Orangutans Face Possible Extinction in 20 Years, WWF Says

Orangutans may have just two decades left if current trends continue, the World Wildlife Fund warned yesterday. One of the four great ape species, orangutans are rapidly disappearing from their only remaining native habitat on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Populations have dropped some 90 percent in the past 100 years, with declines becoming more rapid in recent decades because of hunting and habitat loss due to deforestation. Almost 80 percent of forests in Indonesia and Malaysia have been heavily logged, says WWF, and the clearing of land for plantations has also decimated habitat. Some wildlife experts in Malaysia disputed predictions that the animals could become extinct in the wild within 20 years, but agreed that orangutans face serious threats and that conservation efforts should be stepped up.