Australians urged to help Borneo’s orangutans

THE PLIGHT of Indonesian orangutans and what Australians can do to help their closest primate relatives will be in the spotlight at the next USQ Green + Thumbs session at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast.

Coinciding with Threatened Species Day 2015, USQ business student Sophia Fuller of Hervey Bay will talk about her experiences in the Indonesian forests and the work being done there to ensure the orangutans’ survival.


Sophia Fuller will talk about saving Borneo’s orangutans at USQ Fraser Coast.

Threatened Species Day is a national day held on September 7 each year to commemorate the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger (also known as the thylacine) at Hobart Zoo in 1936.

The event is a time to reflect on what happened in the past and how people can protect threatened species in the future.

Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Australia statistics show orangutans are an endangered species with an estimated 50,000 left in the wild.

“This large, gentle red ape is one of our closest relatives, sharing 98% of our DNA. The greatest threat to their survival is the destruction of the rainforest.

“Some experts say about 6000 orangutans are disappearing every year and without our collective help orangutans could be extinct in the wild within our lifetime.”

Ms Fuller’s interest in Borneo orangutans began in 2009 when she was still at high school in Brisbane.

“Working through the DeforestACTION centre we focused on the palm oil aspect, spreading the word,” she said.

“Natural forests were being cleared for logging and palm oil plantations. Orangutans can’t live in those plantations – there’s no fruit suitable for them to eat. When the forests are burnt the orangutans either die, get poached, or taken as pets and traded.”

BOS statistics show palm oil accounts for 35% of world edible vegetable oil production.

“About 80% is used as a vegetable oil or put in other ingredients. It can be found in many processed foods from ice cream and chocolate to cereals and fruit juice.

“Palm oil is also found in cosmetics and household products including toothpaste, shampoos, makeup and detergents.”

In 2014 and 2015, Ms Fuller and her fellow students visited the Orangutan Centre in Borneo.

“We saw the clinic where baby orangutans are rescued, rehabilitated and trained to live in the wild,” she said.

“The babies come out once a day to play in the trees. When they reach the next step in their growth, they’re moved to another place and eventually taken about 60km out of the city and released into a protected forest.

“Another protected forest I went to is specifically for research. They’ve got the most current data you can find in Indonesia and they’re doing some amazing things with conservation and reforestation.”

The USQ Green + Thumbs session will also include a talk on Australian Threatened Species.

For more information on orangutans including how to help the species survive, visit or

What:              Threatened Species session hosted by USQ Green + Thumbs
When:             5.30pm to 9pm, Monday September 7
Where:            USQ Fraser Coast, Room A139.
Cost:               Free



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Expanding horizons on Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND provided an ideal backdrop for talks on expanding horizons when more than 80 delegates from 36 institutions including 28 Australian and New Zealand universities met for a three-day forum.

The world-heritage-listed island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rain forest grows on sand!

Hosted by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the 10th annual Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Group (AAIR-SIG) Forum 2015 was themed ‘Expand your horizons’.

Held at Kingfisher Bay Resort from August 19 to 21, 2015, the forum brought together practitioners involved with business intelligence and data warehousing, load and revenue planning, government reporting, surveys and evaluation, quality and risk management.

fraser island

USQ Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey (left), Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell, USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and SBMI Strategic Information Systems Manager Togamau Te’o. [Contributed photo.]

Opening addresses by USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey highlighted the contributions the University was making to the local region.

Mr Ivey said keynote speaker Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell focused on regional development, local communities and business opportunities linking those areas with the need of decision makers for better data and accurate analytics in support of decisions.

“By all accounts the event was highly successful with delegates having enjoyable few days at beautiful world-heritage-listed Fraser Island. They found the sessions rewarding and the overall experience enriching to them individually and their institutions,” Mr Ivey said.

“The forum program comprised of over 30 presentations, workshops and various interest group meetings as well informal networking activities.

“Discussions also covered data and information, issues, challenges and solutions in support of decision making in higher education institutions.”


Feature photo: The Maheno washed ashore on Fraser Island during a cyclone in 1935 where the wreck remains as a popular tourist attraction.


Kasukabe uni cements bond with Fraser Coast

USQ’s status as a local university with global connections was reinforced when the university officially recognised its relationship with Kasukabe’s Kyoei University in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said the document’s signing symbolised the dynamic connection between the two organisations.

“Our association with Kyoei University continues to grow and is indicative of the hard work being done between both institutions,” Professor Thomas said.

Kyoei handshake

Kyoei University President Akira Kato (left) and USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer celebrate the signing of an MOU, supported by Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell and university staff.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said that yesterday (Wednesday June 5, 2015) was an exciting day for the USQ and the Fraser Coast region.

“In April last year, USQ’s Michelle Hay and Kate Kuzma, through the Kasukabe International Friendship Association, visited the Japanese city 30km north of Tokyo to connect with Kyoei University, Mr Langabeer said.

“That connection led to the visit of Kyoei University President Akira Kato to USQ Fraser Coast to look at developing business between the two universities.

“Yesterday, President Kato and USQ, under an MOU between the two institutions have agreed USQ Fraser Coast will host 30 Japanese students in 2017.

“That intake will lay the foundation for the annual participation of their students in an intensive English program in Semester 1 followed by four business courses in Semester 2.

“This builds on the relationship that started last weekend with the arrival of 20 students in Hervey Bay on a study tour.”

Mr Langabeer said the MOU ensured Japanese students would travel to Australia studying English and business into the future, bringing great opportunities for USQ and the Fraser Coast region.

“It adds culture and diversity and has far-reaching benefits for both universities,” he said.

“USQ is thankful to the Kasukabe International Friendship Association that helped ignite this relationship, which on all indications will prosper in the future.

“We’re very excited about Kyoei’s global education strategy, which has been very innovative in how they connect with other countries and universities to give their students opportunities to diversify, develop their English skills and look for job opportunities.”

President Kato said he was “much pleased” with Kyoei University’s relationship with USQ.

“Education in English and business will make our students more familiar with English conversation and open their eyes to the world,” he said.

“I aim to make my university be more globalised with greater assistance with USQ.

“Globalisation will progress to better understanding and support for my people and government.”


Feature photo: The Japanese Garden in Toowoomba, Qld, is the largest traditionally designed Japanese Garden in Australia.