Borneo has lost half its orangutans due to hunting and habitat loss

‘Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape’

Borneo has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the space of just 16 years as a result of hunting and habitat loss, according to a new report.

Logging, mining, oil palm, paper, and linked deforestation have been blamed for the the diminishing numbers.

However, researchers also found many orangutans have vanished from more intact, forested regions, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflict between orangutans and humans continues to be a chief threat to the species.

The report published in the Current Biology Journal found more than 100,000 of the island’s orangutans vanished in the period of 1999 to 2015.

“Orangutans are disappearing at an alarming rate,” said Emma Keller, agricultural commodities manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape.

“Immediate action is needed to reform industries that have pushed orangutans to the brink of extinction. UK consumers can make a difference through only supporting brands and retailers that buy sustainable palm oil.”

Around half of the orangutans living on the island of Borneo, the largest island in Asia, were lost as a result of changes in land cover.

Researchers said the Bornean orangutan’s survival is dependent on forging successful alliances with logging companies and other industries and raising public awareness of the issue.

Looking at predicted future losses of forest cover and the presumption orangutans are ultimately not able to stay alive outside forest areas, the researchers predict that over 45,000 more orangutans will be lost in the space of the next 35 years.

The report comes after an orangutan was shot at least 130 times with an air gun before it died earlier in the month, according to police in Borneo.

4 thoughts on “Borneo has lost half its orangutans due to hunting and habitat loss

  1. Please, people, do try to give up products with palm oil in the ingredients list, including Nutella and Girl Scout cookies! I cannot justify the brutal killing of these magnificent animals so that people can eat Nutella.

    We’ve got to be more disciplined – a normally on the side of the environment group, I’m not sure if it was Greenpeace or not, posed the question ‘Does this mean we have to give up Nutella? No.”

    Well how else can we stop the killing and slash and burn of their habitat? Yes, give up Nutella, or demand that they use a different fat, not cheap palm oil, as an ingredient. Is it that big a sacrifice?

  2. I use Earth Balance rarely because it has palm fruit as an ingredient. They advertised that it’s from sustainable sources. Guess that’s not true now. To think of these creatures being killed for their habitat is horrific.

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