University of Cambridge > > Biological Anthropology Seminar Series > Past, present, and future of orangutan conservation

Past, present, and future of orangutan conservation

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Orangutans are the only great ape taxon occurring in Asia. Although they occurred on mainland Asia in the past they are now confined to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. In this presentation I will discuss the past reduction and current status of the orangutan as well as provide some thoughts on the future of the orangutan.

Due to the description of a new orangutan species on Sumatra (the Tapanuli orangutan) in 2017 there now are two orangutan species on Sumatra and one on Borneo. Recent estimates for all three species indicate steep declines in numbers. These declines are due to habitat loss, fragmentation, degradation and hunting for food and killing during human-orangutan conflict. Conserving orangutans in the Anthropocene will require rethinking our conservation. Such strategies need to be informed by studies on orangutan behavioural ecology and variation between populations and species as well as an acknowledgement that hunting and killing of orangutans during human-orangutan conflicts needs to be addressed. Future conservation of orangutans will need commitment from local communities, governments, companies, consumers, and scientists.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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