Wednesday, December 23, 2009

20 years left to save orang utan from extinction

KOTA KINABALU: The world has less than 20 years left to save the orang utan, according to conservationists who predict the charismatic red ape will become extinct if no action is taken to protect its jungle habitat.

There are thought to be some 60,000 orang utan still living in the wild in Malaysia and Indonesia but deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations have taken a heavy toll.

“The orang utan habitat is fragmented and isolated by plantations, they can’t migrate, they can’t find mates to produce babies,” said Tsubouchi Toshinori from the Borneo Conservation Trust.

Environmentalists are calling for the creation of wildlife “corridors” in Malaysia to link the scraps of jungle where the orang utan has become trapped by decades of encroachment by loggers and oil palm companies.

Tsubouchi said that although studies had predicted that the orang utan would disappear within 50 years if their habitat continues to vanish, action needed to be taken within the next two decades to stall that process.

Continue reading at: 20 years left to save orang utan from extinction

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