Hunting and consumer demand for palm oil are killing off the orangutans in Borneo, say researchers of a new study. According to the lead researcher, the Bornean Orangutans’ survival is ‘going to depend on protecting the habitat that’s still there, and raising awareness about how even occasional killing of the animals could lead to their extinction’.
Borneo Has Lost 100,000 Orangutans Since 1999
The world’s largest species of orangutans is rapidly disappearing.
Borneo has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the last 16 years – that’s more than the number of the critically endangered species remaining.
This species — the Bornean orangutan — is only found on the island, which is divided between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It has seen dramatic deforestation, as lush jungle is converted into palm oil and paper pulp plantations.
But deforestation doesn’t full explain the great apes’ rapid decline. Maria Voigt, a scientist at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, says hunting is “at least a major driver if not the major driver.” The team’s research, carried out through the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, was published today in Current Biology.
Journal Reference: Voight, M., et al. Global Demand for Natural Resources Eliminated More Than 100,000 Bornean Orangutans, Current Biology, January, 2018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.053