Our Vanishing Relative

Our Vanishing Relative : The Status of Wild Orang-Utans at the Close of the Twentieth Century

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In the 1960s, it was believed that no more than about 4,000 orang-utans remained in the wild. Consequently, IUCN - The World Conservation Union - declared the ape an endangered species, demanding its world-wide protection. Nevertheless, the orang-utan today faces extinction because it is dependent on a rain-forest habitat that is rapidly being demolished due to human greed, and a growing human population.
Rijksen was among the first to make a detailed study of the ape in the wild, emerging as an authority on orang-utan conservation. In the late 1980s he became so alarmed by local rumours of the rapid decline of wild orang-utans that he initiated the study leading to this book. Meijaard conducted the ambitious, island-spanning surveys in Borneo and Sumatra to reveal the ape's whereabouts.
This is the story of their findings. It is the first comprehensive study of the ape's distribution and status based on a wealth of first-hand field data, and a frank, disturbing account of a mixture of good intentions, ignorance and greed, spelling doom for our Asian relative.
Nevertheless, the authors emphasise that the orang-utan can survive. A realistic plan to save the ape, and with it thousands of unique wild animals and plants, does exist. It is the authors' hope that Our Vanishing Relative, so urgent and eloquent in its description of the deadly net of problems descending over our helpless relative, will awaken attention and empathy in order to safeguard the future of the orang-utan.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 486 pages
  • 157.5 x 241.3 x 27.9mm | 975.23g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1999 ed.
  • 486 p.
  • 079235754X
  • 9780792357544

Table of contents

Acknowledgements. Summary. Section I: The orang-utan. Introduction. A history of the orang-utan's distribution. Ecology and natural history. A history of hunting and poaching. History of orang-utan conservation. Rehabilitation of orang-utans. Section II: Orang-utan distribution. Survey methods. The present distribution. Evaluation of survey data. Section III: The decline. Summary of survey results. Discussion. Section IV: The future of the wild orang-utan. Prospects of survival. The orang-utan survival programme. Section V: Appendices and references. Appendix I: Vernacular names. Appendix II: What's in a name? Appendix III: IUCN criteria. Appendix IV: Estimates of orang-utan numbers per fragment (Table XXVII). Appendix V: Research at Ketambe (Aceh, Sumatra) (Table XXVIII). References. Index.
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