As of 2014, there are only about 40,000 orangutans left in the wild, down from 60,000 slightly over a decade ago. Moreover, as of today, they can only be found in the tropical rainforests of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The greatest cause to this huge dwindling population of orangutans is largely due to the alarming increase in the loss of their habitat especially in recent years. Statistics show that they have lost 80% of their habitat is just the past 20 years. Experts estimate that orangutans could be extinct within the next 25 years if we do not actively put measures in place, and strictly enforce them, to prevent this from happening. This tragedy would mean that they would become the first species of Great Apes in the world to become extinct.
From 1997 to 1998, the islands of Borneo and Sumatra were hit by devastating forest fires, arguably one of the greatest fires in the last 2 centuries of recorded history. This event alone, together with the drought that occurred thereafter for the next few years, was responsible for wiping out a third of the entire orangutan population. This is just one of the many events that was attributed to the drastically declining orangutan population. In this blog, we will continue to look at the other threats to the survivability of the orangutans and how we as groups of individuals should respond to this urgent situation with the means and management techniques we have available.