1,000 wild orang-utans poached a year says WWF
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
August 6, 2005
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a leading conservation group, estimates that 1,000 orang-utans are poached annually from the wild, often for sale as pets for the wealthy. The organization says there are some 30,000 to 40,000 orang-utans left in the wild. Orang-utans are naturally found in the increasingly scarce forests of Sumatra and Borneo. While it is illegal to capture and own wild orang-utans, laws are poorly enforced.
WWF has recently launched an initiative to protect some of the region’s remaining forests. The ‘Heart of Borneo’ plan aims to conserve “85,000 square miles of equatorial rainforest through a network of protected areas and sustainably-managed forests. This protection would not only benefit wildlife like orangutans, but also help alleviate poverty by increasing water and food security, and cultural survival for the people of Borneo. ”
A study released by WWF earlier this year found that at least 361 new species have been identified and described on the island of Borneo alone between 1994 and 2004: 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, 7 frogs, 6 lizards, 5 crabs, 2 snakes and a toad.
“Borneo is undoubtedly one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world,” says Dr. Mubariq Ahmad, Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia. “By acting now, we can ensure that the heart of Borneo remains a haven for both well-known and newly discovered species.”
You can learn more about Borneo and WWF at:
- Borneo’s disappearing forests; 361 new species discovered in past decade
- Borneo’s peat lands going up in smoke
- Kalimantan at the Crossroads: Dipterocarp Forests and the Future of Indonesian Borneo
- Borneo’s Lost World: Newly Discovered Species on Borneo [WWF]
- ‘The Heart of Borneo’ web expedition [WWF]
This news item used information from WWF press materials.