Danica Stark

Danica Stark
Assistant Manager & Scientific Field Officer

Danica first came to Sabah in 2009, when she conducted a census of proboscis monkeys along the Kinabatangan River as part of her thesis for her MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University. Following the MSc, she spent part of the following year in Sulawesi training undergraduate students in field methods in primatology, following Buton macaques, and then went back Sabah to teach a primate behaviour field course. While teaching the course, Danica and Benoit started discussing the future of primate research at DGFC, and a few months later, in October 2010, Danica was back in Sabah to stay, to start developing and running primate projects, as well as planning her PhD on spatial ecology of proboscis monkeys.

Danica grew up with a love of animals, and began taking courses at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, that would allow her to pursue veterinary medicine. Half way through her studies, Danica started searching for something that would allow her to travel whilst being able to make a contribution in wildlife conservation. After learning about Canadian Birute Galdikas, one of three pioneering female primatologists to study great apes, who did her field work in Borneo, Danica went on to follow the career path by moving to the University of Calgary to complete a BSc in Primatology.

During her undergraduate studies, Danica was continued to be introduced to and inspired by many strong female primatologists whose passion confirmed Danica’s decision to pursue primatology: Dr. Mary Pavelka, Dr. Christina Campbell, Dr. Julie Teichroeb and Dr. Eva Wickberg. These woman all showed Danica the leading roles women could have in science and conservation, to appreciate the opportunities given, while enjoying life to the most. Through them and the experiences with them, including field work in Panama with mantled howler monkeys, and in Ghana with urisine colobus monkeys, Danica was introduced to the MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, which would finally get her to Borneo.

Danica’s research focuses largely on the habitat use of primates, and therefore the findings will be used by the Sabah Wildlife Department for the development of State Action Plans in the amount and type of forest necessary for the species. The information from movement data can inform on identifying suitable areas for proboscis monkeys, as well as identifying important areas that require projection or restoration. Danica’s experience with collaring has also allowed her to advise on projects elsewhere in Sabah and other countries, to understand the movements and habitat requirements of wild populations, their response to deforestation, their role in disease transmission, as well as for post-release monitoring of rescued animals. Along with the work she is doing on proboscis monkeys, Danica is also heavily involved in supervising students (undergraduate and masters), thereby being able to make a larger impact in the conservation of wildlife in Borneo than just a focus on one species. These include slow lorises and tarsiers, long-tail macaques, orangutans, as well as in botany.

Education: MSc in Primate Conservation from Oxford Brookes University (2009)


Abram, N.K., Abram, K.L., Knight, A.T., Ancrenaz, M., Tzanopoulos, J., Koh, L.P., Ross, J., Hearn, A.J., Lackman, I., Peter, L., Oram, F., Goossens, B., Kler, H., Wong, S.T., Stark, D.J., Ambu, L.N., Othman, N., Salgado-Lynn, M., Gardner, P., Macdonald, D.W., MacMillan, D.C. (in prep). The economics of applying REDD+ to saving threatened biodiversity in the oil palm dominated floodplains of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. To be submitted to Diversity and Distributions.

Asner, G. P.; Brodrick, P. G.; Philipson, C.; Vaughn, N. R.; Martin, R. E.; Knapp, D. E.; Heckler, J.; Evans, L. J.; Jucker, T.; Goossens, B.; Stark, D. J.; Reynolds, G.; Ong, R.; Renneboog, N.; Kugan, F.; Coomes, D. A. 2018. Mapped aboveground carbon stocks to advance forest conservation and recovery in Malaysian Borneo. Biol. Conserv., 217, 289–310.

Frias, L.; Stark, D. J.; Salgado Lynn, M.; Nathan, S. K. S. S.; Goossens, B.; Okamoto, M.; MacIntosh, A. J. J. 2018. Lurking in the dark: Cryptic Strongyloides in a Bornean slow loris. Int. J. Parasitol. Parasites Wildl., 7, 141–146. 

Koda, H.; Murai, T.; Tuuga, A.; Goossens, B.; Nathan, S. K. S. S.; Stark, D. J.; Ramirez, D. A. R.; Sh, J. C. M.; Osman, I.; Sipangkui, R.; Seino, S.; Matsuda, I. 2018. Nasalization by Nasalis larvatus: Larger noses audiovisually advertise conspecifics in proboscis monkeys. Sci. Adv., 4, eaaq0250. 

Svensson, M.S;, Nekaris, K.A.I.; Bearder, S.K.; Bettridge, C.M.; Butynski, T.M.; Cheyne, S.M.; Das, N.; de Jong, Y.A.; Luhrs, A.M.; Luncz, L.V.; Maddock, S.T.; Perkin, A.; Pimley, E.; Poindexter, S. A.; Reinhardt, K. D.; Spaan, D.; Stark, D. J.; Starr, C. R.; Nijman, V. 2018. Sleep patterns, daytime predation, and the evolution of diurnal sleep site selection in lorisiforms. Am. J. Phys Anthropol., 166, 563-577.

Stark, D. J. 2018. Habitat use and movement of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) in a degraded and human-modified forest landscape. PhD Thesis; School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.

Stark, D.J., Vaughan, I.P., Evans, L.J., Kler, H., Goossens, B., 2017. Combining drones and satellite tracking as an effective tool for informing policy change in riparian habitats: a proboscis monkey case study. Remote Sens. Ecol. Conserv. doi:10.1002/rse2.51

Constantini, D., Sebastiano, M., Goossens, B., Stark, D.J., 2017. Jumping in the Night : An Investigation of the Leaping Activity of the Western Tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus borneanus) Using Accelerometers. Folia Primatol. 88, 46–56.

Stark, D.J., Vaughan, I.P., Ramirez Saldivar, D.A., Nathan, S. K. S. S., Goossens, B, 2017. Evaluating methods for estimating home ranges using GPS collars: a comparison using proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). PLoS ONE 12(3): e0174891.

Thiry, V., Stark, D.J., Goossens, B., Slachmuylder, J-L., Drubbel, R.V., Vercauteren, M., 2016. Use and selection of sleeping sites by proboscis monkeys, Nasalis larvatus, along the Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Malaysia. Folia Primatol, 87: 180-196.

van Kolfschoten, L., Selveno, S., Stark, D.J., Schilthuizen, M., 2016. Nest density of the black-and-red broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhyncos) along the Kinabatangan River, in Relation to Riverine Habitat Reduction. Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation, 13: 157 – 168.

Ancrenaz, M., Sollmann, R., Meijaard, E., Hearn, A.J., Ross, J., Samejima, H., Loken, B., Cheyne, S.M., Stark, D.J., Gardner, P.C., Goossens, B., Mohamed, A., Bohm, T., Matsuda, I., Nakabayasi, M., Lee, S.K., Bernard, H., Brodie, J., Wich, S. et al., 2014. Coming down from the trees: Is terrestrial activity in Bornean orangutans natural or disturbance driven? Scientific Reports, 4, p.4024.

Cheyne, S.M., Stark, D. J., Limin, S.H., Macdonald, D.W. 2013. First estimates of population ecology and threats to Sunda clouded leopards Neofelis diardi in a peat-swamp forest, Indonesia. Endangered Species Research, 22, p.1-9.

Stark, D.J., Nijman, V., Lhota, S., Robins, J.G., Goossens, B. 2012. Modeling population viability of local proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus populations: conservation implications. Endangered Species Research, 15, p.31-43.

Stark D.J. 2010. Local extinctions: A population viability analysis of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). Canopy. 10(2): 19-20.

Stark, D.J. 2009. Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) population viability analysis: Reassessment and management for wild populations in Borneo. Oxford Brookes University, MSc Thesis.