JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A new survey says villagers on the Indonesian side of Borneo killed at least 750 endangered orangutans over a yearlong period, some to protect their crops and others for the apes’ meat.
Erik Meijaard, main author of the report that appeared in the journal PLoSOne, says he believes the killings pose a more serious threat to the apes’ survival than previously thought.
Indonesia is home to 90 percent of the 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild. But as forests are being cleared to make way for pulp, paper and palm oil plantations, the apes are coming into conflict with humans.
The Nature Conservancy and other organizations interviewed nearly 7,000 people in 687 villages to try to better understand the underlying causes for killing orangutans.