Wildlife expert and Oxford Brookes University professor receives OBE

Prof Anna Nekaris and a loris
Professor Anna Nekaris OBE and a loris. Photo by Will Hall Wildlife.

An Oxford Brookes University professor whose research focuses on endangered animals in Asia and Africa has been recognised in the New Year Honours List.

Professor Anna Nekaris, Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation and the University Lead for Public Engagement of Research at Oxford Brookes University, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to conservation.

Working in zoos, museums, rescue centres, laboratories and in the wild, Professor Nekaris has carried out 30 years of research in 11 countries. Her main focus is on the conservation of Asian nocturnal animals, especially lorises. Her conservation work also extends to other primates, especially lemurs, colobines and macaques, and other nocturnal mammals (civets, wild cats, colugos). 

Professor Nekaris is the Subject Lead for the Oxford Brookes MSc in Primate Conservation and MRes in Primatology and Conservation, and Head of the University’s Nocturnal Primate Research Group (NPRG). She is Director of the Oxford Brookes Development Office's Slow Loris Fund, through which she directs the Little Fireface Project in Java. The project’s mission is to obtain data about all loris species and to contribute to their conservation in the wild and in captivity, including aiding rescue centres in reintroductions and aiding in the welfare of slow loris pets in countries where it is still legal to keep them. 

Already threatened by habitat loss, the survival of lorises is further jeopardised by the popularity of lorises for use in traditional healing remedies, folk magic, and the pet and photo prop trades. Professor Nekaris has led campaigns which have resulted in illegal videos showing slow lorises as pets being removed from Facebook and Instagram. 

Anna has appeared regularly in documentaries that increase awareness of the plight of lorises and other species, including the BBC's The Natural World and Life of Mammals, USA Animal Planet's Frontier Earth, Japan NHK's Here comes Darwin, Singapore MediaCorp's Beyond the Viral Video and Korea EPS's Our Seoul Earth. She also regularly appears in documentaries providing a scientific perspective to the field of cryptozoology - the search for animals whose existence or survival is disputed. 

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said: “Congratulations to Professor Nekaris. I am delighted her contribution to global conservation has received this recognition in the New Year Honours list.”