OVAG: How It Started

So, what is OVAG?

OVAG started in 2009, when a US-based NGO named Orangutan Conservancy (OC) held a workshop dedicated to veterinarians who are working in orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centers in Indonesia. This workshop is motored by an orangutan behaviourist and anthropologist, Dr. Raffaella Commitante, who teamed with a UK wildlife/zoo veterinarian, Dr. Steve Unwin. 

The first workshop (not yet named at the time) was held at the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation . Samboja Lestari in East Kalimantan. Thirty participants attended the workshop, and at the end of the workshop, Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group (OVAG) was established. 

The next year, we had delegates from Malaysia, and so our network has covered all range countries of orangutans. 

OVAG workshop was held annually; the last one in 2018 was our 10th meeting, a milestone that deserves a celebration. 

Besides annual workshops, OVAG also supported vets and orangutan centers through on site field visits and training, continuing educations for vets both in country and abroad, as well as providing policy and advocacy for orangutan conservation.

OVAG's mission remained in capacity building for vets working in wildlife especially orangutans, and our network comprises of an extensive array of veterinarians, conservation managers, researchers, academia, and all the in-between.


For more formal and packed information about OVAG, go to the press pack

For reports and executive summaries of each workshop, go to reports and publication

If you are a veterinarian or a professional with interest in orangutan health, conservation medicine, and One Health, you are welcome to apply to an OVAG member, contact us here. You can also register to this website to get access to all workshop materials.