Because of trapping, hunting, and deforestation, wild orangutan populations have fallen 70 percent over the last 60 years.
When I found Max, he couldn’t walk. He was disorientated and terrified, and the burns to his feet and body were severe. He was one of several hundred orangutans displaced by forest clearing outside Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park in 2006. He had become separated from his family after plantation workers cruelly herded escaping orangutans back to the burning jungle—and away from precious plantation land.
No more than one year old, Max had fought successfully against the trapping, hunting and forest clearing industries that endangered his short life. But with one last breath, he finally lost his battle, becoming one of several thousand orangutans killed annually by a barbaric agricultural farming process, and becoming a victim of a different kind of oil spill: the trade in palm oil.
Palm oil monoculture is “palming” off orangutans in giant numbers, pushing the once abundant species closer than ever to extinction. Today, less than 60,000 orangutans exist in the wild and scientists and biologists conclude that the species’ numbers have disappeared by more than 70 percent over the last 60 years as a combined result of trapping, hunting, and deforestation.
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