Destinations

Are Orangutans Endangered?

Discover why orangutans are endangered and how they are being helped

Long ago, the world catered for such beautiful species as the orangutan, proboscis monkey and sun bear, with vast areas of pristine rainforest rich in biodiversity. Now over half of this unique habitat has disappeared, taking the majority of these helpless creatures with it. In the last decade alone, orangutans have decreased by 50% as their forest home is depleted at a rate that is too quick to replace or protect, and unfortunately only 2% of what remains of this habitat is protected.

Although climate change is one reason that things have changed, the main cause of the rapid decline of these species is due to mankind. 

As the dominant and growing species with direct competition for this forest covered land, humans have quickly taken over, using the land for agriculture, logging, palm oil plantations, and to expand their villages.

Palm oil and logging companies make their money by destroying the very unique homes of orang-utans, burning and clearing huge areas of rainforest in order to plant palm trees for oil or grow other trees and plants that are not conducive to the sustenance of many of the animals which used to thrive here. Their business focused actions also leave the remaining indigenous forest more exposed, as the big machines belonging to these companies carve out access roads which also allow poachers and hunters easier access to the orangutans, sun bears and pygmy elephants previously protected by the dense vegetation.

However, positive action is being taken, with many organisations working to promote responsible forestry, practice sustainable agriculture, and encourage alternate income opportunities for local communities. 

The government in the state of Sabah has promised to increase the area of protected land, with a long term aim to make 30% of Sabah’s total land mass safe from further destruction. Let’s just hope it isn’t too late!

Our holidays to Borneo practice responsible tourism. As a company we believe that wildlife tourism has an increasingly key role in raising awareness and promoting conservation and we support a number of wildlife projects in Borneo.

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