Orangutans are confronting elimination – Some of the experts are saying it could occur inside 10 years and others saying within decades – with their natural environment lost as a major cause.
The animals are arranged as ‘critically endangered’ by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). There are three kinds of orangutans, with the latest information putting populace figures at around 104,700 (Bornean), 13,846 (Sumatran), 800 (Tapanuli).
As per Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), the world’s wild orangutan populaces once ‘likely included upward of a huge number of individuals’.
It assesses that over the most recent 50 years alone, orangutan populaces have likely diminished by 50 percent in nature.
“Although past climate shifts may have been responsible for some of this decline, orangutans are primarily threatened by human activities and development that cause the loss and degradation of their forest habitats,” says OFI.
“The habitats of Asia’s only great apes are fast disappearing under the chainsaw to make way for oil palm plantations and other agricultural plantations,” says WWF.
The size of the deforestation is enormous, with reports saying more than 25 percent of Indonesia’s woods – around 76 million sections of land – have vanished in 25 years.
“Illegal logging inside protected areas and unsustainable logging in concessions where orangutans live remain a major threat to their survival,” adds WWF. “Today, more than 50 percent of orangutans are found outside protected areas in forests under management by timber, palm oil and mining companies.”
Also, the poor animals are confronting further vile dangers from people, with the WWF referring to hunters and the unlawful wildlife trade.
“Orangutans are an easy target for hunters because they’re large and slow targets,” says the organization. “They are killed for food or in retaliation when they move into agricultural areas and destroy crops. This usually occurs when orangutans can’t find the food they need in the forest.
“Females are hunted most often. When caught with offspring, the young are often kept as pets. The pet trade is a major problem. It is thought that for each orangutan reaching Taiwan, as many as three to five additional animals die in the process.
“Recent enforcement of the law in Taiwan has reduced the importation of orangutans, but the trade remains a threat in Indonesia where there is still demand for orangutans as pets. There is also trade in orangutan skulls in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).”
The enormous test confronting orangutans was exposed in 2016 when the Bornean orangutan joined the Sumatran orangutan on the ‘critically jeopardized list.
Talking at the time, Alan Knight, Chief Executive of the philanthropy, International Animal Rescue (IAR), said the animals were on the ‘slope of termination’.
He included: “If the current destruction of the rainforest continues, then I have absolutely no hope that any orangutans will remain in the wild.
“I would probably say [they have] 10 years if we cannot stop the destruction. I think the Sumatran will go before then if they don’t sort out the situation they are in. It’s a real struggle and we are losing the battle.”