Orangutan threatened with extinction due to habitat loss

Orangutan threatened with extinction due to habitat loss
PHOTO: Reuters

An animal conservation activist has warned that habitat loss is the greatest threat faced by orang utans

"What orangutans are facing is a conflict, a fight for land where they live," Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) executive director Jamartin Sihite said on Sunday.

The conservationist said orangutans were threatened with extinction because forests in which they were living had been degraded or converted.

Citing an example, he said, primary forests that used to be the natural habitats of orangutans in Kalimantan had been converted into production forests, and trees where they used to make a nest or forage food had been chopped down. Parts of the forests had been converted into plantations, mining areas and human settlement.

Sihite said the absence of primary forests had hampered the BOSF's plans to release hundreds of orangutans it had taken care of in its conservation areas in Samboja Lestari, East Kalimantan, and Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan, back to their natural habitats.

Samboja Lestari is now home to 270 orangutans while in Nyaru Menteng, there are more than 600 orangutans.

"That's why we focus our attention on providing special area for orangutans," said Sihite.

In 2009, the BOSF established PT Rehabilitasi Habitat Orangutan Indonesia (RHOI), which manages Kehje Sewen, a forest that used to be production forest concession (HPH) areas in Muara Wahau, East Kutai, and now is used as an area where orangutans will be released.

Meanwhile in Central Kalimantan, the BOSF releases orangutans into Bukit Batikap protected forest in North Barito regency.

Sihite said in the BOSF had released more than 100 orangutans in the two forests.

 

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