Nov 182011

A juvenile orangutans walks at a care center in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, on the island of Borneo, where hundreds of orangutans learn skills needed to survive in the wild. Photo: Associated Press

Tourists to Southeast Asia are often drawn to the region because of its diverse wildlife — including the intelligent orangutans. At the Singapore Zoo, visitors can even havebreakfast with orangutans, long a favorite of visitors to the city.

But some villagers in Indonesia — home to 90% of the 50,000 or so orangutans left in the wild — may instead eat the apes themselves for breakfast.

According to a survey of nearly 7,000 villagers in Kalimantan, part of the Indonesian island of Borneo, 750 to 1,800 orangutans were been killed between 2009 and 2010. The survey — the first of its kind — found that the animals are primarily being killed to protect farmers’ crops and for their meat, and sometimes are captured as pets. Continue reading »

Apr 272011

By David Mahood

As disparate as the subjects of tourism and biophilia would seem, it is apparent that in my life and countless others, they are indeed closely connected. Biophilia is a term created by my environmental hero, Edward O. Wilson, to describe the innate affinity, fascination, and awe that we humans have for other species. Judging from the rates that we visit our zoos and wildlife parks, it must be a common affliction. Yet today, many of us spend our vacations traveling to natural environments not knowing the effect tourism has on the habitats of the very species we set out to see.  Continue reading »

Apr 222011

Orangutan, Sumatra

The name Orangutan is made up of two words in the Malay language, “orang” and “hutan.”  Together they make up a phrase that translates to “forest man.”  This reddish long haired creature is the great Asian ape, presently only located on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

Unlike Mountain Gorillas that move on the ground, the remarkable aspect of Orangutans is that they are one of the heaviest animals in the world that lives and transports themselves through tips of the trees. The biggest males can weigh over 100 kilos and still have the ability to swing through the branches of the jungle and rest in nests built in the tree tops. Continue reading »