Conservation status

The IUCN considers the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) to be Critically Endangered. The remaining five species of great apes are considered Endangered. The conservation status of great apes can be easily summarized. Throughout their entire range, all species of great ape are likely to become extinct within a generation. The major threat to their survival is unrelenting competition with humans. Great ape habitat is being transformed for human agricultural and commercial uses, rapidly bringing all wild great ape populations into direct conflict with people. Hunting of great apes to fill cooking pots is completely unsustainable, and particularly acute throughout Africa. This trade in bushmeat has accelerated the already critical decline in all great ape populations. Scientists working in the field estimate that there are no more than approximately 200,000 chimpanzees left in Africa, perhaps 100,000 gorillas, 25,000 bonobos, and a combined total of 20,000 orangutans left in Sumatra and Borneo. Conservation of these species is primarily dependent on the governments of the countries in which they exist. The best hope for their survival is habitat protection and preservation which is supported by major conservation organizations throughout the world.

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