On the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species Borneans are endangered, at very high risk of extinction in the near future. Sumatrans are critically endangered, among the world’s 25 most endangered primates.

Humans cause their greatest threats: habitat loss, hunting and disease. Clearing forests is often the first phase of development. It destroys orangutan habitat because the forests humans want are often those orangutans need. Logging, oil palm plantations and natural resource industries have cleared vast tracts of Bornean and Sumatran forest. Development is also at the root of fires that have eradicated much forest, even if natural droughts set the stage. Humans hunt orangutans for food, as pests and to sell to the illegal wildlife trade. Development enables hunting by making forest foods scarce. Orangutans leave the forest seeking food, often raid farms or plantations, and become easy targets. Development also increases disease threats. Orangutans are susceptible to many human diseases, even tuberculosis, polio, and hepatitis.

BOS Canada efforts to protect orangutans include:

  • Preserving current habitat and wild orangutans
  • Increasing habitat for wild and rehabilitant orangutans
  • Rehabilitating former wild orangutans and their offspring
  • Creating and overseeing rehabilitation and reintroduction programs
  • Reducing human orangutan conflict
  • Monitoring disease in wild and captive orangutan populations
  • Conducting orangutan surveys to monitor populations
  • Reducing the impact of logging
  • Translating IUCN great-ape related documents (e.g., best practices guidelines on reintroduction, conflict management) into Indonesian


  • Avoid products using non-sustainable rainforest resources (e.g., protected tropical woods, especially palm oil)
  • Read the Orangutan Foundation International’s information about palm oil: Link.
  • Avoid activities that exploit or mistreat orangutans (e.g., pets, entertainment, intrusive research)
  • Recycle, especially cell phones (
  • Support orangutans through BOS Canada and other orangutan protection organizations

Conservation Links

The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP)
From the GRASP Website:
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) is an innovative and ambitious project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with an immediate challenge – to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by wild gorillas (Gorilla beringei, G. gorilla), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus) and orangutans (Pongo abelii, P. pygmaeus) across their ranges in equatorial Africa and south-east Asia.

IUCN Best Practices for Great Ape Conservation
From the IUCN Best Practices for Great Ape Conservation Website:
The IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group is developing a series of guidelines to address critical issues in great ape conservation, drawing on the expertise of PSG members to create a consensus of best practices for field conservationists. Each publication in the new series will provide up-to-date guidance for scientists working on a daily basis with great apes, as well as for the many development organizations, donors and government agencies that are involved in great ape conservation. These guidelines can be downloaded, free, for their website. They are available in multiple languages, including English, French, and Indonesian.

Kinabatangan Orang-Utan Conservation Project (KOCP)
From the KOCP Website:
Kinabatangan Orang-Utan Conservation Project or KOCP was set up in 1998 by HUTAN in collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department. The goal of the project is to achieve long-term viability of Orang-utan populations in Sabah. The project’s objective is to restore harmonious relationships between people and the Orang-utan, which in turn will support local socio-economic development compatible with habitat and wildlife conservation. Today, the project consists of highly motivated team of 35 trained staff from the Kinabatangan community, who will ensure that the initiative continues to protect their heritage.

The Sabah, Malaysia Wildlife Department Orangutan Conservancy

World Wildlife Fund

IUCN Red List of the Most Endangered Primates