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Using models to assess viability of orangutan populations and guide conservation planning

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Title: Using models to assess viability of orangutan populations and guide conservation planning


1
Using models to assess viability of orangutan
populations and guide conservation planning
  • Bob Lacy
  • Chicago Zoological Society
  • IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group

2
Multiple conservation workshops
  • 1993 Population Habitat Viability Assessment
  • 2001 Reintroduction Protection Workshop
  • 2002 Conservation Reintroduction Workshop
  • 2003 Preliminary Population Viability Analysis
  • 2004 Population Habitat Viability Assessment
  • 2005 Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Action Plan

3
Population Habitat Viability Assessment
  • Data
  • People
  • Tools
  • Focused energy
  • Bring attention
  • conservation action

4
Organizations involved
  • IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
    (CBSG)
  • IUCN Primate Specialist Group
  • Orangutan Foundation
  • Kinabatangan OrangUtan Conservation Project
    (Hutan)
  • Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme
  • Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation
  • Sabah Wildlife Department
  • Conservation International
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • WWF-Malaysia
  • TRAFFIC
  • USAID
  • Multiple universities
  • and others

5
Population Viability Analysis
  • Synthesis of knowledge about
  • a species,
  • its environment,
  • and human actions
  • in a model of population dynamics

6
Population Viability Analysis (PVA) models
  • Use simulation models of population dynamics to
  • simulate (mimic) life history, external factors,
    trends, management actions
  • project possible future
  • trajectories
  • test proposed conservation
  • actions

7
Population Viability Analysis (PVA) models
  • Use simulation models to
  • gather as much information as possible
  • help people to deal with uncertainty
  • guide people to think more broadly about
    possible threats and possible actions
  • provide a non-judgmental forum for testing ideas
    (computer model as the perfect reflective
    listener)
  • make conservation planning a predictive science
  • provide a framework for incorporating new data
  • provide a way to present information to policy
    makers

8
The Future is Uncertain
  • Any of these trajectories might represent the
    future of the population. The distribution of
    outcomes reflects our prediction about it.

9
Effect of Logging on Orangutan Population
10
Fragmentation Due to Roads
  • Existing NW Aceh, East Leuser
  • Proposed East Middle Aceh, West Middle Aceh,
    West Leuser
  • Fragmentation effects overshadowed by logging
    effects need to consider increased risk of
    logging

11
(No Transcript)
12
Current Population Projection
50 decline in 10-12 years
Reduced to 1000 OU in 25 years
13
So, what have we learned about orangutan
populations from models?
  • We know a lot about orangutan population biology
  • long-term field studies at Ketambe, Suaq,
    Tanjung Puting, and elsewhere allow us to build
    respectable models of population dynamics
  • age of breeding, inter-birth intervals, birth
    sex ratio, mortality estimates

14
Density-dependent effect on inter-birth interval
( breeding each year)
15
So, what have we learned about orangutan
populations from models?
  • We know a lot about orangutan population biology
  • Orangutan populations can grow, at best, only
    about 1 to 2 per year
  • Thus, they can withstand a loss due to poaching
    or other harvest of no more than 1 / year

16
Effects of 0, 1, 2, or 3 removals / yr
17
So, what have we learned about orangutan
populations from models?
  • We know a lot about orangutan population biology
  • Orangutan populations can grow, at best, only
    about 1 to 2 per year
  • Populations smaller than about 250 are unstable
    demographically and genetically

18
Populations of 1000
19
Populations of 250
20
Populations of 50
21
So, what have we learned about orangutan
populations from models?
  • We know a lot about orangutan population biology
  • Orangutan populations can grow, at best, only
    about 1 to 2 per year
  • Populations smaller than about 250 are unstable
    demographically and genetically
  • Loss of habitat leads to loss of populations
    (duh!)

22
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23
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24
Projections for Leuser populations
25
Population Habitat Viability Assessment
  • Data
  • People
  • Tools
  • Focused energy
  • Bring attention
  • conservation action

26
(No Transcript)
27
Working Groups
  • Sumatra population assessment
  • Borneo population assessment
  • sub-groups for Sabah, W Kalimantan Sarawak, C
    Kalimantan, E Kalimantan
  • Conservation Strategies
  • Site Prioritization

28
Site Prioritization
  • Make substantial contributions to species
    survival
  • Loss would jeopardize the taxon as an
    evolutionary unit
  • Any threats must be addressed immediately

29
Site Prioritization Criteria
  • Habitat and population size of interconnected
    or potentially connected unit
  • Biological considerations
  • Save the largest units for each
  • Taxonomic position
  • Unusual habitat
  • Peripherality
  • Political unit

30
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31
Conservation Strategies
  • Why have the old strategies failed?
  • What new strategies might work better?
  • What organizational structures are needed?
  • What commitments and resources are needed?

32
Conservation Strategies
  • Create an Orangutan Scientific Commission
    (international)
  • monitor status of populations
  • raise awareness
  • prioritize research and funding needs
  • disseminate information
  • assist with international fund-raising

33
Conservation Strategies
  • Create an Orangutan Conservation Forum (national
    level)
  • communicate PHVA results with all stakeholders
  • liaison between international OSC and local
    stakeholders
  • advise on preparation of GrASP National Great
    Ape Survival Plans

34
Thanks!
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