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Deforestation causes orangutans to face extinction

by Brianna Bush - Executive Editor
Tue, Sep 24th 2019 11:00 pm

Destruction is what humanity does best. We take things for granted and take advantage of the small things. Using up natural resources and burning others to the ground, but one of the more catastrophic things the human race has done is neglect the rainforests.

Since the early 1950s, deforestation has been a major concern, affecting multiple ecosystems and driving many different species into extinction. One of the species that has been driven out of its home and into starvation is the orangutan.

In rainforests across Southeast Asia, orangutans spend their lives living in the trees, swinging from vine to vine and building their nests in treetops. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case because human kind is slowly destroying their natural habitat.

According to orangutanfoundation.org.au, orangutan’s extinction is “caused primarily by human activity (intense legal and illegal logging, conversion of forest to palm oil plantations and timber estates, mining, clearing forest for settlements and road construction) and also by large-scale fires facilitated by the El Niño weather phenomena.”

The palm oil industry is one of the main factors in the deforestation, demolishing sections of rainforest not aware of what happens to the creatures that call the forest home. Now, unsupervised deforestation is illegal according to globalforestatlas.yale.edu and nationalgeographic.com, especially when it involves endangered species. Unfortunately there are still companies that continue their illegal gambits.

There are also man-made and natural fires damaging the rainforests. Recently pictures have surfaced of orangutans sitting in piles of ash, surrounded by a barren and burnt forest. Luckily, in some of the images, there are still trees standing with green leaves growing from the branches.

The image was produced by Daily Mail, and depicts two orangutans sitting on a burnt tree surrounded by ash and soot in an Indonesian forest. The image is heartbreaking, especially when the cause of the fire was said to have been man-made by surrounding plantation workers.

Burning down the forest or logging them until there is nothing left, is not only eliminating orangutan habitats, but cutting off their main source of food. There are photos that show hairless emaciated orangutans and you can easily see every bone their body.

Some of these pictures show the small lifeless babies the mothers can not let go of, as they slowly diminish to skin and bones like their mothers. Other photos show groups of the young, that have been made orphans by humans and their machines. 

Some argue many of the fires are caused by the El Niño, though it can all be tied back into climate change and how humans are making it worse. The human race can be linked as the cause of advanced climate change with all the trash we dump, smog we produce and lands we change.

Though people do not want to accept it, climate change is a product of the human race. We have slowly but effectively brought the world to a boil — killing the environment. 

The weather patterns are now completely different from the ones of the early 1900s. There are more storms and natural disasters than ever before. It is not just man-made fires, recently random forest fires have been popping up all over the world because of the heat increase.

According to orangutan.org.eu, poaching is one of the main reasons as to why orangutans are becoming extinct. In many cases the mothers are killed for their babies which are sold on the Black Market as pets for the wealthy. Some natives poach the orangutans for their meat as they are a large animal that moves rather slowly, making them an easy target for hunters.

Pictures surfaced on Sunday, Sept. 22 of an orangutan in the treetops in Indonesia that had been shot in the face along with another orangutan that appeared to be unharmed. Before that there were videos posted of an orangutan taking on a bulldozer in the midst of all the forest fires.

Most of these animals are going extinct because of the destruction caused by humans, we have to think about how the things we do impact the world around us. We need to take action if we want to remain on this earth, we have to sustain in order to remain.


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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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