First Advisor

Luis A. Ruedas

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors




Orangutans -- Conservation -- Malaysia -- Sabah, Ecotourism -- Malaysia -- Sabah, Tourism -- Malaysia -- Sabah




Since its inception, ecotourism has been presented as an ideal way to raise money and awareness for conservation while at the same time benefitting local communities. In the early 1960's, orangutan rehabilitation centers in Malaysia and Indonesia began to integrate tourism into their fundraising efforts in order to reintroduce ex-captive orangutans back into the wild and provide education on the conservation of the species. This early integration of tourism led to a widely popular industry that today is thriving. The present research provides a review of the history and current perspectives of traditional orangutan tourism and the more novel wild orangutan ecotourism in the state of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, to assess whether ecotourism is an appropriate future solution to orangutan conservation. Due to a lack of evidence supporting claims that ecotourism is a panacea for conservation, it is suggested that further research be carried out on the ecological role that orangutans play in their habitats as seed dispersers, and that educational programs surrounding orangutans' ecological roles may provide a more sustainable method of promoting conservation.


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