Conservation News: 4 Ways Animals Adapt to Humans

A female orangutan carrying a baby walks down a newly built logging road in East Kalimantan, Borneo. Photo by  Brent Loken
A female orangutan carrying a baby walks down a newly built logging road in East Kalimantan, Borneo. Photo by Brent Loken

by Jason Bittel

for National Geographic

Their habitat is disappearing due to widespread logging, but orangutans seem to have found at least one tiny silver lining: traveling on timber roads instead of the more challenging tree canopies.

Recently, ecologist Brent Loken set up 41 camera-trap stations in the Wehea Forest on the Indonesian island of Borneo (map). The traps were spread out across three blocks of the forest, each representing different levels of logging impact.

In all three blocks, the cameras captured images of orangutans walking. This in itself was unusual, as it was previously thought the critically endangered animals kept to the canopy whenever possible. (Watch: “Kalimantan’s Orangutans.”)

But most interesting was the fact that the great apes appeared to show a preference for walking along roads built by the timber industry, according to the study, published in the January issue of Oryx.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of National Geographic and can be read in its entirety here.

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