Endangering. What threatens the orangutans?

There are estimates that in about 30 year’s time all rainforests worldwide will be destroyed. As rainforest inhabitants, orangutans are directly affected by this. In Indonesia there are several reasons for deforestation. One of them is the export of tropical timber, as a much sought after material for the production of furniture or wooden floors.

A far greater danger comes from the palm oil industry. Over 85% of the palm oil traded worldwide comes from Indonesia. Palm oil is an important raw material for the production of food (margarine, peanut butter, etc.), cosmetics, candles, laundry detergents, and bio fuels. Palm oil is extracted from the fruit of oil palms.

About 90% of palm oil produced is sold to European companies and demand rises constantly. As such, palm oil plantations are being expanded and rainforests continue to be cut down. This also forces orangutans to forage in palm oil plantations where they are caught or killed by workers. The infants are then sold as pets or food.

The mining of mineral resources like gold or zircon causes additional deforestation as well as the pollution of rivers from waste chemicals.

Illegal agriculture in national parks, especially for slash and burn rice cultivation, not only results in the cutting down of rainforest but also the uncontrolled burning of large areas of the forest. Notable examples of this occurred in 1997 and 2006.

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