2016 Photo Contest, Nature, 1st prize

Tough Times for Orangutans


Tim Laman

National Geographic

27 July, 2015

A member of International Animal Rescue carries a baby Bornean orangutan out of a house where it was being kept illegally as a pet, in the village of Sungai Besar.

Orangutans are found in the wild only in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. Sumatran orangutans are on the IUCN Red List as a 'critically endangered' species, with around 7,000 living out of captivity. Borneo orangutans, the world’s largest tree-dwelling animal, are listed as endangered. Numbers of both are decreasing sharply. Orangutans are facing a crisis in habitat, as logging activity, conversion to agriculture, and fires consume their forests. They are also poached for the illegal pet trade. In 2015, wildfires—spurred by drought and the effects of El Niño—devastated vast areas of rainforest in Sumatra and Borneo, driving out orangutans and putting them in increased danger from poachers, and into conflict with farmers as they searched for food.

About the photographer

Tim Laman

Tim has pursued his passion for exploring wild places and documenting little-known and endangered wildlife by becoming a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, wher...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
16.0 mm

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