Monday, June 22, 2009

Research paper - Orangutans

According to Drescher-Neilsen’s article (2009), the population of orangutans has been decreasing. But extinction of the orangutan could affect not only orangutans but also human beings, because orangutans look very much like a human being. According to Drescher-Neilsen (2009), orangutans have a mental faculty that knows how to live as a human being. It was caused by human activities that orangutans have been exterminated although they have such mental abilities. There is a positive proof in Korea, which is the DMZ. The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the cold war’s last frontier, and it has been separating North and South Korea for nearly 60 years now. Because the Korean War was stopped by an armistice, the divided Koreas have remained at war since 1953. Therefore, the DMZ doesn’t have humans, but it has a variety of living things. That is, the DMZ shows humans strong evidence that humans have been destroying nature. As in this example, though they are intelligent, the orangutans have been threatened because of humans. If they can’t survive, it means that people are also influenced by this same condition. Eventually, human beings also could be killed. So, extinction of the orangutan is an important problem for humans to solve. In order to solve this problem, people have to know what is causing the orangutan’s extinction. For this reason, many researchers have tried to find the reason, and all of them say that this extinction has been caused by human activities. Specially, Rick Ruffin said that the reason of this phenomenon is humans’ demand for getting palm oil, illegal logging, and a desire to possess of the orangutan as a pet (Ruffin, 2007). Finally, these human’s demands make forests devastated and the orangutan orphans. Therefore, there is some business going on in places; especially, Lone Drescher-Neilsen tells what Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) are doing to prevent the extinction of the orangutan (Drescher-Neilsen, 2009). On the other hand, other people say that because many communities in Borneo depend on the palm oil plantation which is orangutans’ habitat, people can’t condemn the industry.

The extermination of orangutans should be taken care of by humans immediately for three reasons. Those are that the orangutan should be protected because their extermination might cause another serious destruction of the ecosystem, people could live with alternative energy without destroying rainforest, and orangutans are the most similar animals with mankind.

First of all, extinction of orangutans might cause other ecosystems to be disturbed. According to the Honolulu zoo (n.d.), orangutans eat a variety of fruits and insects. Fruit, which takes a considerable part of most orangutan’s diet, has become a principal resource. That’s because when eating fruits, orangutans don’t eat the peel, instead they eat the seeds. The seeds have been distributed though orangutan’s feces into soil. And then, soil is supplied with nutritive elements from it, and most plants can be grown well in this rich soil. Thereby, forests, which are habitat of the orangutan, get help. In other words, these interactions happen in nature by giving and receiving each other’s effects. Though this interaction, if orangutans have been threatened, this kind of a circulating system might be broken off. Se-jeong Kim said, “There are not enough trees for orangutans to rest in or food for them to eat” (2009, para.6). It gives notice that the orangutan’s extinction is in progress, and it can affect other parts of the ecosystem.

Secondly, people should live without hurting orangutans’ habitat. Orangutans’ habitat has been disturbed by humans’ activities. But, some people cannot even realize that human activities hurt the environment, including orangutans, directly and indirectly. Orangutans are killed for the illegal wildlife trade. Poachers kill the mother orangutans and then sell their babies as pets (Christian Science Monitor, 2009). Humans hunt orangutans just for enjoying, not for living. In addition, logging is another way the humans’ activities are directly hurting them. It causes orangutans mostly living in palm plantations to lose their habitats. As an example, the palm trees providing palm oil are decreasing because of logging to get palm oil. “Palm oil is used as an ingredient in cookies, crackers and other processed snack foods” (Ruffin, 2007, para. 10). Although the companies using palm oil to produce their goods have been recommended to use other oils that have less effect on the environment, they are not trying to use other alternatives. Besides, the loggers cutting palm trees indirectly disturb the habitats of orangutans and other wild animals. Not only logging or hunting, but all humans activities using the environmental resources have destroyed the ecosystem in the earth. And it made natural resources depleted, so that orangutans’ life has been also damaged by the destroyed environment. Orangutans are threatened not only by the loss of their habitats, but also by being killed by humans and by humans’ selfish activities directly. Therefore, the decrease in the population of orangutans cannot be stopped unless harmful human activities are stopped.

Thirdly, we have to respect and protect orangutans as our relative ape. Lone Drescher-Neilsen said that orangutans are the most similar animal with mankind, because they have a mental ability to solve troubles like a human (Drescher-Neilsen, 2009). It means that extinction of the orangutan could affect humans in the future. Although they have a high intelligence to know how they could survive, if they can’t survive, humans, who know how to live, also could not survive. Cathy Rose A. Garcia said, “Humans are going extinct eventually” (2009, para. 5). Also, there is a positive proof in Korea, and that is the DMZ. It shows humans that humans are a cause to destroy the environment. Rick Ruffin said that the DMZ is the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. And he said, “The DMZ is host to this diversity of life strictly because it is a no man’s land” (2007, para. 15). The DMZ shows that it is humans’ fault that nature has been destroyed. In fact, nowadays, it is not easy to find the environment that has never been touched by humans. But humans should find out our error and correct it. Also we have to regard orangutans as like us. That is, destroying forests, which is orangutans’ house, is the same as destroying our houses, and threatening orangutans is same as threatening ourselves. Therefore, we have to protect them, because it is humans’ future.

Economists, opponents, claimed that natural resources should be used by humans because the human being is also one part of the ecosystem. Paul Abrams said, “Republicans have decided to use their claims that spending is not consumption, (and) that it does not create or preserve jobs” (2009, para.1). They argue that if people spend the natural resources, people make new things in the human society and those will be another piece of the environment on earth. But, it can never be true. People have believed either the natural resources would be recharged in the natural process or they can fix the environmental destruction whenever they need to do it, because people had lived on the natural resources by eating and using them as living stuffs without any problems. However, human beings were a part of the environment before they started to use the environment as a resource of industrial development. Since people have developed industry by using natural resources, the environment has been extremely destroyed by human activities. The problems are that people are using them so much faster than an appropriate rate to be renewed by themselves, and that some of environment destroyed cannot be remade in the natural process. As an example, Cathy Rose A. Garcia said that a biodiversity in the DMZ is attributable to the fact that no humans live there, and if there is no protest to keep the DMZ, some living things would be confronted by extinction. Also, she argued it is not sensible that humans live without animals and plants (Garcia, 2009). In the case of the forest, trees grow up by themselves. But it takes such a long time for them to become big trees. The palm trees used especially by orangutans to live disappear by logging to make palm oil that people use for food. So orangutans’ extermination is being caused because they are losing their habitats. In an undisturbed ecosystem, every single thing never hurts the other things. Even though everything preys on each other, they go back to the ecosystem by making a food chain when they die. But the natural resources used by people go back to nature as harmful effects. Also people use them not only for preying, but for wasting such as petting wild animals and using their bodies as a collection. In Rick Ruffin’s article, he said, “From 1850 to 1950 more than 100,000 tigers were hunted and killed” (2007, para.8). It was caused by Asian demand for tiger bones used in Oriental medicine. Hence human’s activities cause both depletion and destruction. Therefore spending as what people have done is more wasting than consumption. What is worse, according to Christian Science Monitor (2009), many companies of Indonesian loggers are making worse situations. The situations are that many employees are finding foods when they are working in the forests. That’s because many companies do not give their employees foods. For this reason, workers in the forests are hunting various animals as well as orangutans. Even though spending provides a variety of jobs, as economists have argued, it can also bring other problems.

In conclusion, humans should find ways to live in harmony with nature, and especially with orangutans. Before people use palm oil for their desire, a large number of orangutans had been in existence in the forests. Now, however, orangutans are faced with their extermination. It means that orangutan’s extermination is not a natural process. It is an obviously predicted disaster from what people have done to the environment. Such behavior that humans cause now will soon cause orangutans to be exterminated, as well as threaten humans’ life. In other words, by disappearing, orangutans, which interact with nature, make various fruits disappear as well. Moreover, although the orangutan has an intelligent ability, the way they are becoming extinct shows that humans would be extinct eventually. Consequently, for these reasons, humans should keep the orangutan, and find a way to live together.


Abrams, P. (2009, February 16). Winning the economic argument: show opponents this graph, and ask them to explain. Retrieved May, 30, 2009, from

Christian Science Monitor. (2009, May 28). Earth Talk: Orangutans’ homes in the trees are threatened. Retrieved May 30, 2009,from

Drescher-Neilsen, L. (2009, May 1). This environmental destruction amounts to orangutan genocide; Comment. The Independent. Retrieved May 7, 2009, from LexisNexis.

Garcia C. (2009, February 29). Book Imagines World Without Humans. The Korean Times. Retrieved May 30,2009, from

Orangutan. (n.d.). Honoluluzoo. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from

Ruffin, R. (2007, October 18). Keep DMZ a Place Of Peace. The Korean Times. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from

Sejeong, K. (2009, May 3). Indonesia Campaigning for Orangutans. The Korean Times. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from

1 comment: said...

We need to buy land and give it to the Orangutans so they can have a safe place to survive.
I hope it happens...