We would like to introduce Dr. Citra, she is the SOCP Head of Ex-Situ Conservation. She tells us about her career and how her everyday life works.
Hello Dr. Citra, nice to meet you and thank you for your time. Please, tell us about yourself and your career path?
I was born and grew up in Sulawesi Island, moved to Java Island to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine at University. After graduation in 1998 I moved to Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) Island to start working in orangutan conservation as veterinarian. Then, in 2017 moved to Sumatra Island still working in orangutan conservation by joining SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) as a Supervisor of Rehabilitation & Reintroduction Programme. Currently, my responsibility in SOCP as SOCP Head of Ex-Situ Conservation.*
Notes: Indonesia consists of thousands of islands and there are 5 biggest islands namely Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Sulawesi, and Papua.
What does your typical day look like?
When I was still a veterinarian, I spent most of the day with the orangutans, their keepers or in the forest. Now, I’m more involved in management and deal with various aspects and not merely medical aspects. Although I’m not in the field every day, the current position still requires me to go to the field in order to assist the team, supervise the programme as well as get feedback from the field. Those field visits contribute a lot to understanding the situation better and helping me and the team to design programmes as well as formulate the best solutions.
You have been in the conservation field for quite some time. What would you say has changed the most since you started your career?
When I started more than 20 years ago (1998), being a veterinarian was an uncommon career here in Indonesia. Moreover, becoming a wildlife/conservation veterinarian was even more weird. Not many people were involved in the conservation field, turnover was very high. Nowadays, awareness among young people increases resulting in more young people involved in the conservation field. Although the forest and the orangutan decline continue, hopefully in the future these young people can make a significant impact in slowing down habitat destruction and biodiversity decline with the decision they take as they will be the decision makers in the future.
If there were one thing that gives you hope, what would that be?
More and more young people care about our environment and they are standing up for their voices, in so many creative ways. They are really the hope for the future. And that’s what makes me always enthusiastic to collaborate with young people.
That was a nice finish, thank you Dr. Citra. Let’s stand up for a better future.
*The Ex-Situ Conservation is the process of protecting an endangered species, variety or breed, of plant or animal outside its natural habitat; for example, by removing part of the population from a threatened habitat and placing it in a new location, an artificial environment which is similar to the natural habitat of the respective animal and within the care of humans; examples are zoological gardens and safari parks.