Friday, October 17, 2014

The Death of the Orangutan

There are many critically endangered species in the world, yet none are more intelligent and gentle than the famous orangutan.

OK, I admit: I have ventured into the jungles of Sumatra myself to see these amazing apes. So why am I moaning that other people are doing the same, you may be asking yourself?

Well, for me, it’s all about responsible tourism. The guides you use in places such as Bukit Lawang in Sumatra, and also over in Borneo (Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Sabah, Malaysia) form a big part of how we can be responsible when thinking about getting close to these amazing and endangered orangutans.

I don’t think it is a problem to enjoy marvelling at the orangutans before they become extinct in the wild, and there are many great ‘voluntourism’ opportunities when you are in the area if that is your kind of thing.

However, it is important not to get too close and touchy-feely with the red apes as they can catch deadly diseases from Humans. Additionally, do not feed the orangutans, as this will discourage them from hunting (although you can sometimes see them being fed by the rehab centre staff on feeding platforms in the jungle).

The Orangutan Conservancy estimates that there are only 40,000 orangutans left in the wild as of 2014, and this number has been reduced drastically from 60,000 as recent as 2004.

In the past decade alone then, we have seen the number of wild orangutans reduce by one third.

Most of this is down to habitat loss and the threat of human danger in the form of illegal poaching, and it is believed that within 25 years orangutans could be completely extinct – that’s as early as 2039!

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Death of the Orangutan