Oxford Brookes alumnus wins prestigious nature conservation award

Friday, 01 May 2015

The Princess Royal and Whitley Award winner Panut Hadisiwoyo

Brookes alumnus Panut Hadisiswoyo, Director of the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), an Indonesian conservation organisation set up by Oxford charity the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), was honoured on Tuesday evening (29 April) for his remarkable contribution to wildlife and rainforest protection in Sumatra.

The Whitley Awards, established in 1994, recognise dynamic and effective grassroots conservation leaders, and have awarded £11 million to projects around the world over the last 20 years. 

At last night’s Whitley Awards Ceremony, Panut’s award was presented by HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) at the Royal Geographical Society. 

I am deeply honoured. I am committed to being a champion for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, and this award will really help to shine a spotlight on the rainforests of Sumatra, one of the world’s most precious, and most threatened, biodiversity hotspots.

Panut Hadisiswoyo, Director of the Orangutan Information Centre


This award acknowledges Panut’s work to establish a network of ‘conservation villages’ in the tropical rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem of Sumatra, Indonesia. Sir David Attenborough, a Trustee of the Whitley Fund for Nature, said: “Whitley Award winners are simply exceptional people - passionate individuals who are committed to achieving positive environmental impact and long-term conservation and community benefits.” 

Panut said “I am deeply honoured. I am committed to being a champion for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, and this award will really help to shine a spotlight on the rainforests of Sumatra, one of the world’s most precious, and most threatened, biodiversity hotspots.”

This was not Panut’s first brush with Royalty. He was awarded a scholarship to attend Oxford Brookes University in 2007, where he studied on their unique Masters course in Primate Conservation. 

During his time as a student at Oxford Brookes, he had the opportunity to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace when MSc course was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which recognises excellence in UK universities.

Helen Buckland, Director of SOS said: “I have worked alongside Panut for almost a decade, supporting him and his team in delivering frontline conservation programmes that have a real impact on the fate of the Sumatran orangutans and their forests. 

“It is truly fantastic to see his remarkable commitment and passion for the cause honoured with such a prestigious award.”

SOS and OIC conservation programmes in Sumatra include rainforest restoration, with more than 1.5 million trees planted to regrow lost orangutan habitat, orangutan rescue and community-led conservation and livelihoods projects.

Panut will be speaking at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on Monday 11 May at 6.30pm at an event organised by the SOS entitled ‘Spotlight Sumatra’. For more details and tickets please visit the SOS website. 

More information about the MSc Primate Conservation course and the Department of Social Sciences can be found on the dedicated webpages.