Saving threatened habitats worldwide

The Great Ape Debate

24 April, 2009 - 11:44 -- World Land Trust
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On the 30th April 2009 at 6pm, the World Land Trust and Linnean Society of London will host the widely anticipated 'Great Ape Debate'. The tickets sold out immediately but the debate will also be streamed live onto the WLT and Linnean Society of London websites allowing a huge public audience for what is expected to be a lively and informative debate.

It is well known that Orangutan numbers have plummeted over recent years, mainly as a result of the spread of monocultures, particularly oil palm. The destruction of huge areas of orangutan habitat is now seriously threatening the species with extinction and leading conservationists in the field hold conflicting views on how best to ensure the survival of "the person of the forest".

This debate will focus on the controversy surrounding Orangutan conservation and whether rehabilitation and reintroduction of rescued captive animals is a viable way of conserving Orangutans or would resources be better spent on the purchase, protection and recreation of their natural habitats? Experts are divided in their opinions, and this forum, consisting of conservation experts and scientists , will pool their views and open the debate to the floor in what should prove to be an intriguing and lively discussion. The issues raised will also be relevant to the conservation of other species. The debate will be chaired by The Earl of Cranbrook, and making up the panel will be Dr Marc Ancrenaz, Mr John A Burton, Dr David Chivers, Ms Ashley Leiman, and Mr Ian Redmond.

This debate is being convened, and held jointly, by the Linnean Society of London and the World Land Trust (WLT), an international conservation charity with a twenty year track record of raising funds for land purchase working through in-country project partners. WLT's Orangutan Appeal, launched in 2008, has successfully raised funds to save important forest habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain of Sabah.


To find out more about this, and other WLT projects, go to

The link for the debate is or

A Facebook group where people can continue the debate afterwards:


Key Speakers:


Dr Marc Ancrenaz
Director of Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project

Mr John A Burton, FLS
Founder and CEO of World Land Trust

Dr David J. Chivers, FLS
University Reader in Primate Biology and Conservation, Veterinary Anatomy Programme and Head Wildlife Research Group at Cambridge University

Ms Ashley Leiman, OBE
Founder and Director of Orangutan Foundation (UK)

Mr Ian Redmond, OBE
Ambassador, UN Year of the Gorilla and Chief Consultant, GRASP – UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project




Earl of Cranbrook, FLS

For press enquiries contact:
Emma Beckett

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