Research by a nature reserve in Indonesia's West Java into the reproductive rates of Bornean orangutans shows a not-so-bright future for the remaining members of the species in the area, which currently number less than 50.
The Bornean orangutan, together with the Sumatran orangutan and Tapanuli orangutan, represent the only "great ape" species native to Asia. They are highly intelligent and share around 97 percent of their genes with humans. However, these smart animals are regarded as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
According to the research, due to their small population, the orangutans have a high chance of mating with one of their own close relatives, resulting in offspring with genetic defects.
Because of the building of infrastructure, plantation developments, hunting and timber industries in the country, forest habitats are being divided and orangutan populations are moving further apart from one another. Without cross-species breeding, this species of orangutan is facing likely extinction.
(Cover image via VCG)
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