London, Feb 16: More than 100,000 critically endangered orangutans have been killed in Borneo since 1999, a research revealed on Friday. Scientists who carried out the 16-year research on the island described the figure as “mind-boggling”, reports the BBC. Deforestation driven by logging, oil palm, mining and paper mills continues to be the main culprit.
But the research, published in the jourl Current Biology, also revealed that animals were “disappearing” from areas that remained forested. This implied large numbers of orangutans were simply being slaughtered, said lead researcher Maria Voigt of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutiory Anthropology in Germany. Serge Wich from Liverpool John Moores University, also part of the team, told BBC: “We didn’t expect the losses to be so large in standing forest, so these (studies) confirm that hunting is a major issue. “When these animals come into conflict with people on the edge of a plantation, they are always on the losing end. People will kill them. Just last week, we had a report of an orangutan that had 130 pellets in its body, after being shot at in Borneo.” Deforestation alone, the researchers predict, could wipe out a further 45,000 orangutans over the next 35 years. (IANS)