For the Love of Red Apes
Found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, these playful primates have become endangered due to a loss of their natural habitat, as well as their popularity in the illegal pet trade. Bornean Orangutan populations have declined drastically—more than 50 percent in the last decade—catapulting the species from the vulnerable list in 1996 to endangered in 2000 (according to the IUCN Red List).
In our “Zooscape” newsletter (October 2013), Curator of Mammals Jennie Becker wrote about the Zoo’s involvement in the 7th Annual Orangutan SSP Husbandry Workshop and the importance of such workshops toward conservation efforts:
“Orangutans are losing their natural habitat and declining in numbers at an alarming rate due to poaching, illegal logging, forest fires associated with the rapid spread of oil palm plantations, and expansion of human settlements. Experts predict that the Sumatran orangutan may become extinct in the wild in as little as 10 years unless immediate and sustained action is taken.”