Orangutans Are Now One Step Closer To Extinction

Both species of orangutan are critically endangered.

Orangutans Are Now One Step Closer To ExtinctionConservationists have been warning of this moment for years. Orangutans ― one of the planet’s most intelligent animals ― are officially headed for extinction.

The Bornean orangutan is now critically endangered, according to a species assessment published this week by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The animal’s Sumatran cousin, the other species of orangutan, was already listed as critically endangered ― meaning all orangutans are now at “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild,” IUCN said.

“This is full acknowledgement of what has been clear for a long time: Orangutan conservation is failing,” Andrew Marshall, one of the assessment’s authors, told Mongabay this week.

In 2015, conservationist Richard Zimmerman recalled the story of Kesi, an infant Bornean orangutan. Rescue workers discovered Kesi in 2006 on the island of Borneo.

Orangutans Are Now One Step Closer To Extinction 3
BORNEO ORANGUTAN SURVIVAL FOUNDATION/ORANGUTAN OUTREACH | Kesi, a Bornean orangutan, was found missing a hand in 2006. Rescuers believe her mother was killed and their forest home destroyed.

She was just 3 months old then then, tiny and fragile ― and she was missing a hand.

Zimmerman believes the infant and her mom encountered humans after their forest home was destroyed to make way for a palm oil plantation. After killing the mother ape, they hacked off the baby’s hand.

“Infant orangutans, who ride on their mothers’ stomachs by holding onto their long hair, have incredibly strong grips. They do not let go,” Zimmerman, whose organization Orangutan Outreach helps facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of wild orangutans. “The baby’s hand was chopped off — most likely to pry her off her mother.”

Following her rescue, Kesi was successfully rehabilitated. She’s grown into a “strong, dominant female who doesn’t let a missing hand stop her from doing anything,” said Zimmerman. She will one day be released back into the wild.

But Kesi is one of the lucky ones.

According to the IUCN, Bornean orangutan populations have decreased by nearly two-thirds since the early 1970s, and will further decline to an estimated 47,000 animals by 2025. This would represent a decline of more than 86 percent in 75 years, the group said.

Sumatran orangutan populations have also decreased dramatically in the past century. There are fewer than 7,300 individuals from the species left in the wild today.

Orangutans Are Now One Step Closer To Extinction 1
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/GETTY IMAGES | Sumatran orangutans, photographed in February 2016.

Orangutans live exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Experts have pinpointed the destruction of Sumatran and Bornean rainforests in order to produce palm oil as one of the greatest threats to orangutan survival. The widely used commodity is the top cause of forest loss in Indonesia, accounting for 75 percent of deforestation in some areas of Borneo, according to a 2013 Greenpeace study.

The forests of Indonesia and Malaysia are projected to disappear completely in 20 years if deforestation is not curbed.

“Orangutans are specialists at living in the forest,” said Robert Shumaker, the Indianapolis Zoo’s vice president of conservation and life sciences. “Without a healthy forest, they simply can’t survive. Generally, orangutans that are displaced and driven out of their home range during the deforestation process have no future and will likely die as a result of their habitat being destroyed.”

See also: France To Implement Palm Oil Tax To Protect The Rainforests And Orangutans In Indonesia

Hunting, said the IUCN, is another major threat to orangutan populations.

An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Bornean orangutans have been killed every year for the past four decades, primarily for their meat, the Associated Press reported.

“If hunting does not stop, all populations that are hunted will decline, irrespective of what happens to their habitat. These findings confirm that habitat protection alone will not ensure the survival of orangutans,” IUCN said.

Orangutans are also slow breeders, making these threats even more grievous. “Females only breed once every 7-8 years, so losing an individual, let alone several, can be catastrophic for a population,” Zimmerman said.

Orangutans Are Now One Step Closer To Extinction 2
ASSOCIATED PRESS | Activists with the Orangutan Information Center (OIC) rescue a tranquilized orangutan from a palm oil plantation in Padang Tualang, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on July 21, 2013. The adult female orangutan was reportedly trapped for several weeks in the palm oil plantation and was isolated from the rest of the surviving orangutan population in the region.

Though the orangutans’ future appears hopelessly grim, extinction is not necessarily a “foregone conclusion,” stressed Marshall of the IUCN.

Orangutans are adaptable, he noted. And efforts made by governments and corporations to curb deforestation could have a major impact on the health of forests in Sumatra and Borneo.

“Although I think things will likely get worse before they get better,” Marshall told Mongabay, “it’s not too late for orangutans.”

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

14 African Countries Who Still Pay Colonial Tax To France

80% of the 10 countries with the lowest literacy rates in the WORLD among adults are in francophone Africa. Namely: Benin (40%), Burkina Faso (26%),...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...


What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Russia Issues International ARREST WARRANT For ROTHSCHILD & SOROS!

Vladimir Putin, now in full control of Russia as Prime Minister (then) NOW President , wishes to build a strong Christian nation. In a...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

14 African Countries Who Still Pay Colonial Tax To France

80% of the 10 countries with the lowest literacy rates in the WORLD among adults are in francophone Africa. Namely: Benin (40%), Burkina Faso (26%),...

Victory! Australia Bans Cosmetic Animal Testing Nationwide

There’s something powerful happening down under. First New Zealand banned cosmetic animal testing in 2015, and now Australia is passing a similar ban which...

USDA Approves GMO Grass: No Tests Needed

Kiss Your Grass-Fed Beef Goodbye! GMO Grass About to Be Approved While many of us rely on grass-fed beef as a source of healthful, properly...

Gold Manipulation: It’s Much Bigger Than You Think

The gold price manipulation scheme will go down as the biggest financial market scandal in US history for numerous reasons. They include the destruction...

Biodegradable Cigarette Filters Flower Into Trees When Thrown Away

To offset some of the environmental damage caused by smoking, this company has embedded seeds into its cigarette filters. How does a group of committed...

The bike [velomobile] that could let you pedal as fast as a CAR

Human-powered velomobiles are meant to be a quirky alternative to cars. But because these pedal-powered machines can't go as fast, these vehicles have up until...

Robert De Niro, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offer $100K to Anyone Who Can Provide PROOF Vaccines Are SAFE

Robert De Niro joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 15 to hold a press conference about vaccine safety. The pair are...

Former CIA Spy Has A Surprising Message For Trump

“Dear Mr. Trump, I am among the tens of millions who voted for you, and also among the twenty thousand or so that spent fifteen...