Orangutan Threats

Threats to Orangutans

There are numerous threats to the viability of the remaining wild orangutan population in Indonesia and Malaysia. The primary threat is loss of habitat with up to 80% of suitable forest in Indonesia and Malaysia having been lost in the past 20 years.

Other threats, which often go hand-in-hand with the destruction of the rainforest, are the illegal pet trade and poaching.

Estimates of the numbers left in the wild vary from as low as 16,000 to as high as 65,000. Most recent estimates indicate fewer than 7000 Sumatran orangutans and 50,000 Bornean orangutans survive in the wild today.

There is also debate as to the rate of population decline with estimates suggesting a loss of between 3,000 and 5,000 every year.

To add pressure to the situation, orangutans have a comparatively slow reproduction rate. A female orangutan will not reach sexual maturity until she is about fourteen to sixteen years of age and will only bear offspring once every eight to ten years.

Reproduction is also affected by the abundance of food. When food supplies dwindle so too does the orangutan’s reproduction rate.

While the rate of decline may be debated, the trend is not. The survival of the orangutan is becoming more precarious with every passing year with extinction in the wild likely to be within 10-20 years in the absence of effective protection of habitat.

For more information, click on the following links:

Loss of habitat

Illegal pet trade


For the most recent news articles on loss of habitat, palm oil and the illegal pet trade, click here.

Photo: Karen Stenner

How Can You Help

There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

Adopt an Orangutan

Adopt an Orangutan

Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction means hundreds of orphan orangutans need to care for every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.

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Make a Donation

Make a Donation

Please help the Orangutans in their struggle for survival. Your donation is important and goes directly to BOS Indonesia. By donating, you are helping bring this noble yet endangered species back from the brink of extinction and on a path to freedom - from rescue to rehabilitation and release.

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Visit Our Shop

Visit Our Shop

The perfect gift for any occasion! Choose from our selection of instant gifts that directly support our orangutans. You can buy a wheelbarrow, provide food for an orangutan for two months or lots more. You will receive a certificate, personalised with the name of your choice - perfect gift for you or a friend.

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