Two baby orangutans play with each other at the wildlife department in Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia. (Reuters Photo/Olivia Harris)

Bornean Orangutans, Whale Sharks, Winghead Sharks Facing Extinction


JULY 10, 2016

Jakarta. After an assessment done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Bornean orangutan and two shark species, whale shark and winghead shark, are found to be at an exponential risk of extinction.

The Bornean Orangutan, a cousin of the Sumatran Orangutan, is now listed as critically endangered, while the two shark species are now listed as endangered.

“These new IUCN Red List assessments emphasise how urgent it is for the conservation community to act strategically to protect our planet’s incredible diversity of life,” Jane Smart, IUCN global species program director, said on Friday (08/07).

According to IUCN, both species of orangutans are currently at an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, mostly due to population loss driven by hunting and habitat degradation, as habitats are turned into palm, rubber or paper plantations.


“This is full acknowledgement of what has been clear for a long time: orangutan conservation is failing,” Andrew Marshall, an author of the IUCN assessment, told Mongabay.

Two of the species are Asia’s only great apes and based on data from the World Wildlife Fund, only 45,000 to 69,000 Bornean orangutans still remain, found in Malaysia's Sabah and Sarawak and Indonesia's Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, whale shark populations have been on the decrease for the last 75 years, due to risks of large-scale fishing in southern China and Oman, as well as being killed by ship propellers.

The winghead shark, a species of the distinctive hammerhead sharks, is also highly threatened due to unregulated fishing and their vulnerability in being easily tangled in fishing nets.

The IUCN said the population of the Winghead sharks are hard to determine, but a recent survey from Indonesia’s fish markets found only one winghead shark among approximately 20,000 sharks of other species.