Calls to Action within the Anthropocene

Authors: Courtney Berne*, Geography and Urban Studies Department Temple University
Topics: Animal Geographies, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: more-than-human, Anthropocene, orangutan, communication, conservation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Due to their enduring ecological flexibility, orangutans have co-existed alongside humans for at least 70,000 years. Despite their robust adaptability, the remaining three sub-species of orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus, Pongo abelii, and Pongo tapanuliensis) are all listed as critically endangered (iucnredlist.org). The continued disappearance of suitable habitat and subsequent population fragmentation requires conservation solutions which include “a multifaceted, landscape-level approach to…preserve and reconnect remaining natural forests… [in order to] improve…biodiversity in the Anthropocene” (Spehar et al., Sci.Adv. 2018). Given the ample research studies illustrating non-human primate communication (Bard et al., 2014; Bryne & Cartmill, 2017; Genty et al., 2009; Jaeggi et al., 2010; King, 2004; Knox et al., 2018; Liebal & Pika, 2005) and the dependence upon intra-species sociality for continued survival, it is imperative that social scientists, including geographers, actively collaborate to ensure non-human primate population cohesion. Through further implementation of conservation policies that preserve forest contiguity, orangutans will be afforded access to nutrition options via sustained cohabitation with con-specifics, while facilitating essential survival strategies. My paper will address the already existing ways in which environmental enrichment has been implemented in global captive spaces for non-human primates in order to enable the transmission of more-than-human voices in urban environs, while also speaking to the continued conservation struggles that listening to these voices has created within their native habitat zones.

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