As the problem of deforestation continues to spread around the globe, one brave orangutan has decided that he’s had enough. Loggers were tearing down trees left and right in the Ketapang Regency on the island of Borneo, when the orangutan began defending its home. Daring to climb across a fallen tree, the fearless creature charged towards an excavator (and the man inside), prepared to protect his forest dwelling.
Unfortunately, as the video footage shows, the animal fell short; he attempted to grab onto the excavator’s bucket, but fell from the tree before getting a good grip. The footage was reportedly filmed back in 2013, but was only released recently online.
A person from the Orangutan Protection Unit for the International Animal Rescue, a nonprofit group for animal welfare, was creeping under the animal with a dart gun. It’s reported that the animal was captured safely and moved away from the danger. The organization has a rescue and rehab in Ketapang, West Borneo, which is home to over 100 animals.
In a recent Facebook post, the charity revealed the heartbreaking footage of the orangutan desperately trying to save his home. “This desperate orangutan is frantically seeking refuge from the destructive power of the bulldozer; a machine that has already decimated everything else around him,” the post read.
Deforestation is a major problem in Borneo, and like other tropical nations, this spells bad news for an array of valuable (and often endangered) species. As the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) notes, Borneo is home to orangutans, clouded leopards and pygmy elephants, along with a number of other beautiful creatures.
But the lush forests these animals live in are being torn down for a number of profit-driven pursuits, including timber, palm oil, pulp, rubber and minerals. The WWF has also stated that over the last 60 years, orangutan populations have dropped by about 50 percent. And in just the last 20 years, roughly 55 percent of their natural habitats have been destroyed.
As the WWF explains:
With a current deforestation rate of 1.3 million hectares per year, only peat and montane forests would survive in the coming years. A 2012 study by WWF projected that if current deforestation rates continue, 21.5 million hectares will be lost between 2007 and 2020, reducing the remaining forest cover to 24 per cent. If this is the case, then Borneo – the world’s third largest island – could lose most of its lowland rainforests outside of protected areas by 2020.
Across the globe, rainforests are being decimated at a record pace. In 2016, estimates revealed that the Amazon rainforest experienced a massive 29 percent surge in deforestation, with over 8,000 square kilometers of natural beauty lost.
Deforestation efforts in Borneo may lead to the extinction of more than 100 species. But as WWF notes, preserving the rainforests doesn’t just help out the animals which live in it: The forests are actually essential for maintaining the island’s water supply. The rainforests also help to mitigate the effects of droughts and fires and “support ecological and economic stability in the lowlands.”
As is usual, Mother Nature provides and humans think they know better. Research has also shown that deforestation has a much greater impact on climate than fossil fuels. Ultimately, taking care of the Earth benefits humans just as much as it does every other living thing on the planet.