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 ( 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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