Target: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Goal: Protect critically endangered orangutans from being hunted
According to a 2004 study by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, only 7,300 Sumatran orangutans remain. Over the past 75 years, their numbers have dwindled by an estimated 80 percent and they are listed as critically endangered. Extreme habitat loss is the main contributing factor in their decline, but with so few orangutans remaining, hunting also poses a real threat.
The focus to save these apes has so far targeted habitat loss from logging and palm oil plantations—and rightfully so. Only about 20 percent of the orangutans’ forest habitat remains and the animals have begun nesting in palm oil plantations. A 2010 study conducted by the American Journal of Primatology found that 28 percent of Sumatran farmers considered orangutans a physical threat. The great apes are killed for their meat in some areas, but are also killed by farmers for crop raiding, a difficult practice to mitigate with fewer and fewer resources remaining for the apes within an ever-shrinking habitat.
The Sumatran orangutan is found only in the northern and western parts of the country, and there are an estimated thirteen populations in 21 forest blocks. Based on models of current habitat loss and hunting, the World Wildlife Fund expects population declines of 97 percent within the next 50 years, likely leading to the animal’s extinction.
While the main threat Sumatran orangutans face is habitat loss, hunting will threaten the loss of this critically endangered species. Urge the Sumatran government to stop and punish the killing of this severely decimated population.
Dear President Yudhoyono,
Sumatran orangutans face extinction due mostly to extreme habitat loss from logging and deforestation by palm oil plantations. With so few of the endangered apes remaining, they now face serious population depletion from hunting as well.
According to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, only 7,300 Sumatran orangutans are left, and the animal is considered critically endangered. Only 20 percent of the ape’s habitat remains and, if habitat loss continues at its current rate, the World Wildlife Fund expects a 97 percent population decline over the next 50 years.
Some local communities kill the orangutans for their meat, while others—namely farmers—perceive them as a threat, both to themselves and to their crops. Without habitats in which to forage, it is likely that crop raiding will only worsen.
I urge you to stop the hunting of orangutans and punish those who kill any of their already depleted number.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lip Kee via Flickr