Friday, August 20, 2010

TED: Willie Smits restores a rainforest

Willie Smits (originally from the Netherlands) is a trained forester and microbiologist. He has lived in Borneo since 1985 and is an Indonesian citizen. In 1989, he encountered a baby orangutan in a cage in a market, and later returned to find it abandoned on a rubbish heap. This was a turning-point in his career; taking the orangutan home, he nurtured it back to health. Smits was soon given other orangutans to look after, and the work of rehabilitating orangutans into the wild developed into the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. His work has also broadened out into the related areas of generating sustainable farming and reforestation.