Borneo’s orangutans are now a critically endangered species due to hunting and destruction of forest habitat, a global conservation group has said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated the number of the animals had dropped by nearly two-thirds since the early 1970s and would further decline to 47,000 by 2025, which would represent a population loss of 86%.
‘If hunting does not stop, all populations that are hunted will decline, irrespective of what happens to their habitat,’ the IUCN said.
‘These findings confirm that habitat protection alone will not ensure the survival of orangutans.’
Three orangutans were rehomed in a vast national park in Borneo
It’s estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 of Borneo’s orangutans have been killed every year for the past four decades, mainly for their meat.
Deforestation has also dramatically shrunk the primate’s habitat, with about 40% of Borneo’s forests lost since the early 1970s and another huge swathe of forest expected to be converted to plantation agriculture in the next decade.
Orangutans only live in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and on Borneo in the Malaysian states of Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan.
The Sumatran orangutan has been critically endangered since 2008.
The assessment for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was carried out earlier this year and published this week.