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Biofuel Boom Could Cause Extinction of Orangutans

November 4, 2008
“If the immediate crisis in securing the future survival of the orangutan and the protection of national parks is not resolved, very few wild orangutans will be left within two decades,” UNEP concluded in a report last year. “The rate and extent of illegal logging in national parks may, if unchallenged, endanger the entire concept of protected areas worldwide.”
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Biofuel boom endangers orangutan habitat

Orangutan in Borneo

Trees are not only a crucial source of food for endangered orangutans in Borneo — an island shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei — but also provide the primates places to nest at night.

In the rush to feed the world’s growing appetite for climate-friendly fuel and cooking oil that doesn’t clog arteries, the Bornean orangutan could get plowed over.

Several plantation owners are eyeing Tanjung Puting park, a sanctuary for 6,000 of the endangered animals. It is the world’s second-largest population of a primate that experts warn could be extinct in less than two decades if a massive assault on its forest habitat is not stopped.

The orangutans’ biggest enemy, the United Nations says, is no longer poachers or loggers. It’s the palm oil industry.

Indonesia is losing lowland forest faster than any other major forested country.
98% of Indonesia’s forest may be lost by 2022
very few wild orangutans will be left

Palm oil a threat to Borneo's orangutans
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