Orangutans on the Brink: The Fight for Survival Amid Rainforest Destruction

Par : Allan

The Plight of Orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra

The destruction of rainforests places wild orangutans at risk of extinction. One of the world’s most adored species, these remarkable creatures have been losing their habitats rapidly as a result of deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Conservationist group International Animal Rescue’s CEO, Alan Knight, warns that “if the current destruction of the rainforest continues, then I have absolutely no hope that any orangutans will remain in the wild.”

The Chilling Deforestation Statistics

A stunning 1.3 million hectares of forest are lost every year, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports. With this rate of destruction, only peat and montane forests will survive in the coming years. Overviewing the situation in Borneo, the WWF states that if current deforestation rates continue,

  • 21.5 million hectares will be lost between 2007 and 2020
  • Remaining forest cover will decrease to 24%
  • Borneo may lose almost all lowland rainforests outside protected areas by 2020.

The Impact on the Orangutan Population

Human activities caused the death of approximately 100,000 critically endangered orangutans on Borneo alone between 1999 and 2015. Approximately half of the orangutan population was affected by logging deforestation or industrialized plantations according to researchers, while a much larger number were lost within selectively logged and primary forests with less precipitous decline rates but which house more orangutans.

Orangutan Habitats: The Struggle to Protect the Rainforest

Policymakers have taken action to protect forests within Borneo and Sumatra. However, many farmers are known to burn considerable areas of these supposedly protected regions under the pretense that such incidents were accidental, says Knight. Their purpose is not a noble one; by setting fires to these forests, they can eventually cultivate the land for their own use, such as growing palm oil.

Last year alone, an area of forest equivalent to the size of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, and half of Devon in the United Kingdom was burned in just three months.

Rescue Efforts for Captive Orangutans

Knight’s organization operates a rescue center in Borneo which works tirelessly to rehabilitate captive animals. He worries about whether there will be enough forest remaining to release these rescued orangutans back into the wild, stating, “What keeps me awake at night is whether there is going to be a forest for us to release captive orangutans into.”

The struggle is real, but the battle seems to be lost if we fail to recognize the critical importance of preserving vast sections of rainforests. The consequences of deforestation extend beyond environmental devastation to destroying the very essence of what it means to coexist with nature, ultimately robbing future generations of experiencing the breathtaking beauty of the world at its purest.

Leave a Comment