SABAH, MALAYSIAN BORNEO dominant male orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) Miskam gazes into the eyes of baby Charlie, his hand on mother Britt's back, near the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok. The centre takes in injured and rescued orangutans from the area, and rehabilitates them until they are ready for release back to the wild in the 43sq mile protected rainforest on the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. The centre is supported by the Orangutan Appeal UK.
Bornean orangutans are endangered. They are sometimes hunted for food and often for the illegal pet trade. Mining and forest fires also play their part, but the biggest risk to orangutan habitat is the palm oil trade, which is responsible for the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest in Borneo. Some UN scientists believe that the growth of palm oil plantations could damage orangutan habitat beyond repair as soon as 2012.