How wildlife tourism and zoos can protect animals in the wild | The Insight Files |

"Fewer than 2,000 orangutans are left living in the wild in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, with nearly all truly wild ones confined to a remote site on the Indonesian border. It’s why thousands of tourists and local Sarawak people come to places like this – the popular Semenggoh Nature Reserve – to see orangutans semi-wild in a reserve or captive in a rehabilitation centre.

Our new research has found that some 40% of the tourists to Semenggoh said they had come to Sarawak primarily to see orangutans. We also discovered something more surprising: that international tourists visiting Semenggoh said they would be happy not to see these wild orangutans, just so long as the orangutans were being conserved.

This finding – published in the latest edition of the journal Conservation & Society – is significant for global conservation efforts, because it suggests that the wildlife experience can be separated from the wild life. And that could benefit both tourists and animals still living in the wild."