Ethical Debates in Orangutan Conservation explores how conservationists decide whether, and how, to undertake rehabilitation and reintroduction (R&R) when rescuing orphaned orangutans. The author demonstrates that exploring ethical dilemmas is crucial for understanding ongoing disagreements about how to help endangered wildlife in an era of anthropogenic extinction.

Although R&R might appear an uncontroversial activity, there is considerable debate about how, and why, it ought to be practised. Drawing on in-depth qualitative research with orangutan conservation practitioners, this book examines how ethical trade-offs shape debates about R&R. For example, what if the orphan fails to learn how to be an orangutan again, after years in the company of humans? What if she is sent into the forest only to slowly starve? Would she have been better off in a cage? Could the huge cost of sending a rescued ape back to the wild be better spent on stopping deforestation in the first place? Or do we have a moral obligation to rescue the orphan regardless of cost? This book demonstrates that deconstructing ethical positions is crucial for understanding ongoing disagreements about how to help our endangered great ape kin and other wildlife. 

Ethical Debates in Orangutan Conservation is essential reading for those interested in conservation and animal welfare, animal studies, primatology, geography, environmental philosophy, and anthropology.

chapter |14 pages


To save is to sacrifice

chapter 1|32 pages

Orangutans and their conservation

chapter 2|28 pages

Kill, incarcerate, or liberate?

Alternatives to reintroduction 1

chapter 3|21 pages

What is a rehabilitation centre?

Boundary-work in conservation

chapter 4|16 pages

Sense and sentimentality

Emotion in environmental ethics

chapter 5|22 pages

No space on the ark

Triage in wildlife rescue

chapter 6|33 pages

Wild, well, or free?

Ethical debates in rehabilitation methods

chapter 7|21 pages

Bosses, baddies, and “baby huggers”

The ethics of conservation fundraising

chapter 8|10 pages

The “dark side”

(Un)ethics and whistle-blowing in conservation

chapter |4 pages


Ethics in the Anthropocene