Primate Conservation

Observing primate behaviour

60% of the world’s primate species are threatened with extinction. Many of them are more common in captivity than in the wild. We need to know how animals behave in captivity if we want to make zoos places where animals are healthy and happy, have proper social groupings and enough space to behave normally. The skills required to observe animals are also essential when working in the wild.

Since the MSc Primate Conservation course started at Oxford Brookes in 2000, more than 400 students have completed the masters degree. Graduates work all over the world in zoos and in the wild, playing a major role in saving some of the world’s most threatened primate species.

The field trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park is part of the Captive Management and Rehabilitation module, which reviews good practice in the management and welfare of captive primates and the implications for the survival of declining populations in the wild. The module emphasises the effects of the captive environment on behavioural traits and breeding success and also considers veterinary care, housing and enclosure design, display, and environmental enrichment. Other areas it covers include the role of cryogenics, and the pros and cons of reintroduction and rehabilitation into the wild.

Primate groups

Here we show our study subjects within the six major primate groups or superfamilies.

Lorises, Galagos and Pottos


Lorises are small to medium strepsirhine (moist-nosed) primates from a wide rage of habitats over a vast area of southern and eastern Asia. They range in weight from 103 to 1,600g.

Slow Loris identification guides

Listen loris vocalisations

Audio 1 (270 Kb)

Audio 2 (435 Kb)

Audio 3 (257 Kb)


Galagos or Bushbabies are small to medium strepsirhine (moist-nosed) primates founding diverse habitats throughout Africa, south of the Sahara, except for the southernmost tip. They range in weight from 45 to 2,000g.


Pottos and angwantibos are small to medium strepsirhine (moist-nosed) primates from primary and secondary rainforests in Central and West Africa. They range in weight from 150 to 1,900g.



New World monkeys

Old World monkeys


Our staff

Professor Anna Nekaris, OBE

Professor Anna Nekaris, OBE

Professor in Primate Conservation

Dr Susan Cheyne

Dr Susan Cheyne

Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology and Primate Conservation

Dr Magdalena Svensson

Dr Magdalena Svensson

MSc Primate Conservation Lecturer and Laboratory Technician