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Press release: World-leading primate conservationist Prof. Anna Nekaris awarded an OBE

Home // Press releases for the media // Press release: World-leading primate conservationist Prof. Anna Nekaris awarded an OBE

Professor Anna Nekaris, a world-leading primate conservationist, global expert on nocturnal primates, and one of wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)’ five Conservation Partners, has been listed on The New Year Honours 2024 List.

Prof. Nekaris will receive an OBE from King Charles III for her outstanding commitment to conserving slow lorises – the world’s only venomous primates that are under severe threat from illegal poaching and devastating habitat loss – and other nocturnal primate species, since 1994.

Prof. Anna Nekaris, one of PTES’ Conservation Partners, has been awarded an OBE on The New Year Honours 2024 List for services to conservation (L) and a close up of a slow loris (R). Credit Esther Adinda (L) and Will Hall Wildlife (R).

Prof. Nekaris’ OBE has been given due to her many notable achievements over the past 20 years, including the following successes: providing the scientific basis for the elevation of slow lorises to CITES Appendix I; working with the Japanese government to implement a law that CITES I listed species must be microchipped; working with social media sites to provide warnings about sensitive animal content; conducting the first ever long-term studies of slender and pygmy lorises in India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia; providing training in nocturnal mammal identification to customs and wildlife officers in eight Asian countries; naming four new loris species and one new genus.

She also established a world-leading NGO, the Little Fireface Project, in 2011, whose accomplishments include establishing a total hunting and littering ban in the Javan village of Cipaganti; installing wildlife bridges that allow lorises and other threatened arboreal wildlife safe passage between forests; planting over 100,000 trees to increase canopy connectivity; working with over 300 local farmers to implement sustainable wildlife friendly farming practices that support both lorises and the community; and securing funding to build a school where children are educated in wildlife conservation and about slow lorises, a programme which is now being rolled out across Indonesia. She also has one of the longest-term databases monitoring wildlife trade in markets and online, and supports rescue and rehabilitation efforts of slow lorises throughout their range.

Prof. Anna Nekaris OBE, PTES’ Conservation Partner and Professor in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University said: “Researching and understanding the threats small nocturnal mammals like slow and slender lorises face and finding viable solutions to protect them has been my life’s work. To be recognised with an OBE is an incredible privilege. I am also extremely grateful to PTES for their continued support over the last two decades, as without this, we could not have advanced our knowledge of lorises and the conservation work needed to save them. I am honoured to be one of their Conservation Partners.”

Prof. Nekaris is one of PTES’ five Conservation Partners, whose work has been supported by the charity since 2002. PTES’ Conservation Partnership Programme supports global experts who are working to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Each receives up to £100,000 over five years, which enables effective conservation action to be implemented.

Slow and slender lorises are captivating nocturnal primates known for their large eyes and cute appearance. They’re native to south and southeast Asia and of the thirteen species of loris in the world, Prof. Nekaris has been involved in the conservation of all of them, as well as a lead author of their IUCN Red List status and conservation action plans. One of the main threats lorises face is being taken from their forest habitat and sold illegally as pets or for traditional medicine. This trade is perpetuated by the constant appearance of seemingly cute but illegal and mistreated lorises appearing on social media content. On top of this, vast swathes of tropical forest in Asia have been cleared, leaving hundreds of species, including all slow loris species, at risk of extinction.

Away from her field work, Prof. Nekaris is the named author on 331 academic research papers and has nearly 9,000 citations of her work which has focussed not just on conservation but also the biology of various species, conservation education, ethnozoology, and anthropology. Before her work, almost nothing was known about loris ecology, including their diet, behaviour and reproduction. She has featured in several leading BBC documentaries, presented a TED talk, and has supervised 38 PhD students, 123 MSc students and countless BSc students and scholars, including from 15 nocturnal primate range countries. She was also awarded a Queen’s Award in 2008, the Virginia McKenna Prize for Compassionate Conservation in 2013, shortlisted for the Indianapolis Prize in 2017 and named Cryptozoologist of the Year in 2018.

Nida Al-Fulaij, CEO, People’s Trust for Endangered Species added: “Our Conservation Partners are world-leaders in their field and are chosen in recognition of their exceptional achievements. We only have five Conservation Partners, so Anna is one of an elite group of conservationists whose endless dedication and drive is nothing short of inspiring. We are absolutely delighted that Anna has received an OBE for her services to conservation, which is so hugely deserved.”

The New Year Honours Lists mark the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK every year. Prof. Nekaris will collect her OBE in 2024.

To find out more about PTES’ Conservation Partners and Prof. Nekaris’ work, visit www.ptes.org/conservation-partnership

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For high res images, interview requests or further information, please contact Adela Cragg:

T: 07532 685 614

E: adelacraggPR@outlook.com

Notes to Editors

Available for interview

  • Professor Anna Nekaris OBE, PTES’ Conservation Partner, Director of the Little Fireface Project and Professor in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University
  • Nida Al-Fulaij, CEO, People’s Trust for Endangered Species

About People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)

  • PTES, a UK conservation charity created in 1977, is ensuring a future for endangered species throughout the world. We protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, and provide practical conservation support through research, grant-aid, educational programmes, wildlife surveys, publications and public events.
  • PTES’ current priority species and habitats include hazel dormice, hedgehogs, water voles, noble chafers, stag beetles, traditional orchards, native woodlands, wood pasture and parkland and hedgerows.
  • PTES has Species Champions for two of its priority species: for hedgehogs The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell and for water voles The Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and Chair of the Brexit Select Committee.
  • Visit www.ptes.org and follow PTES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & LinkedIn.

About the Little Fireface Project

Header image credit Little Fireface Project

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