Not out of the woods yet

An environmental activist from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) checking on the condition of a six-year-old wild orang utan rescued from a plantation in Kuala Batee, Aceh province, yesterday.

The orang utan is currently listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with only about 6,000 Sumatran orang utans remaining.

The loss of their habitat, as forests are being replaced by oil palm plantations, is a major threat to their existence.

Dr Ian Singleton, director of SOCP, was quoted on Mail Online as saying: "When the forests are being destroyed, there are often orang utans in the trees being cut. When they kill a mother in a tree, the baby is often taken by the poachers and sold into the illegal pet trade for income.

"We have a moral obligation to save as many species as we can. Orang utans have just as much right to be here as we do."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2016, with the headline 'Not out of the woods yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe