Orangutans vs. Logging: Habitats Could be Gone in 10 Years
Already highly endangered, orangutans could find their habitats eradicated in as little as ten years, according to a report released on Monday by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP). Forests on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra (the only habitats for the two species of orangutan) are increasingly threatened by illegal logging, as well as clear cutting to make way to grow palm oil for biofuels.
In addition, it is believed that illegal trade in orangutans themselves has resulted in hundreds of the apes being removed from their home country.
Indonesia's forests are disappearing quickly. UNEP first estimated that illegal logging would destroy the orangutans' habitat by 2032, then last February moved their estimate up ten years to 2022. "We are bringing the date forward again," said one of the UNEP report's authors. "The rate of decline of the forests is the fastest we have seen anywhere in the world."
UNEP said that this problem is too big for Indonesia to handle on its own, and called for the world to help fund forest wardens and crack down to illegal trade.
An arboreal species, orangutans spend most of their lives in the trees. Estimates place the total population of orangutans at 45-69,000 in Borneo and 7,300 in Sumatra.
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