Francine Neago

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Francine Neago
A Young Orangutan in a Loving Home cover.jpg
Born Paris, France
Nationality French
Fields Primatology, medicine
Institutions UCLA, IBM, Surabaya Zoological Park, Singapore Zoo
Known for Orangutan language programs, preservation of endangered great apes

Francine Neago is a primatologist and conservationist specializing in orangutans. She is best known for her televised films about orangutans.

Early life[edit]

Neago was born in Paris. She trained as a general practitioner in medicine. From 1965 to 1977 she studied the behavior and language of Great Apes at Indonesia's Surabaya Zoological Park. At that time she also volunteered as a park veterinarian, founded a free medical clinic and hospital, and led relief projects for Indonesian people. In 1977 she lived for six months inside a cage at the Singapore Zoo with eighteen orangutans to study their behavior and communication.


Neago developed a computer system used by the Smithsonian National Zoo to teach language to orangutans.[1] She ran the world's first orangutan language study, teaching an ape named Bulan sign language and spelling in a phonetic alphabet.[2]

Between 1978 and 1989 she lectured in primatology at UCLA. In 1980 she organized the rehabilitation of chimpanzees from cages in laboratories to the Lion Country Safari in Florida. Between 1990 and 1995 she rehabilitated local wildlife in the jungle of Costa Rica, and from 1996 to 1997 she organized the rehabilitation of endangered wildlife in a private zoo in Riau Province in Sumatra. In 2004 she began work toward establishing a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) sanctuary in Malaysia. In 2006 she co-authored a book on raising an orphaned orangutan.[3] In 2007 she set up the Bali Endangered Animal Rescue (BEAR) center in Bali.[4] She founded the Sabah wildlife sanctuary Noah and his Ark.[5] In 2011 the Asia News Network reported that she intended to set up an orangutan language centre in Sarawak.[6]


  1. ^ Smithsonian: Research projects
  2. ^ "CURRICULUM VITAE". Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Uturat: Orangutan book
  4. ^ Jakarta Post
  5. ^ Noah and his Ark. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  6. ^ AsiaOne: Language skills for orang utan. Retrieved 13 December 2012.

External links[edit]