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Ecology and Conservation

 Abi Gwynn

Abi Gwynn

MSc by Research student (Alumni)



I am a masters by research student interested in primate behaviour and conservation. My particular interest is in how anthropogenic activity is affecting wildlife and using this information to implement effective conservation efforts. My MbyRes project investigates how the critically endangered Bornean orangutan has been affected by the 2015 Indonesian forest fires. I also have a keen curiosity in primate cognition. Working as a research intern on a project studying working memory in new world monkeys and taking modules in human evolution during my undergradute degree has enthused me to develop this interest in future research projects.

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2018 BSc (Hons) Zoology - University of Exeter


2021 - Senior Development Officer, Borneo Nature Foundation International

2020  - Administration and Communications Officer, Borneo Nature Foundation International


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Research interests




Human-wildlife Interactions

Tropical Ecology

Research projects

Project Title: Effects of the 2015 forest fires on behaviour and health of Bornean orangutans in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Supervisor: Dr Frank Van Veen

Project Description: In order to understand how orangutans have been affected by the 2015 forest fires, which destroyed a large area of forest in the Sabangau peat-swamp forest, we need to conduct studies to assess how their behavioural patterns and physiological condition have changed and compared them to before the fires.

The Sabangau Forest did occupy an area of ca. 5,780km2 within the province of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia; but this has severely decreased due to the 2015 forest fires, with an estimated 8% of the forest lost. This is still an extremely important area of tropical peat-swamp forest and is home to the largest orangutan population remaining. The main objectives of my MbyRes project are to investigate changes in orangutan behaviour and health. These findings are important for understanding how the normal behavioural patterns and health of individuals are disrupted, and what consequences this type of forest loss has on orangutans. I hope that this will aid with conservation management strategies for this area, and for the species.

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