Orangutan News: Bornean Orangutan Declared ‘Critically Endangered’ As Forests Shrink

A Bornean Orangutan in Sabangau Forest, Indonesia. Photo by Bernat Ripoll Capilla courtesy of OuTrop
A Bornean Orangutan in Sabangau Forest, Indonesia. Photo by Bernat Ripoll Capilla courtesy of OuTrop

by Loren Bell for Mongabay

The Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is now critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This change means that both species of orangutan now face an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.”

“This is full acknowledgement of what has been clear for a long time: orangutan conservation is failing,” Andrew Marshall, one of the authors of the assessment, told Mongabay. Regardless of any positive outcomes of past conservation efforts, they have not achieved the only meaningful goal: a stable or increasing population.

Published this week, the new IUCN assessment finds that hunting, habitat destruction, habitat degradation and fragmentation are the biggest drivers behind the population loss.

In 2010, only 59.6% of Borneo’s forests were suitable for orangutans. And, while much of this land is technically protected by the Indonesian, Malaysian and Brunei governments, illegal logging and uncontrolled burning are still continual threats.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be viewed in its entirety here.

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