Menu Close

Andrea L. DiGiorgio

Lecturer and Post Doctoral Researcher in Biological Anthropology, Princeton University

My research occurs in the spaces where humans and non-human primates interact. This includes applying wild field research to captive animals, investigating the impacts of anthropogenic changes to wild primates, and examining how social media can be inadvertently harmful to wildlife.

I earned my PhD from Boston University in 2019, where I studied Biological Anthropology. My dissertation research, conducted at the Gunung Palung National Park on Borneo, applied newer foraging theories to wild orangutan dietary data to better understand what types of food resources we should focus on for conservation habitats, and to feed captive zoo and rescue orangutans. Since that time, I have worked with several orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centers, including the Orangutan Veterinary Advisory Group, and also with the Philadelphia Zoo.

I am currently a lecturer at Princeton University in the Princeton Writing Program and the Department of Anthropology. I also work as a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Erin Vogel examining the impacts of low food availability and near-annual fires on the health and diet of wild Bornean orangutans in a fire-prone peat swamp habitat.

In addition, I am starting a nutritional ecology program at the Tsaobis Baboon Project in Tsaobis, Namibia. This project will investigate the impacts of climate change on diet, and the costs of motherhood on these highly social monkeys.

My other work examines how well-meaning social media posts by researchers, rescue and rehab organizations, and veterinarians can be harmful to wildlife conservation. In this project, we have found that humans touching or interaction with primates, or featuring babies in YouTube videos leads to negative conservation comments such as endorsing orangutans as pets or blaming the local people for their endangerment. Our most recent publication finds that when we take pictures of ourselves handling or near our study subjects, despite adding the recommended captions explaining that we are trained researchers with proper permits, the public still is interested in owning wild primates as pets, or seeking out (often illegal) opportunities to interact with these animals themselves.


  • –present
    Lecturer, Post Doctoral Researcher, Princeton University


  • 2019 
    Boston University, PhD/Biological Anthropology