From Orangutan SSP at Grant Funding - Orangutan SSP:
The Orangutan SAFE teamed up with the Orangutan SSP Program, Seneca Park Zoo, Henry Vilas Zoo, Birmingham Zoo, HUTAN, Borneo Futures and Wildlife Impact to spearhead a potentially radical shift in orangutan conservation strategy. Translocation has been a frontline conservation tool to address human-orangutan conflict, but translocation is expensive and its success rate is not well understood. HUTAN has worked in the Kinabatangan region of Malaysian Borneo for decades, and, recently, has observed the persistence of orangutans, including females with young, in small forest patches (<1 hectare) surrounded by agriculture. Preliminary research suggests that these individuals are critical not only to long-term population viability but also to conservation of forest habitat.
Gaining a New Understanding of Orangutans in Agricultural Mosaic Landscapes to Cause a Paradigm Shift in Conservation Strategy
If these findings are broadly applicable across Borneo and Sumatra, translocation may actually be detrimental to long-term conservation efforts. In this project, we aim to understand orangutan ecology in forest fragments within palm oil landscapes and the effect of orangutan loss (through killing or translocation) through the collection and curation of new and existing data and the creation of novel population modelling. Next, utilizing the collective power of the Orangutan SSP, partner zoos, and conservation organizations, we will dissemination these findings to policy makers, industry stakeholders, and the general public to inform conservation action for orangutans with the overarching goal of causing a paradigm shift in orangutan conservation strategy to finally stop continued population decline and habitat loss.