Conservation: Bornean Orangutan now Critically Endangered

Unfortunately, this post on conservation news is not a success story like the ones in the past. 

I was saddened last week to learn that IUCN has increased the conservation status of the Bornean Orang-utan (pongo pygmaeus) from Endangered to Critically Endangered, the highest risk category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and only one step away from extinction.

Bornean Orangutan
photo by Ryan Summers, license, no changes made

Erik Meijaard, one of the assessors for IUCN said: As orangutans are hunted and pushed out of their habitats, losses to this slow-breeding species are enormous and will be extremely difficult to reverse.”, thus explaining the major reasons for the new assessment of this enigmatic species.

The Bornean Orangutan has suffered a population decline of more than 60% from 1950 to 2010, which is a notable era for mass deforestation in Borneo, mainly due to the industrialisation of the region at this time. Forests were logged and burned to make way for plantations, farming and timber.

Logging roads and deforestation
photo by Richard Yu, license, no changes made

Having visited the rainforests of Borneo and witnessed these incredible, peaceful and so human-like animals, it's so sad to see them in such trouble. Endangered was bad enough, but this new assessment just further supports the fact that Bornean Orangutan numbers are dwindling, and that action is needed sooner rather than later to deal with the problem.

The Bornean Orangutan we saw in the Danum Valley

I can only hope that this new assessment will prompt people into taking action and doing something to help protect this charismatic creature - a creature that would be the greatest shame to lose forever.


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