The great apes, namely the gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and the orangutans are our closest genetic relatives. But that didn’t stop us from slaughtering them as usual! Now, reports suggest that orangutans are likely to be the first ones to bid adieu to this planet.
The recent report by the conservation journal Oryx speculates that the orangutans are declining very fast in numbers as their natural habitats are continuously shrinking at the hands of ever expanding human population. This species once inhabited the entire South East Asia. But they are now confined only to the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. While the ones in Sumatra are already critically endangered, the Bornean ones have also declined fast in the recent years. Incessant logging, deforestation and mining have shrunk their habitat drastically. In fact the new revised figures have shown that the situation is far graver than what was initially assumed.
While the awareness regarding the conservation issues are gradually increasing, the palm oil industry is coming up as the biggest threat to the orangutans. Malaysia and Indonesia produce 80% of the palm oil of the world. So this booming industry is freely moving ahead with their activities that are destroying the forest cover at a very fast rate and due to the economic benefits, no one is stopping them. While the economics part is understandable, the far reaching impact of the same in the ecosystem is something they need to ponder about!