Orangutans In Trouble as Forests Shrink

Loggers, plantations bring great ape close to extinction
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2008 5:46 PM CDT
A Sumatran orangutan relaxes in a zoo on, June 4, 2008, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Orangutans are one of the most endangered species in the world with a wild population of less than 7,000.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Illegal loggers and palm oil plantations may make the orangutan the first great ape to become extinct, scientists warn. In Indonesia, a mere 6,600 of the apes remain, while on Malaysia’s Borneo Island, the population has fallen 10% to 49,600, the Telegraph reports.

Soaring biofuel prices have aggravated the issue by enticing farmers to expand palm oil plantations. The ape will soon die out, one study concludes, “unless extraordinary efforts are made soon.” Indonesia has long promised to step up and help the orange-haired mammal.