Re-introduction of orang-utans in Indonesia
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Orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) are highly endangered. It is currently feared that wild orang-utans may become extinct within several decades. It is estimated that 85% of the distribution range of orang-utans lies within Indonesia (Sumatra and Kalimantan), with small populations found in Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysian Borneo), and none inhabiting Brunei (Rijksen & Meijaard, 1999).
There is evidence that orang-utans were hunted throughout history by humans. During the early part of the 20th Century, hunting of orang-utans for trade occurred primarily to satisfy the demands from zoos, museums, scientific institutions, and private collectors. Infant orang-utans were considered desirable pets; however, the adult female had to be killed by poachers in order to obtain the offspring. It was estimated that for every infant that survived the journey to the market, at least three or perhaps as many as 10 (Rijksen & Meijaard, 1999) orang-utans (infants and their mothers) died due to shock and injury. Orang-utans continue to be hunted illegally for the pet trade, for food, for religious and cultural purposes, and also because they are regarded as agricultural pests (Rijksen & Meijaard, 1999).
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