Group: Orangutan orphans a sign of habitat destruction
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The discovery last week of two orphaned baby orangutans on Borneo is further evidence that deforestation and illegal hunting are threatening survival of the great apes, an Indonesian conservation group said Monday.
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation spokesman Nico Hermanu said the two orangutans were rescued in separate locations by a joint team from the foundation and the government’s nature conservation agency.
A male 6-8 months old was rescued after being reported alone on a riverbank near a village in Central Kalimantan on Friday and a 3-year-old female, weighing only 5 kilograms (11 pounds), was rescued the day before from a village in the province where she had been kept by a family for most of her life.
The foundation said in both cases it’s likely that the mothers were deliberately killed.
As more forests are cleared, “hunters are able to reach previously isolated areas and orangutans,” it said in a statement. “We have to take a stand to protect remaining habitat and the critically endangered wildlife which lives within. Our forests and our orangutan population are shrinking.”
The foundation has found 19 baby orangutans so far this year.
The reddish-brown great apes, known for their gentle temperament and high intelligence, are only found in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and on Borneo, which is split among Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared both the Bornean and Sumatran species of orangutan to be critically endangered.