REF 2021 Impact Case Study: The discovery and protection of a new orangutan species, the Tapanuli orangutan, and sustaining and protecting existing orangutan species


Description of impact

Dr Marina Davila Ross’ research on orangutan long calls has contributed to the first discovery of a new living ape species in nearly a century, the Tapanuli orangutan. With fewer than 800 individuals, it is the most endangered great ape species in the world. As a result, the Tapanuli orangutan has been classified as Critically Endangered (to become Extinct), instigating global protection legislation and conservation action plans to preserve the species. She has also co-developed methods to assess the survival potential of rehabilitant orangutans with conservation and government organisations in Malaysia. These methods have improved release programmes, reduced the risk of unsuccessful releases and contributed to the survival of the species.
Impact statusClosed
Impact date201731 Dec 2020


  • REF2021