Zoo Talk Tonight(8/14) : Can We Save the Orangutans?

As human populations have ballooned into the billions, our ape relatives have declined to precipitously small numbers. Tonight, conservation biologist Ian Singleton will be at the Philadelphia Zoo to talk about the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program.

The talk starts at 6 pm and the zoo promises light refreshments.

The biggest threat to these intelligent creatures is deforestation – people are cutting down the forests they depend on to grow palms for palm oil. You may not think you’re a big palm oil consumer but the stuff is in soaps, shampoos, and cosmetics as well as many crackers, chips, ice creams and other fattening excuses for foods. Palm oil is not always listed in the ingredients, Singleton said. Legally, food companies can use the less specific term, "vegetable oil."   

Complimentary parking in the Tiger Lot (34th Street). Enter through the Shelly Building. RSVP to Dana Lombardo  at lombardo.dana@phillyzoo.org or 215-243.5305.

Here’s a Bio of Dr. Singleton:
Dr. Ian Singleton is a former Zookeeper who worked with a variety of different species at Whipsnade and Edinburgh zoos before specializing in orangutans when he moved to Jersey Zoo in the British Channel islands in 1989.  He visited Indonesia several times over the years to learn more about wild orangutans until he finally left Jersey in 1996 to begin a Ph.D study of orangutan ranging behavior in the peat swamp forests of Suaq Balimbing, in the Gunung Leuser National Park. On completion of his thesis, he joined with the Swiss-based PanEco Foundation and Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari in 2001 to establish the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. He is kept busy working to confiscate illegal pet orangutans and return them to a life in the wild, in field research and monitoring of the remaining wild Sumatran orangutan population, and in efforts to protect their habitat.