Ecologist Erik Meijaard of the The Nature Conservancy posted on their site last week about the discovery of up to 1000 or slighly more Borneo Orangutans, which are an endangered species. Human demand for timber and agricultural products is reducing their habitat swiftly.
In fact the nearby Sumatran Orangutan is critically endangered and has an estimated population of about 7,000 in the wild. Borneos may be as many as 50,000 total.
That may seem like a large number, but their habitat is being altered so rapidly they could be wiped out just as swiftly. In 2007 a United Nations report indicated 98% of orangutan range in both Borneo and Sumatra could be wiped out by 2022.
The discovery took place several months ago in a very rugged area called East Kalimantan. A survey of the area showed the prescence of trees used by the great apes for food, and that it is untouched by humans. These two factors lead the researchers to the conclusion that a relatively large population could be living there, and yet remain undiscovered for so long. The Nature Conservancy has partnered with over 18 organizations to protect the Borneo primates.
Orangutans are known for their intelligence and gentleness. Supposedly several have been observed using spears to hunt fish. The orangutan fishing in the photo on the linked page was living in a sanctuary at the time. Richard Zimmeran of Orangutan Outreach provided this background information, “This orangutan, like the 650 others at Nyaru Menteng, is an orphan. He watched as his mother was murdered and his forest home was destroyed. ”
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and has a vast richness of biodiversity.
Image Credit: Public Domain
2nd image: Aaron Logan