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An interview with Gary Shapiro, President of Orang Utan Republik Foundation
 
Gary reveals his background and how he interacts with the natural world. He explains how humans fit in with the primate species, dating back forty-million years ago. Humans like to think they are the only ones who use language. Gary set out to prove that orangutans can use signs to communicate. Eventually, Gary became a father to an orangutan – he even began to act like the orangutans. He has dedicated his entire life to saving the species. Working closely with orangutans, Gary learned about human communication. Later, Gary speaks about the competencies of leadership, putting aside our egos, and tips on working with volunteers.

In this episode:

  • [01:00] Meet Gary Shapiro. Gary talks about his work with orangutans.
  • [07:45] Where humans fit with other species. Humans are primates – it goes back well over forty-million years.
  • [12:20] The genes tell the true story of our relationship with chimpanzees. Humans started to relate more to the orangutans over other primates.
  • [21:00] What Gary has learned about the human species by working with orangutans. Mainly, he learned about what he is capable of doing.
  • [32:40] How to utilize system thinking and understanding how to influence one another within a whole.
  • [35:00] Working as a leader and a manager. Gary made sure there was never a conflict of interest, and he learned how to build competencies to become an effective leader.
  • [42:10] Put your ego in the right perspective and find a balance to allow for work without sacrificing relationships.
  • [54:30] How the listeners can help support the orangutans.

Key Takeaways:

  • Keep a journal so you can remember the little things that happen throughout the day.
  • Everybody starts out as a leader of their own body. As children, we learn how to become a leader through social influence.
  • Training and personal development will be essential to become a leader.
  • We can create the happiness we have – we do not need to wait for permission from anyone else.
  • Don’t give so much that you sacrifice the relationships in your life.

Meet Gary Shapiro

Gary began his involvement with orangutans 44 years ago in the field of primate cognition and learning. He was the first person (1973-1975) to teach a symbolic communication system to an orangutan and the first person to have taught sign language to orangutans in the species’ natural environment. In this episode, Gary shares with Tom how he is seeking and implementing solutions of sustainability for local people through education and innovative collaborative projects is the key to saving Indonesia’s great red ape and other species.
LinkedIn

Resources:

Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF)
Orangutan Project

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