Thursday, March 13, 2008

Endangered animals - Orangutans

Orangutans are very famous apes that live only in rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The Bornean species is highly endangered and Sumatran species is critically endangered mainly because their habitats shrank significantly in last 50 years. Some experts estimate that more than 50,000 orangutans have been lost in last 40 years and if this trend continues orangutans will very soon become extinct.

Though main threat for orangutans is definitely destruction of rainforests which causes their habitat loss, this is not the only reason since many orangutans are being hunted, traded or smuggled to serve as pets (especially young orangutans). Orangutans have also very important role in forest regeneration since they usual fruit-eating routine disperses seeds which help regenerate more fruit trees which keeps forests healthy.

Many tropical forests on Borneo and Sumatra have been turned into oil palm plantations and every new oil palm plantation means fewer habitat for orangutans. There are many conservation areas in Indonesia and Malaysia and Indonesia recently presented plan that should help stabilize orangutan populations and habitat from now until 2017 and return orangutans housed in rehabilitation centers to the wild by 2015. Since there are large funds invested in this project and there is a range of national and international experts involved, this project should really make the difference for orangutan conservation.

Endangered animals - Orangutans

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