International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 423–442 | Cite as

Determining Sensitive Parameters for the Population Viability of Reintroduced Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii)

  • Doris Kelle
  • Dominik Fechter
  • Alexander Singer
  • Peter Pratje
  • Ilse Storch


Although reintroduction has been a widely implemented conservation tool, in many cases it is unclear whether the released animals can successfully establish a viable and self-sustaining population. We constructed a population model for reintroduced Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) and conducted a population viability analysis to evaluate the probability of persistence. We based our study on a reintroduced orangutan population at Bukit Tigapuluh, Jambi, Central Sumatra, Indonesia. We used various scenarios to assess the effects of adaptation time, number of released individuals, duration of release period, variation in infant survival, and carrying capacity on population extinction probability over time. We found that behavioral adaptation of individuals to living in the wild within <6 yrs after release enhanced population persistence, and that initial losses may be compensated by additional releases. Our analyses indicated that a lack of information about released orangutans prevented accurate evaluation of the effectiveness of reintroduction procedures. Consequently, we recommend that reintroduction projects improve data quality on the fates of released individuals in order to provide a reliable basis for a population viability analysis. The use of population viability analyses would allow proactive management and a better evaluation of reintroduction progress.


Overview–Design concepts–Details (ODD) Pongo abelii Population viability analysis Reintroduction 



We thank the Indonesian State Ministry of Research and Technology (RISTEK), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the Indonesian State Ministry of Forestry (PHKA), and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) for making this research possible; Elizabeth Riemer and John Bissonette for proofreading; and Robert Mattmueller for assistance in Python Programming. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. We thank Felix Knauer for support in the initial model setup and the fnet-team of the faculty of environment and natural resources, University of Freiburg, for providing computing capacities. This project was supported by scholarships from the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation (to D. Kelle) and the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V. (to D. Fechter). DK expresses her sincere thanks to the employees of the FZS for their help and support in the field and in Jambi.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doris Kelle
    • 1
  • Dominik Fechter
    • 1
  • Alexander Singer
    • 2
  • Peter Pratje
    • 3
  • Ilse Storch
    • 1
  1. 1.Chair of Wildlife Ecology and ManagementFreiburg UniversityFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Ecological ModellingHelmholtz Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Frankfurt Zoological SocietyJambiIndonesia

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