Alain Schroeder: Saving Orangutans

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PROJECT STATEMENT

This series documents the incongruous behavior between man and the environment in Sumatra, Indonesia. On the one hand, humans destroy virgin forests, wounding and killing animals, while on the other hand they do everything possible to save them. One day, an orangutan is found peppered and blinded by 74 air bullet wounds, and the very next day a surgeon travels halfway across the planet to save it. Indonesia’s Sumatran orangutan is under severe threat from the incessant and ongoing depletion and fragmentation of the rainforest. As palm oil and rubber plantations, logging, road construction, mining, hunting, and other developments continue to proliferate, orangutans are being forced out of their natural rainforest habitat. Organizations like the OIC (Orangutan Information Center) and their immediate response team HOCRU (Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit) rescue orangutans in difficulty (lost, injured, captive...) while the SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) cares for, rehabilitates, and resocializes orangutans at their purpose-built medical facility, aiming to reintroduce them into the wild and to create new self-sustaining, genetically viable populations in protected forests. That we share 97% of our genetic heritage with orangutans seems obvious when you observe their human-like behavior. Today, with just over 14,000 specimens left, the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) along with the 800 specimens of the recently discovered Tapanuli species (Pongo tapanuliensis) are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

ARTIST BIO

Alain Schroeder is a Belgian photojournalist born in 1955. In 1989 he founded Reporters, a well-known photo agency in Belgium. He has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Iran, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe, Natural Sites of Europe, etc. Belgian book titles include, Le Carnaval de Binche vu par 30 Photographes, and Processions de Foi, Les Marches de l’Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. Publications include National Geographic, GEO, and Paris Match. Alain has won many international awards including a Nikon Japan award for his Who Will Save the Rohingya series, the TPOTY (Travel Photographer of the Year) award with two series, Living for Death and Kushti, a World Press Photo First Prize for the series Kid Jockeys, and he has participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He is represented in Paris by the photo agency Hemis.  

www.alainschroeder.myportfolio.com @alainschroeder