Orangutans Closer To Extinction Than Ever

    Ah Meng Junior, a Bornean female orangutan born on Dec. 12, 2008, and the 35th orangutan born at the Singapore Zoo, left, is carried by her mother Anita, 24, on Thursday Jan. 29, 2009 in Singapore where its national zoo is actively involved in the conservation and education of wildlife reserves. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)


    Conservationists have been warning of this moment for years. Orangutans ― one of the planet’s most intelligent animals ― are officially headed for extinction.

    The Bornean orangutan is now critically endangered, according to a species assessment published this week by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The animal’s Sumatran cousin, the other species of orangutan, was already listed as critically endangered ― meaning all orangutans are now at “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild,” IUCN said.

    “This is full acknowledgement of what has been clear for a long time: Orangutan conservation is failing,” Andrew Marshall, one of the assessment’s authors, told Mongabay this week.

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    Photo by Associated Press