An endangered orangutan checks out a camera that has taken its photo. This new research shows the rare apes spend more time travelling on the ground than was ever previously known.
Photo Credit: Loken-sfu

Canadian research: new orangutan discovery

Share

A Canadian researcher was working on a project in Borneo involving the rare snow leopard, when  he stumbled across a previously unknown behaviour in orangutans.

Brent Loken is a doctoral candidate at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in the School of Resource and Environmental Management

Listen

 

null
Brent Loken (L) examines images taken by the trail camera fasterend to a tree (Left) at ground level. © supplied

Loken says when the cameras he set up to spot the leopards began showing several images of orangutans regularly walking on roads and trails on the ground, he was surprised to discover there was virtually no research on this behaviour.

His own research into this previously unknown behaviour has been published in the scientific conservation journal Oryx.

He says that science typically thought of these gentle slow-moving apes as spending almost all their time in the trees, only rarely coming to the forest floor.

Loken says he seems to have accidently stumbled on the fact they sometimes choose to travel on the ground because he isn’t a primatologist and so wasn’t affected by a preconceived bias that they didn’t often come down from the trees.

null
A female carrying a baby on her back captured by the motion sensitive camera in the Wehea Forest of Bornea in 2012. Brent Loken is now researching population density of these relatively docile and slow-moving engangered apes. © Loken SFU

At first he says he thought they were adapting to logging (both commercial, and illegal) which was creating gaps in their forest cover and so were using the logging roads to travel from point to point.

However, later additional research found that orangutans in non-logged areas were also using trails on the ground for travel.

null
A female orangutan and youngster captured by the motion sensitve trail camera. Loken at first speculated that the apes were adapting to massive logging causing them to travel on the ground via logging roads. More research show the prveiously unknown behaviour was more generalized © Loken SFU

He strives to point out though that trees and a dense forest are absolutely essential for the species survival, but that Borneo’s forests are being cut down at an incredible rate, surpassing even that of Brazil’s deforestation.

Loken says his ongoing research into orangutans will now try to determine population numbers of the animals, as right now there is little information on how many of the endangered animals are in the forest.

null
Another large oragutan, probably male, pauses after the camera snaps his picture in 2013. Loken says he’s often been very close to the orangutans but has never felt threatened or in danger. © loken- SFU

He will also continue is work with the NGO he founded,Ethical Expeditions, and working in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo with the indigenous Wehea Dayak community to help build a sustainable social-ecological system.

Share
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Environment, International, Internet, Science and Technology

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Canadian research: new orangutan discovery
  1. The things you do really useful . Trail cameras have recorded great things . hope there will be many new discoveries to help the animals .