Primate Research And Conservation In Malaysia

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan Lappan PhD, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Malaysia is inhabited by more than 25 nonhuman primate species from five families, one of the most diverse primate faunas on earth. Unfortunately, most Malaysian primates are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, hunting and the synergies among these processes. Here, we review research on primates and issues related to their conservation in Malaysia. Despite the charisma and cultural importance of primates, the importance of primates in ecological processes such as seed dispersal, and the robust development of biodiversity-related sciences in Malaysia, relatively little research specifically focused on wild primates has been conducted in Malaysia since the 1980s. Forest clearing for plantation agriculture has been a primary driver of forest loss and fragmentation in Malaysia. Selective logging also has primarily negative impacts on primates, but these impacts vary across primate taxa, and previously-logged forests are important habitats for many Malaysian primates. Malaysia is crossed by a dense road network, which fragments primate habitats, facilitates further human encroachment into forested areas and causes substantial mortality due to road kills. Primates in Malaysia are hunted for food or as pests, trapped for translocation due to wildlife-human conflict and hunted and trapped for illegal trade as pets. Further research on the distribution, abundance, ecology and behavioural biology of Malaysian primates is needed to inform effective management plans. Outreach and education are also essential to reduce primate-human conflict and demand for primates as pets. Ultimately, researchers, civil organizations, governmental authorities and local and indigenous communities in Malaysia must work together to develop, promote and implement effective strategies for protecting Malaysian primates and their habitats.

Additional Information

Lappan, S. & Ruppert, N. (2019). Primate research and conservation in Malaysia. CAB Reviews 14: 1-10. doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR201914004. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2019
Great apes, Small apes, Monkeys, Lorises, Tarsiers, Ecosystems

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