The projects funded by TOP not only include direct orangutan conservation, such orangutan rescue, rehabilitation and release programs, but also forest habitat protection and regeneration, education,research and local community partnerships. Tying funding to direct outcomes for the species has enabled TOP to partner with the majority of orangutan conservation projects operation on the ground today in Borneo and Sumatra. Find out more about the leaders who run our TOP Projects
Amy has a science degree from the University of Waikato, New Zealand Certificate in Captive Wild Animal Management. While studying she volunteered at a zoo and was fortunate to walk into a dream job as a trainee primate keeper. She studied the management of zoo animals as well as extra animal behaviour papers while working as a trainee keeper and worked with a wide variety of taxa, mostly primates and carnivores. Amy was seconded into team leader of primates in 2006 - her passion has always been great apes, in particular orangutans and she's worked with them at Auckland Zoo and on occasion at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) in North Sumatra. Since 2013 Amy has led a small group eco adventures with Raw Wildlife Encounters in North Sumatra. Through this work she's developed an understanding of the human-wildlife conflict in forest edge communities and saw how they needed support to raise their standard of living, reduce their environmental impact and reduce their reliance on illegal/harmful activities like poaching. In addition to her full-time work at Auckland Zoo and as a TOP NZ board member, Amy founded the Sumatran Ranger Project to help address these issues while providing protection for wildlife outside the government protected Gunung Leuser National Park, where significant human-wildlife conflict occurs. Amy wanted to help provide long term, meaningful employment to passionate people who lacked the opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to use in a paid capacity.
The Orangutan Project was established in 1998 by founder and world-renowned orangutan expert, Leif Cocks, as a result of his almost 30 year career working with orangutans. Leif is a passionate campaigner for orangutans and has been the leader of The Orangutan Project since its inception.
Leif’s years in the field have earned him respect within the conservation field. He has been a key player in developing conservation plans for orangutans and influencing positive change for orangutan protection and survival. This includes the first ever successful reintroduction of the zoo-born orangutan. This respect has given The Orangutan Project world standing in conservation.
A small population biologist and curator by trade; Leif has several academic qualifications, including a Masters of Science studying orangutans. He is a seasoned public speaker and has published several papers on orangutans in peer-reviewed journals. Leif is also the author of the books Orangutans and their Battle for Survival (2002) and, Amazon best seller, Orangutans My Cousins, My Friends(2016) and Finding our Humanity (2019).
Amongst many roles, Leif is currently: a Technical Advisor for PT Alam Bukit Tigapuluh (a company leasing and protecting rainforest), Head of International Elephant Project, head of International Tiger Project, Vice President of Orang Utan Republik Foundation and on the Advisory Board for Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh.
In respect to his professional, animal, human and financial management skills, Leif has been the longest standing member of the Australasian Species Management Program; a Quarantine-Approved Assessor; Zoo Husbandry Adviser; Zoo Accreditation Officer; UN GRASP in-country point of contact, an International Species Coordinator, International Studbook Keeper and the Chair of a World Aquarium and Zoo Association global conservation program.