Kalimantan Orangutan May Be Wiped Out in Three Years

Kalimantan Orangutan May Be Wiped Out in Three Years

Kalimantan Orang UtanSEMINYAK ~ One of the biggest populations of wild orangutans on Borneo will be extinct in three years without drastic measures to stop the expansion of palm oil plantations, conservationists said this week.

“For Central Kalimantan, the species will be gone as soon as three years from now,” Centre for Orangutan Protection director Hardi Bhaktiantoro told a press conference on Wednesday.

More than 30,000 wild orangutans live in the forests of Central Kalimantan province, or more than half the entire orangutan population of Borneo island.

Experts believe the overall extinction rate of Borneo orangutans is 9 percent per year, but in Central Kalimantan they are disappearing even faster due to unchecked expansion of palm oil plantations.

“The expansion of palm oil plantations is wiping out entire habitats and unless the government takes drastic measures to protect these orangutan sanctuaries there is no way to reverse the trend,” Bhaktiantoro said.

Orangutans are listed as endangered by the Swiss-based World Conservation Union, the paramount scientific authority on imperiled species.

It says numbers of the ape have fallen by well over 50 percent in the past 60 years as a result of habitat loss, poaching and the pet trade.

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