We’re excited to bring you ORANGUTANS this week, with Lucy Radford (@lmradford), Fundraising and Communications Officer at the Sumatran Orangutan Society. This week, we’ll hear all about orang-utans and efforts to prevent their extinction. Here’s how a biological anthropologist like Lucy ended up caring for our orange cousins:
I knew from an early age that I wanted to work with wildlife, but I wasn’t sure how. After a degree in Biological Anthropology and a Masters in Primate Conservation, my path was much clearer – I knew I wanted to work in roles that would have a positive impact on non-human primates, their habitats and the people who live alongside them, whether that’s in the form of research, fundraising, sci-comm or a bit of everything!
I chose my current field because everything I read during my Masters degree taught me that the human side of conservation is vital (and fascinating), hence working now (and for the previous 5+ years) for projects which have a strong focus on people as well as wildlife.
My work for Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) is very focused on communications – reaching people from all sorts of backgrounds to let them know about the threats facing orangutans and their habitats, and helping them make a difference if they want to. On a day-to-day basis, this encompasses everything from reading the scientific literature to keep up with developments in conservation research to crafting social media posts to writing funding applications. It’s varied and challenging, and I love it! Outside of SOS, I conduct my own social science-based research (one paper published, another in the pipeline) and do some volunteering for another conservation NGO.
The research and work I do all has the long-term aim of protecting wild primates by understanding how to mitigate the threats facing them, and finding ways to fund these mitigation efforts as well. This is important for anyone who is concerned about the possible extinction of species like the orangutan, which are charismatic and very recognisable, but also for anyone who wants a future where ecosystems like the rainforest can thrive, along with the people and animals depending on them. Also, social science is fascinating and so are non-human primates!
I’ve touched on this above, but I’m working on my second paper, which I hope will be published sometime in 2020. Not sure if this counts as an obligation, but I also do a lot of volunteer dog-walking for people in my local area!
Lucy’s hoodies include Pole-dancing, aerial hoop and flying trapeze. And on an ideal day, she’d
…get up early to catch the sunrise and/or some early-rising wildlife in the woodland near my home, then cook myself a ridiculously big brunch and read a good book before having an afternoon nap.