World Press Photo 2020

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Indonesia's orang utans are under severe threat from the ongoing depletion of the rainforest. Sumatran orang utans, which once ranged over the entire island of Sumatra, are now restricted to the north and critically endangered. They are almost exclusively arboreal: Females virtually never travel on the ground and adult males do so rarely.

As logging, mining and palm oil cultivation increase, orang utans find themselves squeezed into smaller pockets of forest, forced out of their natural habitat and in more frequent conflict with humans.

Organisations such as the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme care for lost, injured and captive orang utans, aiming to reintroduce them into the wild. Human caregivers take on the maternal role that female orang utans play, aiming to reintroduce young to their natural habitat at around the age of seven or eight, when they would naturally leave their mothers in the wild.

Fahzren, a 30-year-old male orang utan, undergoing a routine medical check at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme Quarantine Centre on Jan 29, 2019. He has spent most of his life in a zoo and lacks the skills to be returned to the wild. PHOTO: © ALAIN SCHROEDER, BELGIUM, FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Mother-substitutes carrying orphaned orang utans to a forest school, where they will teach them to climb trees, at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme Quarantine Centre in Sibolangit in North Sumatra, Indonesia, on Jan 22, 2019. PHOTO: © ALAIN SCHROEDER, BELGIUM, FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
A veterinarian carrying Diana, an eight-year-old female orang utan, for her final release into the wild in the Jantho Pine Forest Nature Reserve, Sumatra, on April 11, 2019. Since 2011, more than 100 orang utans have been released back into their natural habitat at Jantho, and several new births have been recorded. PHOTO: © ALAIN SCHROEDER, BELGIUM, FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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