Born in Paris, primatologist and conservationist Dr. Francine Neago originally trained as a general practitioner of medicine, but later changed to her true passion of primatology. Her new book with co-author Esther Kerr, A Young Orangutan in a Loving Home, has just been released.
She moved to Indonesia with her husband in the 1960s, and after the abortive coup of 1965, she pioneered a number of major relief projects for the Indonesian people, such as converting a Muslim school into a hospital, and later into an out-patients’ clinic for pre-natal/post-natal mothers and child care.
In 1977, Dr. Neago was involved in the design and building of the Singapore Zoo – writing the initial brochures and living with orangutans to study their behavior and communication.
The University of Los Angeles (UCLA) invited Dr. Neago to the USA in 1978 to organize and direct an orangutan language study, as well as lecture in primatology. During this time, she developed a computer language system (in conjunction with IBM) that is still used with orangutans.
In 1980, she organized the rehabilitation of chimpanzees from laboratory cages to the Lion Country Safari in Florida. She also lectured worldwide, made two small films about orangutans, and published several scientific papers.
From 1990 until 1995, Dr. Neago lived in the jungle of Costa Rica rehabilitating local wildlife. She returned to South East Asia where she still resides, dedicating her life to the preservation of all animals, especially orangutans.
Both Encylopedia Brittanica and WikiPedia have entries about her work.