Alexandra (Ally) Palmer, post-doctoral researcher at University of Oxford, presented her new book Ethical Debates in Orangutan Conservation (Routledge, 2020), on Monday, November 30, 2020, in the Greenhouse book talk series.
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.
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.