From Wildlife Extra:
Wildlife corridors could offer new hope for orangutans
Researchers from Cardiff University, University of Adelaide, NGO HUTAN, and Sabah Wildlife Department have been looking at ways to improve wildlife corridors in Borneo as a new method of protecting the endangered orangutan.
According to the researchers, more than 80 per cent of the primate’s habitat has been destroyed in the past 20 years due to demand for agricultural land, leaving the remaining forest fragmented, isolating orangutans from one another and resulting in a major threat to their survival.
The study highlights that establishing wildlife corridors that connect fragmented protected areas will allow animals to move freely from one territory to another. This will be beneficial to gene diversity, as it will minimise the negative impact of inbreeding caused by animals being forced to live in small, isolated territories.
Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences stresses that the study should not be limited to orangutans, but can apply to other wildlife species affected by climate change and decreasing, fragmented territories. “In this study we used the orang-utan as a model, but the knowledge gleaned will be useful for other mammal species,” he explains. “The next phase of our research will focus on corridor establishment and enhancement by recovering riparian reserves from oil palm plantations, to inform land managers about best corridor scenarios.”
The research team included Dr Benoît Goossens from Cardiff University, Stephen Gregory, Damien Fordham and Barry Brook from Australia, and Marc Ancrenaz, Raymond Alfred, and Laurentius Ambu from Sabah Wildlife Department.
You can read the full paper, [in] Diversity and Distributions, here.