Many are the little visitors who come daily to the sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers for orangutans and monkeys found around the city of Sandakan, Borneo. Here they can easily obtain the daily rations of food which are becoming more complicated to find in their own jungle.
In the last 25 years, the rain forest of Borneo, one of the ecosystems with highest biodiversity on earth, has been drastically reduced due to the abusive deforestation. According to WWF in 1985 the percentage of untouched tropical rainforest in Borneo was 73,7%. This same research estimates that in 2020 the percentage of jungle will be 32,6%, which represents a loss of the 41,1% of virgin rainforest area.
The problem is further aggravated when, despite the work of NGOs and international organizations, the Malaysian government promotes and campaigns for the conversion of tropical rainforests into land for oil palm plantations, which produce so profitable palm oil used for obtaining cosmetics, cooking oils and other products. In 2008, Malaysia produced 17.7 million tons in 4.5 million hectares of land, making it the second largest producer of palm oil in the world, employing more than 570,000 people.
Unfortunatelly, it represents one of the bases in the area´s economy, something not very compatible with the wildlife conservation. The jungle begs for help, only social awareness could change their fate.
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All images © Contemplate the Planet
Photographer: Javier Pérez-Cuadrado de Santiago