University Careers staff celebrate zoo adoption.

Staff from the Careers and Employability team at the University of Chester are celebrating the addition of a very special new team member.

The team, who are based in the Student Futures directorate within the University, wanted to do their bit to support Chester Zoo’s Save Our Zoo campaign – so they have collectively adopted an orangutan.

Sally Harding, Employer Engagement Manager at the University, said: “We are so proud to be adopting a Bornean orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus) as our contribution to the Zoo’s campaign – and to help fund conservation work in the UK and all around the world.

“Chester Zoo is a world leading animal charity, an advocate for global diversity and conservation, an educator and a major employer in the Chester area, including of our talented students and graduates. As a team we therefore felt passionately about giving back and we are delighted to show our support to the Zoo.”

She added: “With the Zoo currently being one of the UK’s largest, and home to in excess of 35,000 individual animals and over 500 different species, it was definitely difficult for the team to come to a mutual decision regarding which animal to adopt. Following a team vote, the Bornean orangutan came out on top and we are delighted to welcome our new addition!”

Chester Zoo is home to critically endangered Bornean and Sumatran orangutans. Originally the islands were connected to each other until around 40,000 years ago, allowing each species to evolve independently. There isn’t a huge amount of difference between them both, however Bornean orangutans spend more of their time on the ground than their Sumatran relatives as it’s thought that this is due to the threat of tigers in Sumatra which keeps the apes up in the safety of the trees.

The Bornean orangutan is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of unsustainable oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of the rainforest. The most recent estimate indicates that there could be as few as 55,000 Bornean orangutans left on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. There is also an intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products in the UK from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics. The University has already pledged its support to the Zoo’s Sustainable Palm Oil campaign, and is a Sustainable Palm Oil City Champion.

Adam Crane, Employer Engagement Co-ordinator at the University, said: “Colleagues in Careers and Employability are very much looking forward to receiving a photograph of our new team member and to visiting the Zoo in the very near future. We are excited to see our name displayed on our ‘Thank You’ plaque, as well as meeting our new team member in person of course!”

Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer at Chester Zoo, added: “We have said it many times but it never stops being true – we are completely humbled by the extent of the support and love shown to us in our time of great need. We’ve seen overwhelming kindness when times are hard for everyone, not just us, and we’re incredibly grateful to those adopting animals, taking out memberships and fundraising on our behalf. Each and every fundraiser is an inspiration and is making a real difference.

“The financial damage suffered during the Zoo’s closure has left a deep scar and, despite now being open again, the road to a full recovery remains uncertain. However, with the love, passion and energy of all of those supporting us, we will keep doing everything we can to save our Zoo, and continue our mission to prevent extinction.”

To find out more about the service and support available to students and graduates through Careers and Employability - Student Futures, please log onto CareerHub or email careers.chester.ac.uk or for employers and recruiters please email employers@chester.ac.uk

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