OC board member and primate conservation leader Norm Rosen passes away

Hello friends of the Orangutan Conservancy,

It is with great sadness that I share the loss of our past president, and great friend, Norm Rosen.  He was an amazing person with multiple careers. He was a pilot during the Korean War, was in publishing (which was a career he retired from), then went on to pursue his passion for primates. He went back to school at the age of 65 and earned his Anthropology Master’s degree at California State University, Fullerton, where he later became a valued adjunct member of that department.  He founded the Southern California Primate Research Forum twenty years ago, which brought current primate researchers to southern California to share their work and stories with students, faculty, colleagues and many more. He was instrumental in forming the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), was president for many years as well as splitting his duties as president of the Orangutan Conservancy until just two years ago.

 He was also president of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society and was a loved fixture in that community. He played volleyball (for which he had a great passion) until just a few years ago and was often seen riding his bike along the Strand in Hermosa. He was a member of the ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Who Eat Out). Everyone loved him – he never had a negative thing to say about anyone and was just a sweet, incredibly prolific person.  He was extremely passionate and knowledgeable about primate conservation, especially for orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos (his favorite).

He will be so missed by us all.  He was a mentor, support system, sounding board, educator, champion and friend.

In light of Norm’s passing and as an ode to his unrivaled passion for great ape conservation, the Orangutan Conservancy will be opening up the:

‘Norm Rosen Great Ape Fund’

The funds generated will be given to organizations that care for and conserve his most admired species; orangutans, chimpanzees, and of course his favorite — bonobos .


Dr. Raffaella Commitante  
Dr. Rob Shumaker
Juanita Kempe
Betty Dunbar
Dr. Anne Russon
Barbara Zeek Shaw

P.S. A short biography of Norm’s career is included below…

Norm Rosen

As the Great Ape Coordinator for the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), Norm was well recognized for his results-oriented conservation work. He organized a Bonobo Conservation Workshop, held in Inuyama, Japan in November 1999. Norm organized the Uganda Chimpanzee Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) workshop (1997), Mountain Gorilla PHVA (1998), International Orangutan Conference (1994) and a workshop for great ape sanctuaries which led to the formation of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, of which he is Founder and Board Member.  Norm founded the Southern California Primate Research Forum and taught Primate Behavior and Great Ape Conservation at California State University, Fullerton. Prior to his conservation career, Norm worked for 25 years as an executive in the publishing field. Norm is also Chairman of the Orangutan Conservancy.  Norm’s degrees include: USC, AB, MLA Anthropology Los  Angeles Valley College-AA California State University, Fullerton  Anthropology-MLA UCL, Doctorate program in Primatology.  He is President of the Southern California Primate Research Forum, a Board member of Lola Bonobo, and Adjunct faculty at Calif State University. Fullerton-19 years, and President of Hermosa Historical Society.

Share this post:

2 Responses

  1. Norm Rosen was a terrific person. His commitment to primate conservation had a great impact. Norm always kept his eye on the big picture. His intellectual and strategic abilities were interleaved with compassion and care. Norm’s sense of humor and wide range of interests made him a delight to be around. He has left a strong legacy, but he will be much missed by both non-human and human primates. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

  2. Norm was my first mentor in the late 1980s – he was a warm and nurturing human who made me want to be a better person. I will never forget you Norm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related post

Last year, The Orangutan Conservancy provided funding for Sintang Orangutan Center (SOC) to purchase an X-ray machine for their clinic and rehabilitation center in West Kalimantan.
Last year, The Orangutan Conservancy provided funding for Sintang Orangutan Center (SOC) to purchase an X-ray machine for their clinic and rehabilitation center in West Kalimantan.

Subscribe to our newsletter!