Communication, Culture and Conservation in Orangutans

Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


Several fragmented tropical forests within Southeast Asia, namely on northern Sumatra and across Borneo, are home to remnant and declining populations of wild orangutans (Pongo spp), the only extant nonhuman great ape found in Asia. These populations and other sympatric fauna are increasingly threatened by the alteration and destruction of their habitats. The latest available assessments from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognize Bornean orangutans as an endangered species, whereas their Sumatran counterparts, found at precipitously falling population numbers (Wich et al. 2003; Singleton et al. 2004; Wich et al., 2008b), are identified as critically endangered (IUCN 2008). While the value of preserving species such as orangutans has previously been touted as serving important biological functions, particularly from a community ecology perspective, a more recent emphasis has been on strengthening ties between the goals of biological conservation and socioeconomic development among the impoverished communities that are most likely to face direct human-wildlife conflicts related to local land use practices.


Sexual Coercion Subordinate Male Vocal Signal Social Transmission Vocal Learning 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative and Evolutionary Biology, University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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