Research Reveals New Opportunities For Orangutan Conservation

Scientists have prescribed further research and diversified conservation efforts
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Professor Mike Bruford said the research offers 'new hope' for orangutans

Professor Mike Bruford said the research offers 'new hope' for orangutans

A recent
study
from Cardiff University has exposed new conservation opportunities for
the endangered orangutan, drawn from research of thousands of years of human
impact.

Conservation

Cardiff
University Professor Mike Bruford said: "This research
offers new hope for how we can save the orangutan from extinction."

However, he explained that continued study and a 'multifaceted
approach to conservation efforts' are in order.

Human impact

Key to the research was observation of up to
70,000 years of human impact on orangutans, as well as genetic and behavioral
analysis.

The study's lead author, Professor Stephanie Spehar said: "Our synthesis of
fossil, archeological, genetic and behavioural evidence indicates that
long-term interactions with humans shaped orangutans in some pretty profound
ways."

Previously thought to be exclusively tree-dwellers, new evidence suggests more flexibility

Previously thought to be exclusively tree-dwellers, new evidence suggests more flexibility

Habitats

Discovery of remains in China, Thailand, and Vietnam indicates
that orangutans once lived in - and may still be able to adapt to - environments well beyond their current
habitats of Borneo
and Sumatra.

While it
was once believed that factors such as fruit availability confined the animals
to said environments, today’s evidence suggests that humans have had more to do
with their geographical concentration.

Adaptability

The
research also revealed that orangutans - while previously thought to be exclusively
tree-dwelling animals - in some instances spend significant time as ground
dwellers.

It is
data such as this that suggests alternative angles should be taken to protect
the species - as was prescribed by Bruford.

He said: "Only then will we stand a fighting
chance of preventing this incredibly important animal from being wiped out."