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 Harry Hilser

Harry Hilser

Research Fellow

 07725 554619



With a background in biology, I sought to pursue my interests in ecology and anthropology, leading into a specialization in primatology. Deepening these core interests, I explored Indonesia’s rich diversity of primate species, beginning research in South East Sulawesi in 2005. Since then I have investigated crop-raiding and social interactions in Buton macaques (Macaca ochreata brunescens), parasitism in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis) and red langurs (Presbytis rubicunda), and leading into conservation research of the Critically Endangered Sulawesi crested black macaques (Macaca nigra).

My primary interest trajectories have developed from the biological to conservation domains, as I have been living in North Sulawesi for the past 3 years as Programme Manager for a conservation Programme focused on protecting M. nigra and its native habitat. The current part time PhD in Human Geography is primarily rooted in the understudied area of conservation advocacy. Integrated into the programme, this study focuses on the anthropological causes of species declines and potential mitigation strategies based on behavioural change mechanisms such as community based social marketing.

Broad research specialisms:

Primatology; Conservation Biology; Social Psychology; Empathy; Behaviour Change Science


BSc Biological Sciences
MSc Primate Conservation


Research projects

Project Title:  Empathizing With Nature– Underpinning the Essence of Conservation Advocacy

Supervisors: Dr Stewart Barr; Dr Ewan Woodley

Funding Body: The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, UK

Project Description:
The current study aims to examine the causal links between advocacy and support for conservation based activities, placed within a theoretical context. The investigation takes root at the sociological and ecological sources of advocacy. By exploring the theoretical bases of prosocial and proenvironmental behaviour such as empathy, including theories of inclusion and social practice theory, whilst utilizing current social marketing and psychological techniques, I hope to gain insight into the propensity for alterations in individual’s moral compasses. It is predicted that the mutual and synergistic goals of filling gaps in our understanding of mechanisms of advocacy whilst enhancing in-situ conservation strategies will be achieved.


Hilser, H., Bowkett, A., Melfi, V., Tasirin, J., Siwi, Y., Agung, I., Masson, G., Plowman, A. (2013). A substantial non-native population of the Critically Endangered Sulawesi crested black macaque persists on the island of Bacan, North Maluku. Oryx, 47, 479-480.

Hilser, H., Melfi, V., Sampson, H., Tasirin, J. (2013). Species Conservation Action Plan – Sulawesi Crested Black Macaques (Macaca nigra). Second Draft.

Hilser, H., Ehlers-Smith, D., Ehlers-Smith, Y. (2014). Mortality as a Result of an Elevated Parasite Load in Presbytis rubicunda. Folia Primatologica.

Hilser, H., Aldrich, B., Cheyne, S. (submitted). The Role of the Veterinarian in Connecting Primate Welfare with The UK Pet Trade. Animal Welfare

Hilser, H., Melfi, V., Sampson, V. (in preparation). Attitudes and Advocacy Towards Conservation of a Critically Endangered Primate Species in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Hilser, H., Cheyne, S., Morrogh-Bernard, H., Ehlers-Smith, D. (submitted). Creating Connections: Integrating Health Monitoring Into Primate Conservation Management.

Hilser, H., Cheyne, S., Morrogh-Bernard, H., Ehlers-Smith, D. (submitted). Socioecology and Gastro- Intestinal Parasites of Sympatric Primate Species Inhabiting the Sabangau Peat-Swamp Forest, Central Kalimantan.

Bowkett, A., Farmer, H., Hilser, H., Melfi, V. (2013). Working to save Sulawesi crested black macaques. BIAZA Lifelines.

Hilser, H., Cheyne, S., Morrogh-Bernard, H., Ehlers-Smith, D. (2011). Socioecology and Gastro-Intestinal Parasites of Sympatric Primate Species Inhabiting the Sabangau Peat-Swamp Forest, Central Kalimantan. Presentation at the European Federation of Primatologists Meeting, Portugal.

Hilser, H. (2012). Selamatkan Yaki – Working to Save Sulawesi crested black macaques and their naïve habitat. Oral presentation at the Wallace Darwin Symposium, Hassanudin University, Makassar.


Supervision / Group

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