photo by Rainforest Action Network (Flickr CC)

In Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) orangutans are being hunted and driven into possible extinction.

Indonesia, which is home to 90% of the world’s orangutan population, is also home to rampant unregulated and illegal palm plantations, deforestation and logging. Loss of habitat has pitted villagers against the orangutans, who may venture into gardens for food. Locals are known to kill great apes for food and out of fear.

But the real culprits are the industries who see orangutan conservation as a threat to their business. These firms are not only destroying the orangutans’ habitat, but have allegedly paid villagers to hunt and kill orangutans.

From the Guardian:

Erik Meijaard, who led a team carrying out the first attempt to assess the scale of the problem in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, said the results showed that between 750 and 1,800 orangutans were killed as a result of hunting and deforestation in the 12 months to April 2008.

Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil, with some 75% of the current organgutan population living trapped on palm plantations.

For more on this story see the following Al Jazeera English report.