One of the key threats affecting orangutans and their habitats in the rainforests is deforestation.  The booming palm oil industry is resulting in the loss of forests and this completely destroys the orangutan’s habitat.  Without forest to live in, they become displaced and this is extremely hard for them to survive.  It is believed up to 1000 orangutans are also killed every year. Currently there are around 6,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild. There have always been threats against the orangutans but since palm oil plantations have grown more desirable due to the fact that palm oil is a cheap product used in many every day household items, the risk to their survival is even greater.  Not only is clearing forest affecting the orangutan; the hunting is another major threat.

Orang-utan hunting is another problem which is still taking place in some areas for the food source known as bush meat. People hunt Orang-utans for meat, money and pets. Also because of deforestation, they are eating the fruit in the local villages and villagers respond by getting rid of these orang-utans. Many people from all around the world will travel to remote locations to be able to legally hunt for orang-utans. The trophy hunt that they experience is more important to them than the future of these animals.  Some hunters don’t even know that Orang-utans are nearly extinct which means we need to teach people about orang-utans and how endangered they are.  Not only is hunting a problem, the pet trade is another threat to the species.

Lastly, the pet trade in orang-utans, particularly babies, is having a huge effect on the population.

Roughly 1,000 orang-utans are smuggled annually to be sold as pets around the world.  Hunters first kill the mother because the mother is protective and will not give up her baby without a fight.  They then take the baby and sell it on the black market to people who buy them for pets.  The price they get is dependent on the age of the baby but is said to be between $350 to $500.  This seems ridiculous considering these creatures could become extinct within 10 years, and must be stopped.

Orangutans are on the decline.  They are critically endangered for several reasons, including deforestation, hunting and the pet trade.  They are an important member of the animal kingdom because they have a role to play in keeping the forests healthy but not enough people realise what the orang-utans actually do or how close they are to extinction.  As Sir David Attenborough says “People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile”.  People do need to care because Orang-utans are worthwhile.

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