Pregnant, Starving Orangutan Finds Shelter On The Last Remaining Tree As Bulldozers Destroy Her Rainforest Home

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As rainforests around the globe continue to be destroyed by human societies seeking profits in the lush jungle, wild animal populations that have lived there since time immemorial have seen themselves displaced, often with nowhere to go.

Pregnant, Starving Orangutan Finds Shelter On The Last Remaining Tree As Bulldozers Destroy Her Rainforest Home

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As rainforests around the globe continue to be destroyed by human societies seeking profits in the lush jungle, wild animal populations that have lived there since time immemorial have seen themselves displaced, often with nowhere to go.


In Borneo, an island in Malay Archipelago, Southeast Asia, animal rescue workers captured the tragic moment when a heavily pregnant orangutan clung to one of the last trees standing in her formerly pristine rainforest home—right up to the heartbreaking moment when massive bulldozers destroyed what was left of it.


The orangutan was so weakened and traumatized that she could not imagine leaving the tree trunk where she found shelter as heavy machinery ripped apart what used to be her house.


As a result, Boon-Mee was unable to forage for food to feed herself or her unborn baby, which means she had nothing to look forward to besides death by starvation.


All over Indonesia, palm oil plantations have laid waste to what used to be the homes of orangutans like Boon-Mee, rendering the primates homeless in their formerly lush, rich homes in places such as Borneo and Sumatra.


Each year, apes face slaughter at the hands of humans in the big agriculture industry, either by gun or machete. Such trends are reflected in new figures demonstrating that the orangutan population falls by up to 25 per day.


A century ago there were more than 230,000 orangutans in Southeast Asia, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That number, though, has plummeted to 41,000 in Borneo and only 7,500 in Sumatra—the only two places in the world where they can be found.


An IAR team backed by local forest officials arrived after many hours of journeying through a still-smoldering forest which had just been freshly burned. When they finally arrived, they were surprised to find not only Boon-Mee but also three other orangutans.


Among the three was Charanya, another mother that had just delivered her baby and was desperate to find food. Kalaya too had just had a baby, and was lactating and semi-conscious—which led the IAR workers to think her baby had either died or was kidnapped to be somebody’s pet.


Boon-Mee was still alive, but only barely—and was surviving on only tree bark, thus making her too weak to climb down the tree. Rescuers had to eventually shoot her with a tranquilizer before catching her in a net.


According to The Mind Unleashed, palm oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the fruits and seeds of the oil palm—also known as the African palm. It’s a common additive on supermarket shelves around the world.


Oil extracted from the fruit of the palm is used in foods like instant noodles, yogurt, ice cream, and wine, but also in biofuel and various household products including shampoo, laundry detergents, and cosmetic goods like lipstick.


About 66 million tons of palm oil are produced every year, driving a trend that’s seen forests burned, and land robbed to make room for plantations, contributing significantly to global deforestation and the displacement of rural human populations, as well as local animal species endemic to the region.


Palm oil production has primarily driven orangutans to the brink of extinction, with the species now classified as critically endangered. Bornean orangutan populations have fallen by over half between 1999 and 2015.


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Thinking Humanity: Pregnant, Starving Orangutan Finds Shelter On The Last Remaining Tree As Bulldozers Destroy Her Rainforest Home
Pregnant, Starving Orangutan Finds Shelter On The Last Remaining Tree As Bulldozers Destroy Her Rainforest Home
As rainforests around the globe continue to be destroyed by human societies seeking profits in the lush jungle, wild animal populations that have lived there since time immemorial have seen themselves displaced, often with nowhere to go.
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