Professor Anna Nekaris

BA, MA, PhD, CuP

Professor in Primate Conservation

School of Social Sciences

Role

Prof Dr Anna Nekaris is a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation and is the University Lead for Public Engagement of Research. She is the Subject Lead for the highly acclaimed MSc Primate Conservation and MRes Primatology and Conservation. She is Director of the Development Office's Slow Loris Fund, through which she directs the Little Fireface Project. She is also Convenor of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group and member of the Ecology and Evolution Research Group and the Centre for Functional Genomics.

Teaching and supervision

Courses

Modules taught

I am the programme lead of the postgraduate primate conservation programme, and module leader for the following modules:

  • Methods and Analysis in Biology Anthropology
  • Primate Conservation
  • Conservation Education
  • Independent Study in Lemurs and Nocturnal Primates

I use YouTube to provide training aids for loris researchers around the world, including a complete ethogram of lorises, which can be viewed here

I regularly give guest lectures to other universities, and my TedX talk on slow loris viral videos is often used as a teaching aid. 

Supervision

I have supervised approximately 30 PhD students to completion. I regularly am the Director of Studies of 2 postdocs, 5 PhD students and 4 MSc students.I am currently Director of Studies for the following:

  • Grace Foreman: Impact of social media on animal conservation 
  • Leah Fitz: Assembling the genome of the only venomous primate – the slow loris 
  • Angelina Wilson: Using a conservation education approach to mitigate online wildlife trade amongst UK teenagers

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Active
Emma Hankinson Megafauna Extinction on our watch: Conserving Sumatra’s last remaining elephant populations and their tropical forests Active
Sophie Manson Quantifying the ecosystem services provided by vertebrates within an agroforest environment in Java, Indonesia Active
Thais Morcatty A multilateral approach to tackling wildlife trade in South America: people, ecology and conservation Supervisors Active
Brittany Rapone Cultural Influences Behind Exotic Pet Cafés in Japan and their Relation to the International Pet Trade Active
Dr Penthai Siriwat ‘Wildlife Trade in the Digital Age: The role of the Internet in monitoring the trade in wild plants and animals in Thailand 2020
Dr Miguel de Guinea Luengo Navigating in Rainforests: Movement patterns in a neotropical primate the Black Howler Monkey. 2020
Dr Kathleen Reinhardt Ecophysiology of a wild nocturnal primate the Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus Javanicus) 2020
Dr Jaima Smith An examination and assessment of current conservation practices for Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) in West Java, Indonesia 2019
Dr Michela Balestri Ecology and conservation of the southern woolly lemur (Avahi meridionalis) in the Tsitongambarika Protected Area, south-eastern Madagascar 2018
Dr Stephanie Poindexter Navigating the Night: Spatial Cognition. Locomotor and ranging behaviour in Nycticebus species 2018

Research

Working in the wild, zoos, museums, rescue centres and in the lab, Anna's main focus is on the conservation of Asian nocturnal animals, especially slow and slender lorises. Her primate conservation work extends to African nocturnal primates, lemurs, colobines, and macaques. 

Research topics include:

  • ecology and evolutionary adaptations related to mammalian venom
  • behavioural ecology using radio tracking and biologgers
  • behavioural adaptations to climate change
  • conservation value of agroforestry systems
  • socioecological impacts of Wildlife Friendly farming
  • conservation education with an ecophilic approach
  •  Click here to see her up to date publication list.

With nearly 30 years of research in 11 range countries, Anna is known as a leading expert in Asia's slow and slender lorises. Of her more than 70 postgraduate students, over 50 of Anna’s MSc, MRes, MPhil and PhD students, including from range countries, have completed research on lorises. Anna also regularly welcomes postdoctoral researchers into her lab. 

Research impact

Anna has a world-wide association with rescue centres, field stations, and zoos with need of advice regarding taxonomic identification, captive care, and ecological advice regarding Asian lorises and African pottos.  Anna’s advice has also been sought when illegal social media videos of pet slow lorises, which violate international legislation, became viral reaching millions of hits, leading to warning captions of such material on Facebook and Instagram.  She led campaigns leading to some of these videos being removed.

Anna was the lead scientist involved in the transfer of all slow lorises to CITES Appendix 1 (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). She also worked with the Japanese Government via the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society to change legislation so that CITES I listed species' import documentation must be linked to a microchip.

Anna works with zoos and rescue centres worldwide improving captive diets, especially providing irrefutable scientific evidence that slow lorises are gum-feeding specialists and slender lorises are specialist insectivores. These findings have led to dramatic changes in captive management and wefare.

Anna appears regulalry in documentaries that increase awareness of the plight of lorises and other species, including UK 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.

Centres and institutes

Groups

Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is lead by another Institution

  • Factors affecting childhood exposures to urban particulates (30/04/2020 - 29/04/2023), funded by: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), funding amount received by Brookes: £0

Publications

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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Journal Editing

  • Co-Editor-in-Chief Folia Primatologica, the international journal of the European Federation of Primatology
  • Associate Editor Endangered Species Research
  • Editorial Board Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins
  • Editorial Board Asian Primates
  • Editorial Board Taprobanica

Society Memberships

  • Elected Member of the IUCN Primates Specialists Group
  • Elected Member of the IUCN Section on Habitat Fragmentation
  • Regular member British Ecological Society
  • Regular member Society for Conservation Biology
  • Regular member Primate Society of Great Britain
  • Regular member American Association of Physical Anthropology
  • Regular member International Primate Society
  • Regular member American Society of Primatologists

 

Conferences

I am on the organising committee annually of the Oxford Venoms and Toxins conference and the Slow Loris Outreach Week conference.

I regularly attend several annual conferences:

  • European Federation of Primatology
  • British Ecological Society
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Primate Society of Great Britain
  • American Association of Physical Anthropology
  • International Primate Society

Consultancy

I am scientific advisor to

  • The primatological working group of the International Zoology Society of China 
  • EAZA Bengal and pygmy slow loris captive breeding programme
  • EAZA Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group 
  • Thailand’s Love Wildlife 
  • Nepal’s Global Primate Network