Orangutans are a species of great ape that has red fur and while they used to be found throughout southeast Asia, they’re now only found in Sumatra and Borneo – in fragmented populations.1&2 We actually share over 96% of our genes with them!1
There are three different species of Orangutan: Sumatran, Bornean, and Tapanuli. There are only about 7,500 individuals left of Sumatran Orangutans, 104,000 Bornean Orangutans, and 800 Tapanuli Orangutans – making them critically endangered species.1&3
These animals are slow to reproduce, which means that it can be difficult for their population to rebound when it experiences heavy losses. Orangutans usually only have one offspring every 3-5 years, so they’re declining more quickly than they can recover.1
They face devastating destruction to their habitats due to:2&3
- Palm oil plantations
- Timber estates
- Illegal logging
- Road construction
- Forest fires
It’s thought that they’ve lost 80% of their habitat in the last 30 years.2 Their population has also decreased by 50% over the last 10 years.3 They also have faced issues with humans hunting them and taking orphaned offspring to sell as illegal pets.2
So what has been done to help these great apes? Some solutions include:1,2&3
- Patrols to help stop poaching
- Planting fire-resistant trees to replenish forests that have been destroyed by forest fires
- Caring for previously captive orangutans and helping them be released back into the wild
- Promoting ecotourism and sustainable forestry
- Protecting habitat in order to connect separated populations
- Ending the illegal pet trade
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