The Bornean Orangutan Is Now Critically Endangered

The Bornean Orangutan Is Now Critically Endangered

Posted by Connor Whelan on 12th Jul 2016

The Bornean orangutan has now been declared critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This announcement means that both species of orangutan are now at an extremely high risk of becoming extinct in the wild.

The report from the IUCN states that hunting, habitat destruction, habitat degradation, and fragmentation of the orangutan population are the key reasons behind orangutan numbers falling so dramatically.

Illegal Logging

In 2010 it was calculated that only 59.6% of the Bornean rainforests were suitable for orangutans, and while this may seem like a high number, much of the land which is protected by the Indonesian, Malaysian, and Brunei governments still suffers from illegal logging and uncontrolled burning.

Another issue that is affecting the orangutans is their slow birth rate. As female orangutans only reproduce once every 6 to 8 years, the Great Apes never have a chance to replenish their numbers before their habitat is further destroyed.

The IUCN report said: “the combined impacts of habitat loss, habitat degradation, and illegal hunting equates to an 86% population reduction between 1973 and 2025.” This meets their criteria for “critically endangered.”

Whilst this news is extremely worrying and distressing, it is not all bad as Andrew Marshall from IUCN said: "Although I think things will likely get worse before they get better, it’s not too late for orangutans.”

Barring government legislation protecting the forests in which they live, the best way to help the orangutan population is through conservation programs. These projects take in, look after, and often rehabilitate orangutans in an attempt to release them back into the wild to increase their numbers.

Orangutan conservation projects also give you the chance to help provide a future for these incredible animals, so with a collective effort we can help save the orangutans!


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