Erik Meijaard

Erik's Posts

Bike Preferences Among Indonesian Primates

June 18th, 2009

Last year, The Nature Conservancy’s Indonesia program was offered an undisclosed amount of money from an anonymous motorbike company. Presumably because the company knew of the Conservancy’s expertise in primate research, they somewhat bizarrely requested us to investigate bike preference among Indonesian apes and monkeys. As the senior scientist of the Indonesian forest program, I […] More

The Nationality of Wild and Domesticated Nature

April 17th, 2009

Do dogs have nationalities? Do orangutans have nationalities? And if so, why? Who has got the right to claim them as their own? More

Conservation Needs Anger Management

April 14th, 2009

On the pent up frustrations, swallowed pride, hurt feelings, suppressed anger, and unfulfilled hopes of working in conservation. More

What Else You Need to Learn as an Aspiring Conservationist

April 1st, 2009

Sanjayan’s recent Cool Green Science post on what you need to know to get a job in conservation lists some core skills for budding conservationists: basic ecology, economics & sociology, natural history, story telling and GIS skills, knowing your languages and how to manage people, being web smart, and having some knowledge of statistics and […] More

A New Orangutan Population on Borneo

March 30th, 2009

Finding a new population of any species is good news in conservation. But finding a hitherto undiscovered population of orangutans (see one in the video above) is really exciting. And we did just that. In December 2008, we found a significant population of Bornean orangutans. This is some welcome news on a generally gloomy conservation […] More

Is Conservation…Unnatural?

March 16th, 2009

I wrote about the Church Bird of Borneo a few weeks ago, and asked the question how species could be evolutionary winners and conservation disasters at the same time. The issue is about exotic and invasive species that are ecologically much better adapted to their new environments than indigenous species, which are often fine-tuned with […] More

Yikes! It’s a Giant Earthworm!

March 12th, 2009

Erik receives a photo of a 5-foot earthworm from Borneo and goes on a quest to find out which species it is. Unaware of the complexity of earthworm taxonomy, he fails miserably, but enjoys the search anyway. More

‘Bart, Everything is Selling’

March 2nd, 2009

Here’s a line from Richard Yates’ novel “Revolutionary Road”: “Nothing happens in this world, nothing comes into this world, until somebody makes a sale.” Does that include conservation? Do we need to sell conservation? And if so, what is the product we are actually trying to sell? This may not be about selling for cash. […] More

The Church Bird of Borneo

February 26th, 2009

Tree sparrows (Passer montanus) would not rank particularly high on my list of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful species. They are pretty average looking: chestnut brown, some white and a bit of black. Cute but..well, I guess, a bit boring. Or are they? In Europe, these sparrows are shy and don’t hang around near people. […] More

The Real Identity of a Conservation Worker

February 16th, 2009

I spend quite a bit of my time flying through the Indonesian archipelago. On-board entertainment consists mostly of reruns of a hidden camera program called “Just for Laughs,” where practical jokes are played on innocent passers-by. Although the jokes can be pretty lame, it provides a perfect source of silent fun. Sometimes the whole plane […] More

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