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Indonesia: Orangutans in danger

Source:  Copyright 2012, Japan Times
Date:  April 8, 2012
Byline:  Editorial
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The word "orangutan" comes from the Malay and Indonesian words meaning "person of the forest." Unfortunately, soon there may be no forest and no "person," either. The encroachment of palm oil companies into orangutans' natural habitat and the illicit trade in baby orangutans have all but wiped out the entire species of Sumatran orangutan. They may be entirely gone before the year is over, according to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program.

The Tripa forest on the coast of Aceh Province has long been the site of conflict between conservationist nongovernment organizations (NGOs) working to protect the orangutans and the palm oil companies that turn logged forests into vast plantations. Recently, land-clearing fires have accelerated the destruction of the rainforest and its biodiversity.

Only 12,000 hectares of Tripa's original 60,000 hectares of forest remain. Throughout Sumatra, half of the forest has been lost in 25 years. Two orangutan species, the ...

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