The Last South East Asian Great Ape


Orangutans are considered an endangered species and it is estimated that their population numbers between 15000-25000. This blog will touch on how logging and palm oil industries are destroying and degrading the natural habitat of orangutans and orphaning the babies putting pressure on their already tiny population. The reduction in the size of their habitat forces the orangutan out of the forests and into farms searching for food thus causing the locals to see them as pests and killing or poisoning them when they come near. It will also be looking into the illegal pet trade of baby orangutans as well as the hunting of orangutans for bush meat.

“Why are orangutans important?” you may ask. The reason for conserving the population of orangutans are much more pressing than simply allowing future generations to see an orangutan in real life. Orangutans are keystone species. That is, a species that helps the forest to thrive. It has been found that forests with a higher population of orangutans in it actually have a wider diversity than those that don’t. A forest with high diversity is a healthy forest. Healthy forests, in turn, can provide benefits to those that live around them. These benefits include taking in the carbon dioxide during the day, preventing landsides, increasing quantities of safe water and even reducing the spread of tropical diseases.

Conservation efforts will be looked at and this includes orangutan sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers that help to train young orphans how to survive in the wild and integrate them back into the forests. A large part of the conservation efforts will also be in education of both the young and old. Older locals can be taught the value of the forests and promote proper logging activities, children can also be encouraged to go against the pet trade and be against the consumption of bush meat. Ecotourism is also a powerful tool as it can play a part in benefitting both the locals and the orangutans and at the same time educate tourists about the plight of the orangutans.