Dr Ian Singleton

Date of birth:


Place of birth:

Hull, England

Education History:

BSc(hons) Environmental Science. PhD Ecology (Thesis on Sumatran orangutan ranging behavior and seasonal movements in swamp forests.

Organisation you work for:

The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme

Position title:

Conservation Director

How did you get into the work you do presently?

I was a zookeeper at Whipsnade and Edinburgh Zoos and then in 1989 I started at Jersey Zoo as their orangutan keeper. I took vacations to Indonesia to learn about orangutans in the wild and eventually developed a PhD plan….which I started in 1996 in South Aceh and finished in late 2000. I then approached Regina Frey and PanEco as I knew they were starting a new orangutan conservation project here and I was hired to help set that up.

Describe the main aspects of your work:

Supervising and directing all aspects of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). It involves lots of office work and meetings but I also manage to get to the forest now and again and also maintain something of a hands on role at the quarantine centre. It is increasingly management work though….proposals, fund raising, reports, staff issues, lobbying, meetings, developing new projects etc.

What do you like best about your job?

In theory I am fairly free to decide what I want to do and can still get to the forest from time to time. It is also VERY rewarding to get some orangutans back to the wild…and also to get some of the sick ones healthy again.