Humans target the apes for food, or to prevent them from raiding crops, scientists say
Orangutan numbers on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo plummeted from 1999 to 2015, more as a result of human hunting than habitat loss, an international research team finds.
Over those 16 years, Borneo’s orangutan population declined by about 148,500 individuals. A majority of those losses occurred in the intact or selectively logged forests where most orangutans live, primatologist Maria Voigt of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues report February 15 in Current Biology.
“Orangutan killing is likely the number one threat to orangutans,” says study coauthor Serge Wich, a biologist and ecologist at Liverpool John Moores University in England. Humans hunt the forest-dwelling apes for food, or to prevent them from raiding crops, the investigators say. People also kill adult orangutans to steal their babies for