sanctuaries, zoos, academia and government in a range of countries, is crucial in moving forwards.

This consolidation of experts from a wide variety of Indonesian and Malaysian organisations improves their individual impact and empowers them to lead on conservation concerns with a united voice, enabling appropriate in-country solutions. As a One Health programme, OVAG utilises the orangutan example to provide participants skills in ecosystem health.

Steve Unwin and Siska Sulistyo at an OVAG workshop
Steve Unwin, Chester Zoo vet, with Siska Sulistyo at a previous OVAG workshop

Participants have now, or will have in the future, direct input into conservation management at NGO-level individually and government-level collectively. OVAG is the only consistent wildlife medicine and One Health programme for post graduates endorsed by the Indonesian Veterinary Medical Association, thus providing official professional development as required by Indonesian law. 

The network is based at the Universitas Gadjah Mada veterinary faculty and annual orangutan health workshops are hosted by field partner organisations. Other programme aspects are managed collectively through an elected committee.

In addition to the above organisations there is a core group that participate in OVAG:

  • Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project, Frankfurt Zoological Society
  • Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation
  • International Animal Rescue
  • Orangutan Information Centre
  • Orangutan Foundation UK
  • Centre for Orangutan Protection
  • Orangutan Foundation International
  • Vesswic
  • Hutan
  • Sabah Wildlife Department
  • Universiti Putra Malaysia

Intermittent workshop participants include: Indonesian Veterinary Medicine Associatio; Faculty of Veterinary Medicine IPB; Veterinary Faculty, Syah Kuala University; Bukit Merah Orangutan Sanctuary; Zoo Negara; Jogjakarta Wildlife Centre; Tasikoki Wildlife rescue Centre (Sulawesi); Aspinall Foundation Indonesia Programme; Semarang Zoo.

International partners include: Abaxis Europe; Vier Pfoten; The Orangutan SSP (Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo and Dallas Fortworth Zoo); Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; International Primatological Society; Murdoch University Vet School, Australia.

Project partners


Project team

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