Did you know that the Indonesian word “orangutan” means “man of the forest”? They are the largest tree-dwelling animal and spend most of their time traveling slowly through the trees. Their kingdom is in the trees of Borneo – one of the world’s most important centres of biodiversity.

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“Over 80% of the Bornean orangutan population has been lost in only the last three generations.” 

Dr. Jamartin Sihite, CEO Bornean Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation

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Did you know that the Indonesian word “orangutan” means “man of the forest”? They are the largest tree-dwelling animal and spend most of their time traveling slowly through the trees. Their kingdom is in the trees of Borneo – one of the world’s most important centres of biodiversity.

“Over 80% of the Bornean orangutan population has been lost in only the last three generations.” 

Dr. Jamartin Sihite, CEO Bornean Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation

Forests continue to be cut down to make way for human interests. The island of Borneo has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates with a current loss of 1.3 million hectares per year! In one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century, fires (often deliberately lit) in 2015 lasted for more than four months and killed an estimated 8,000 orangutans.

Forests continue to be cut down to make way for human interests. The island of Borneo has one of the world’s highest deforestation rates with a current loss of 1.3 million hectares per year! In one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century, fires (often deliberately lit) in 2015 lasted for more than four months and killed an estimated 8,000 orangutans.

Loss of orangutan habitat over the last 20 years

The orangutan population in forests managed by mining, timber, and oil palm companies

Orangutan habitat that will be converted to agriculture or mining by 2025

“Each one of us can take action to secure the future of this iconic species.” 

Dr. Sri Suci Utami-Atmoko, Faculty of Biology, National University, Jakarta

Even more tragically, as areas of natural habitat are cleared, baby orangutans are captured for the illegal pet trade. The mother is killed when infants are targeted and this represents a real threat to wild populations. In some areas orangutans are still hunted for food. Bornean orangutans were declared “Critically Endangered” by IUCN last year due to habitat loss and hunting. It is estimated that a staggering 3,000 orangutans are killed each year.

 

Their future hangs in the balance – but there is still hope.

“Each one of us can take action to secure the future of this iconic species.” 

Dr. Sri Suci Utami-Atmoko, Faculty of Biology, National University, Jakarta

Even more tragically, as areas of natural habitat are cleared, baby orangutans are captured for the illegal pet trade. The mother is killed when infants are targeted and this represents a real threat to wild populations. In some areas orangutans are still hunted for food. Bornean orangutans were declared “Critically Endangered” by IUCN last year due to habitat loss and hunting. It is estimated that a staggering 3,000 orangutans are killed each year.

 

Their future hangs in the balance – but there is still hope.