They face many threats with the main ones being illegal logging, palm oil (and the resultant habitat loss) and also the illegal wildlife trade. Many rescue centres receive young that have been in the pet trade. These cute babies soon become too big too handle and are often handed in to centres. The tragedy is that the baby would have seen it’s mother killed as an orangutan mother never willingly lets go of her baby. Orangutans reproduce at a slow rate. The females start when they are 15, they are usually pregnant for around 8 months and once they have given birth there is an interval of around 6-8 years before they have another baby. This long period between births coupled with all of the threats they are facing makes the future uncertain for orangutan. They can rear around 4-5 young if they live to an average age of 50 in the wild, twins are born to orangutan in captivity but this doesn’t happen successfully in the wild as the mother has to carry her offspring for such a long time.
Habitat loss is a huge problem and many rescue centres see the fallout of the illegal logging and palm oil trade. Some of the orangutan that come in to the centre have been beaten or tortured, as they are treated as pests. With their fruit trees disappearing they eat what they can find, sometimes the young fruits in the palm oil plantations. Many die at the hands of people involved in this industry. They are also seen as status symbols; if you can afford a pet orangutan then you must have money or connections, and they are highly sought after on the black market.