Person of the forest.


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Orangutan is a Malay word. It means person of the forest.

A couple of hundred Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, the rarest orangutans, are recently found in the forests of Indonesia. Orangutans share 97% of our DNA. They are our cousins, but we don’t spare them, we kill them the way we kill other animals. The truth is, we have killed almost all Orangutans. Only a few thousands of Orangutans are left in the world. They will soon be extinct if no serious initiative is taken to get rid of the threats they are facing. Orangutans are dying out because of habitat destruction, deforestation, palm-oil plantations. The plantation guys kill Orangutans for crop protection, and pay $100 for a dead Orangutan. Hundreds of Orangutans get killed every year. Congolese people kill Gorillas to make exotic hand ashtrays. Do people in Indonesia and Malaysia kill Orangutans to make souvenir ashtrays out of their dried hands to sell to the horrid tourist trade!

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The forests will be there. But no ‘person’ will be in the forests.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh Yeah! I lived in Malaysia half of my life and also discovered this. The actual word is “Orang Hutan” meaning Jungle man, it is sometimes pronounced as orangutan. Orang Hutan still can be seen deep forest in Malaysia. I have last seen Orang Hutan on my way to Cameron Highland, Malaysia in 2010. Most importantly they able to communicate with human in very limited way. There are another group of Orang Hutan in the jungle, called “Orang Orang” they are human like but they don’t speak human language. They speaks in a animals way. They afraid of us. It is very rare you could see them in daylights.

  2. Francisco Bacopa says

    Nothing like a combination of habitat destruction and hunting to kill off a species. The habitat destruction is worse than the hunting until the habitat gets fairly small, then hunting really makes a difference.

    I still think Cheetahs will go extinct first. Their low genetic diversity makes them almost a “ghost species”, extinct for all practical purposes, yet they live on.

    Is there any way to genetically engineer cheetahs to give them more genetic diversity? Could we splice in immune system genes from other cats? If we can same cheetahs this way maybe we can save orangutans if they get into a similar genetic diversity bottleneck in the future. They are close enough to humans that we could probably splice in some human genes to help them out.

      • Francisco Bacopa says

        Cheetahs are so inbred that they do not reject skin grafts from each other. They have a high rate of miscarriage and birth defects. Simple coronavirus infections, the common cold, kill a few every year. They went through a near extinction bottleneck a few thousand years before humans could be blamed. Genetically engineering cheetahs will be problematic. They breed poorly in captivity as females will not get into the feline mating crouch until they have taken a long run with a suitor, and like most cats, Cheetahs don’t ovulate until they find a mate. Very difficult to acquire the ova and sperm for the genetic meddling that could save them.

        Orangs would have a better chance if they got into a similar genetic bottleneck. They may not ovulate as often as humans do, but I don’t think there are any triggers as felines have. And I am pretty sure that male orangs masturbate and thus their semen could be harvested.

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