Illegal logging has been a major and complex problem and this can contribute to population decline. It brings another problem for the orangutans: logging roads make forests more accessible. Poachers come into the forest on logging roads, shoot mother orangutans, and capture the babies.
Studies have indicated that 200-500 orangutans from Indonesian Borneo alone enter the pet trade each year. Young orangutans are in demand for a flourishing pet trade, with each animal fetching several hundred dollars in city markets on nearby islands. This represents a real threat to wild orangutan populations as orangutans have an extremely low reproductive rate.
Another major threat to orangutan population is mining. Illegal open cast mining for gold and zircon in protected areas has turned the lush primary rainforest into a barren and lifeless desert. Mercury, used in the mining process, contaminates the river systems, killing fish and other wildlife like orangutan.
How to save orangutans
There are many things you can do to help save the orangutan on day-to-day basis apart from donating to the many orangutan charities. For starters, avoid purchasing tropical or exotic plywood and hardwood, palm oil-based products, and rayon viscose clothing. In addition, reduce your consumption of paper, and seek out recycled “treeless” paper sources.