Orangutans are a species in grave danger. They have lost almost 80% of their natural habitat, going from a species that used to traverse thousands of miles in the rainforests of Southeast Asia to now being restricted to the islands of only Borneo and Sumatra. They are being abused by, well, US who are encroaching on not only their living space but also them! There are only an approximate 55,000 orangutans remaining in Borneo and 6,600 in Sumatra with experts estimating full extinction in as few as 25 years.
The four major threats to orangutans are:
The main reason for these threats is that humans are competing with the orangutans for space (the space that orangutans need to live and humans want to grow things) and the orangutans are losing.
The main threat to the orangutan population is the growth of human population and industry on the two islands that orangutans inhabit, Borneo and Sumatra. Farming, and in particular palm oil plantations, represent perhaps the greatest threat, since establishing these plantations requires the destruction of hundreds of acres of the orangutans’ natural habitat, eliminating their food supply and their homes. Moreover, in order to clear land for farms, people on these islands still practice slash and burn agriculture, which has recently resulted in forest fires, killing many orangutans and destroying even more of their habitat.
Other industry-related practices that have harmed the orangutan population are logging (both legal and illegal) and gold mining (illegal). As their habitat is destroyed by such practices, orangutans are forced into smaller and smaller habitable areas, or even into human-populated areas, making them more vulnerable to poaching and trapping for trade as pets (both of which are illegal), thus further reducing their population.
Like everyone else mentioned, humans are the biggest threat to the orangutan population. We are destroying their natural habitat, and they don’t have many places left to go. They need a specific type of environment to live in, and deforestation and human development are taking that habitat away. This is the same for many other animal and plant species around the world.
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