This clip shows the implications of deforestation on our wildlife. Not only are vast amounts of forest destroyed – we’re currently losing a forest the size of a football pitch every two seconds – but animals that live in these forests are having their homes literally broken down before their eyes.
This orangutan can be seen trying to defend its home by pushing the digger, which is being controlled by diggers who are believed to be located in the Ketapang Regency on the island of Borneo, before falling to the ground. A man can also be seen in the footage, who is from the Orangutan Protection Unit for the International Animal Rescue non-profit organisation, and appears to be aiming a dart gun at the orangutan.
Following the clip, the animal is captured before being moved to the safety of an orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre on the island.
A spokesperson for the International Animal Rescue organisation stated, ‘Our team responds regularly to situations like these where an orangutan is stranded in the debris of the forest. This scene is different only in that the bulldozer is still present and the clearance operation is still happening.’
Bornean orangutans are critically endangered due to habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade, meaning that we’ve lost 50% of the population in just 60 years. These great apes are known as gardeners of the forest, due to the vital role that they play in helping seed dispersal of the forest, without which the forests would look drastically different, impacting the wildlife and animals that depend on it. Studies have suggested that over 2.5 million acres of the Indonesian rainforest are lost every single year, meaning that orangutans are forced out of their homes and left to die.
This can’t continue, but we can all help by spreading awareness and only buying products containing sustainable palm oil, so that more forests are not destroyed at the detriment of Asia’s only great ape.
I’m Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer and writer. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to be part of the journey. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive.