Sunday, October 10, 2010
The orangutan is a great ape that is found only on the island of Sumatra. They were found on Borneo as recently as 1940, but deforestation and poaching eliminated that population. On the less populated island of Sumatra, it is estimated that some 60,000 orangutan still live in the wild. Large portions of the island have been declared nature preserves, but those that have not are under increasing exploitation. Clear cutting is destroying much of the forest and the species native to Sumatra. The apes are also under threat of poaching by both the exotic pet trade in East Asia as well as for medical laboratories. Their proximity in relation to humans makes them one of the prime choices to conduct medical research upon.