Tuesday June 25, 2019

In Indonesia, a Jungle School helps rescued Orangutans to return to the Wild

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature - which changed the species' threat level to critical - estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025

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Orangutan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

September 5, 2016: There is an amazing jungle school in the heart of Borneo Islands that is designed specifically for the young rescued Orangutans. Some of them found wandering and suffering alone, as the fire rages huge parts of the rainforest in Borneo.

These young orphan Orangutans got to school to learn to feed themselves and avoid the predators. They are taught in the wildlife so they return to their world with no harm and with preparation. As life in the real world was drastic for these lovely creatures. Only a few years ago, the Bornean Orangutans were declared as critically endangered species and they are close to extinction.

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Experts say that the wonderful tree-dwelling Orangutans would do wonders in the wildlife and cross the Borneo without even touching the ground. But now the same Orangutans could get entirely vanished from the island within 50 years, as the ancient rainforest they have inhabited for centuries are felled and burned at alarming speed leaving serious danger for the inhabiting Orangutans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRf0gO54nqg&feature=youtu.be

Dr. Ayu Budi, a veterinarian is the head of the orangutan health clinic at the International animal rescue centre in the west Kalimantan province. She has something to say- “It’s heart-breaking,” she said , adding “when you see them, it’s really sad. They are supposed to be with their mother in the wild, living happily, but they are here.”

Exactly 101 Orangutans are nurtured under Dr. Budi’s care, including the 16 playful infants – are the lucky ones as they were rescued near death. In this beautiful niche of protected forest in the city of Ketapang, the young orangutans are nurtured back to life and health.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of their kin have died in the past four decades across Borneo, slaughtered by hunters, burned in land-blazing fires or put to death by habitat loss.

The result has been wild orangutan populations in freefall. In the mid-1970s, nearly 300,000 of these great apes roamed Borneo. Today, just a third of that number remain.

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature – which changed the species’ threat level to critical – estimates a mere 47,000 will be left in the wild by 2025.

The fire often gets out of hand, tearing through the forest, and smouldering relentlessly on Borneo’s compact, carbon-rich peatlands. Last year’s blazes in 2015, were among the worst on record.

Conservationists fear a repeat disaster of that scale would ring the death knell for the Bornean orangutan.

Budi and her colleagues remain optimistic, teaching orangutans like Jack – a mischievous, attention-seeking seven-year-old – to forage by hiding peanuts and honey inside plastic balls high in the treetops.

But she frets her young charge will never get the chance to prove his independence in the wild, as Borneo’s lowland forests shrink ever smaller. “I think they still have a chance, but if the forest is gone, it will be difficult,” she said.

– by Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu of NewsGram

Next Story

UN Report: Upto 1 Million Species Face Extinction Because of Human Influence

“We need to recognize that climate change and loss of nature are equally important, not just for the environment, but as development and economic issues as well”

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Climate change activists stage a protest outside the H M Treasury building in central London, April 25, 2019, during environmental protests by the Extinction Rebellion group. VOA

Up to 1 million species face extinction because of human influence, according to a draft U.N. report obtained by AFP that painstakingly catalogues how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends.

The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves — to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by nature — poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6.

Indeed, biodiversity loss and global warming are closely linked, according to the 44-page Summary for Policy Makers, which distills a 1,800-page U.N. assessment of scientific literature on the state of nature.

Delegates from 130 nations meeting in Paris from April 29 will vet the executive summary line-by-line. Wording may change, but figures lifted from the underlying report cannot be altered.

“We need to recognize that climate change and loss of nature are equally important, not just for the environment, but as development and economic issues as well,” Robert Watson, chair of the U.N.-mandated body that compiled the report, told AFP, without divulging its findings.

“The way we produce our food and energy is undermining the regulating services that we get from nature,” he said, adding that only “transformative change” can stem the damage.

Deforestation and agriculture, including livestock production, account for about a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, and have wreaked havoc on natural ecosystems as well.

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Activists sing songs at the Extinction Rebellion group’s environmental protest camp at Marble Arch in London, April 25, 2019, during the group’s protest calling for political change to combat climate change. VOA

‘Mass extinction event’

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report warns of “an imminent rapid acceleration in the global rate of species extinction.”

The pace of loss “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years,” it notes.

“Half-a-million to a million species are projected to be threatened with extinction, many within decades,” it continues.

Many experts think a so-called “mass extinction event” — only the sixth in the last half-billion years — is already under way.

The most recent saw the end of the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago, when a 10-kilometerwide asteroid strike wiped out most life forms.

Scientists estimate that Earth is today home to about 8 million distinct species, a majority of them insects.

A quarter of catalogued animal and plant species are being crowded, eaten or poisoned out of existence.

The drop in sheer numbers is even more dramatic, with wild mammal biomass — their collective weight — down by 82 percent.

Humans and livestock account for more than 95 percent of mammal biomass.

humans, extinction
Climate change activists demonstrate opposite the Bank of England in the financial district in London, April 25, 2019, during environmental protests by the Extinction Rebellion group. VOA

Population growth

“If we’re going to have a sustainable planet that provides services to communities around the world, we need to change this trajectory in the next 10 years, just as we need to do that with climate,” noted WWF chief scientist Rebecca Shaw, formerly a member of the U.N. scientific bodies for both climate and biodiversity.

The direct causes of species loss, in order of importance, are shrinking habitat and land-use change, hunting for food or illicit trade in body parts, climate change, pollution, and alien species such as rats, mosquitoes and snakes that hitch rides on ships or planes, the report finds.

“There are also two big indirect drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change: the number of people in the world and their growing ability to consume,” Watson said.

Once seen as primarily a future threat to animal and plant life, the disruptive impact of global warming has accelerated.

Shifts in the distribution of species, for example, will likely double if average temperature go up a notch from 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) to 2C.

So far, the global thermometer has risen 1C compared with mid-19th century levels.

The 2015 Paris Agreement enjoins nations to cap the rise to “well below” 2C. But a landmark U.N. climate report in October said that would still be enough to boost the intensity and frequency of deadly heat waves, droughts, floods and storms.

Global inequity

Other findings in the report include:

  • Three-quarters of land surfaces, 40 percent of the marine environment, and 50 percent of inland waterways across the globe have been “severely altered.”
  • Many of the areas where Nature’s contribution to human wellbeing will be most severely compromised are home to indigenous peoples and the world’s poorest communities that are also vulnerable to climate change.
  • More than 2 billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, 4 billion rely on natural medicines, and more than 75 percent of global food crops require animal pollination.
  • Nearly half of land and marine ecosystems have been profoundly compromised by human interference in the last 50 years.
  • Subsidies to fisheries, industrial agriculture, livestock raising, forestry, mining and the production of biofuel or fossil fuel energy encourage waste, inefficiency and overconsumption.

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The report cautioned against climate change solutions that may inadvertently harm nature.

The use, for example, of biofuels combined with “carbon capture and storage” — the sequestration of CO2 released when biofuels are burned — is widely seen as key in the transition to green energy on a global scale.

But the land needed to grow all those biofuel crops may wind up cutting into food production, the expansion of protected areas or reforestation efforts. (VOA)