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 Globalization’s Effect On The Orangutan Essay

2200 words - 9 pages

Introduction

Many have profited from the auspicious time created by globalization, however globalization has had the opposite effect on orangutans. This endangered species once thrived throughout South East Asia but is now confined to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Companies producing palm oil, have repeatedly placed economical expansion before the well being of non-human elements such as the orangutan. These companies have expanded onto the rainforests in hopes of economic growth. The Orangutan Foundation International, started by the most prestigious primatologist studying orangutans, Birutė Galdikas, warns due to palm oil plantations, “an area of forest equal to 300 soccer fields is being destroyed every hour” (“Why is the Orangutan in Danger”). At this rate, the Indonesian rain forests will be virtually destroyed in twenty years. Additionally, globalization has broadened the market of illegal pet trade to surrounding countries, and increased the demand for orangutans. The destruction of the rainforests and increase of illegal pet trade has been especially devastating to the orangutans. The two main causes of their nearing extinction that will be explored in this paper are, first, conversion of their natural habitat into palm oil plantations and, second, the effects of human-orangutan conflict (HOC). In order to restore their population it is essential for people to be educated on the issue, the rain forests to be restored, and the production of unsustainable palm oil minimized.

The Issue

The Orangutan population has been dwindling for years, however within the past decade alone,  the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list suggests the orangutan population has decreased by fifty percent (“Pongo Abelii”). This drastic population decrease has been in result of multiple factors, however the main causes are; loss of habitat to palm oil plantations and HOC. People have done close to nothing to protect the remaining orangutans from extinction. Instead, many support the palm oil companies which continue to convert what is left of the rainforests into plantations. The recent spike in palm oil production has lead to the drastic increase of Indonesia's rate of deforestation (“Conflict Palm Oil”). Indonesia has lost 80% of its rainforests in less than 50 years, causing them to have one of the highest deforestation rates in the world (“World Deforestation”). Furthermore, orangutans are pushed out of their habitat and onto plantations in search of food and shelter where they are treated as pests and often exterminated, captured, or sold illegally.

Effects of Palm Oil Production

One major issue which has caused the population of orangutans to drop so drastically is the increase of palm oil plantations. Despite the benefits of palm oil production to the people of Indonesia who live below the poverty line, the production comes at a severe cost to orangutans. The natural rainforest of Indonesia is destroyed to make room for...

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