Silversea has announced that renowned primatologist Dr Biruté Mary Galdikas will join two Silver Discoverer voyages in 2019 as a guest lecturer. Internationally recognised for her studies and work with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat, she is considered the world’s foremost authority on the orangutan.
“It was a great honour to have Dr Galdikas join our guests in 2016 and 2017 to talk about her work in Borneo and personally guide them on their visit to her world-famous Camp Leakey and Orangutan Care Centre,” said Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s senior vice president of strategic development for expeditions and experiences. “We’re excited that she will be returning next year to provide additional opportunities for conservation-minded travellers to explore Indonesia and help contribute to the efforts to protect the region’s endangered wildlife.”
A duo of expedition cruises with departures on 24 June 2019 (Darwin to Bali) and 9 July 2019 (Bali to Singapore) will explore the exotic islands of Indonesia, with an overnight stay in the port of Kumai, gateway to Tanjung Puting National Park and its legendary Camp Leakey. Operated by Dr Galdikas’ non-profit Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), Camp Leakey is the site of the anthropologist’s pioneering research in the wild. Silversea is the only cruise company partnering with Camp Leakey to offer its guests such exceptional wildlife-focused experiences.
For each guest on these special voyages of Silver Discoverer, Silversea Expeditions will donate $100 to the non-profit Orangutan Foundation International.
“Working to ensure the survival of these great apes, as well as their precious forest habitat, is my lifelong mission,” said Galdikas. “I welcome a partner like Silversea whose guests seek to discover our planet’s authentic beauty in places like Camp Leakey, where they can make a difference to help protect its future.”
During an enriching onboard presentation, Dr Galdikas will share insights from her many years devoted to the study, care and preservation of endangered orangutans. Additionally, she will lead a private tour to Camp Leakey, where guests can experience close-up encounters with these amazing animals. Immersed in magnificent tropical scenery, guests may also spot proboscis monkeys, gibbons and macaques, as well as birds from more than 200 species.
In the company of Dr Galdikas, Silversea guests will also be granted rare access to the OFI’s Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility located in the village of Pasir Panjang. The rehabilitation centre is home to numerous orphaned, sick or injured orangutans, and is normally closed to the public.
Throughout her life, Dr Galdikas has fought tirelessly for orangutan conservation. After meeting with Kenyan anthropologist Dr Louis Leakey in 1969, she expressed her desire to study the orangutan in the wild. It took three years for Dr Leakey to secure the funding and support for Dr Galdikas to begin her research. To honour her mentor, she named her first camp after him. Among her many awards, Dr Galdikas was the first non-Indonesian born person to receive the prestigious Kalpataru award, the highest honour given by Indonesia for outstanding environmental leadership.