Zoo hosts orangutan conservation workshop

Participants will address issues facing endangered apes in wild and in zoos

The Oregon Zoo is hosting the sixth annual Orangutan Species Survival Plan workshop Aug. 20-23, bringing some of the world's leading experts to Portland to address issues facing orangutans, both in the wild and in zoos, with a heavy emphasis on conservation.

"This is a critical time for orangutans," said Jennifer Davis, Oregon Zoo curator and organizer of this year's workshop. "Habitat loss, palm oil plantations and an illegal pet trade have pushed them to the brink of extinction in their range countries. To ensure their survival, we need to dramatically increase our conservation efforts."

The annual SSP workshop convenes researchers, zoo staff and biologists from around the world to compare notes, discuss recent events, and develop plans for advancing orangutan conservation projects, improving husbandry protocols and more.

Dr. Ian Singleton, director of conservation for PanEco's Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, will be the keynote speaker. Singleton, a former zookeeper, works at confiscating illegal pet orangutans and returning them to a life in the wild, conducting field research, and monitoring the remaining wild Sumatran orangutan population and working to protect its habitat.