We are now in the fourth month since we closed both our rehabilitation centres in Borneo to visitors, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Over this time, we have remained committed to providing the best care possible for the 432 orangutans under our charge.
In addition to applying stricter health protocols and adjusting our daily standard operating procedures, we have also changed our staff’s work roster by adopting a ‘two days on, two days off’ system, with each team member assigned to a particular area for their shifts. This way, the opportunity for staff members to meet face-to-face on the job is now quite rare.
We also adopted the ‘One Health’ approach, which requires all staff members working in our rehabilitation centres to be in good health, to keep the orangutans healthy as well. This approach also means that we have limited the number of staff members who can interact directly with the orangutans.
Three months of working under these unique conditions have certainly affected how our team members operate. The positive is that they became familiar with the more restrictive work protocols and have adjusted to this ‘new normal’ as outlined by the government.
To further protect the orangutans from possible COVID-19 exposures, we most recently have conducted rapid tests on personnel at both our rehabilitation centres. These tests have been made possible thanks to the generous support of the government and local health institutions.
Our team in Borneo has prepared steps for the worst-case scenario if a test were to be positive. Thankfully, thus far, all test results indicate that none of our field staff members have been exposed to COVID-19.