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Shereen chats to Ashley Leiman OBE

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 12:59 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

One thing I love about doing this show is that it can be a strange mix, often veering from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Orangutan - image courtesy of Ian Wood

But when my producer Della told me we'd be doing an interview this week to mark Orangutan Awareness Week, I must admit I burst out laughing. With the student riots, the G20 summit, the row over the Scottish Government's Alcohol legislation, and the controversy over this year's poppy appeal, orangutans weren't exactly top of my agenda.

She'd arranged for me to speak to Ashley Leiman, the founder of the Orangutan Foundation. Ashley talked so passionately about this endangered species (our closest relative) and the need to preserve its rainforest habitat that I was soon captivated. And I'm not the only one. The boss of Scottish shortbread maker Patterson's was so affected by a visit to Borneo that he's pledged to stop using Palm Oil in his products. The rain forests are being cleared to cultivate the oil.

Ashley's got some pretty high profile people to support her cause, from David Attenborough to Joanna Lumley, and even in these stricken times she's confident she can raise £200,000 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Foundation. Having heard her talk I believe her.

When I came off air I got a text from a friend saying never had she heard such a smooth transition from orangutans to poppies. All human (and ape) life is here!

Listen to Shereen, Sunday 0900 on BBC Radio Scotland and available to listen again on iPlayer.


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