KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The Bornean orangutan is now a “critically endangered” animal, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced this week.
According to the IUCN’s findings, the Bornean orangutan population is expected to decrease by 86.2 per cent by 2025, compared to the population in 1950.
“The combined impacts of habitat loss, habitat degradation and illegal hunting equate to an 86% population reduction between 1973 and 2025 which qualifies the species for listing as Critically Endangered,” reads the IUCN assessment.
“This estimate is relatively conservative, as it does not include additional future population losses anticipated due to stochastic effects that will reduce populations inhabiting increasingly small forest fragments.”
The assessment noted that 39 per cent of Bornean forests were lost between 1973 and 2010, and estimates a further 37 per cent of suitable orangutan habitat will be converted to plantations between 2010 and 2025.
It estimates 61.5 per cent or 155,867 square kilometres of orangutan habitat will be gone by 2025.
One of the authors of the assessment, Andrew Marshall, told environment and nature news website Mongabay that the assessment was an acknowledgment that orangutan conservation was failing.
“This is full acknowledgement of what has been clear for a long time: orangutan conservation is failing,” he was quoted telling Mongabay.
“The problem with assessing a species like orangutans is there is such a long time-lag effect.
“Many populations in these forest fragments may be heading toward extinction already, and the grim reality is there is little we can do to alter this trajectory. We could remove every threat right now, and many populations would continue to decline for several generations.” he added.