Orangutans are said to be among the most intelligent animals in the world. This very interesting species lives only in Southeast Asia, on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Actually, the two main species of orangutans, are the Sumatran and the Bornean orangutan. Both of these species are on the World Conservation Union, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which includes some of the most endangered species in the world.
The IUCN has listed the Sumatran orangutan as a “Critically Endangered” species. In fact, the latest statistics stated that there are only about 6,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the world. How did the Sumatran Orangutan become an endangered species? Well, the Sumatran province of Indonesia used to be covered in tropical forests, but the orangutan habitat was gradually destroyed. So, destruction of this endangered animal’s habitat is the main reason to its enhanced risk of extinction. Here are two factors believed to be leading to the extinction of the Sumatran Orangutan.
Photo Source: globaltoptens.com
In the past 25 years, almost half of Sumatra’s forests disappeared. The loss of habitat through deforestation is believed to be a main cause that can lead to the possible extinction of this species. Loss of rainforest for palm oil plantations, mines or forest conversion continue to fragment the remaining Sumatran Orangutan populations. Many NGOs have alleged throughout the years that governments and authorities failed to protect lands and biodiversity in front of huge corporations seeking to develop their operations.
The loss of habitat for oil palm plantations, deforestation and burning of forests is not the only factor said to be leading to the extinction of this species. Poaching is another such factor, as orangutans have also been victims to hunting. Illegal trade of orangutans, despite the legislation that prohibits the owing, killing or capture of the species, is also a reality. Actually, many people seem to be interested in keeping baby orangutans as pets, in breach of legal standards.
Photo Source: twitter.com
Continued conservation efforts and stronger legislation might be able to save this species. Do you know any other critically endangered species?