While our attention is focused on terrorists behind every tree & under every bed, moral values and gay marriage, orangutans are disappearing so rapidly that unless serious habitat preservation measures are taken our grandchildren will never know a world inhabited with endangered species like the Orangs.
A thousand years ago were found throughout Southeast Asia ranging all the way into southern China. Their populations probably numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Unfortunately, the species today is found only in limited populations on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Conservation estimates put the number at around 50,000.
The destruction and degradation of the tropical rain forest, particularly the lowland forests, is the main reason orangutans are threatened. This has been caused primarily by human activity: (intense permitted logging, illegal logging, conversion to palm oil plantations and farm lands, mining, settlements, road construction) and also by natural phenomena (large-scale fires).
Additionally, the illegal animal trade has been a significant factor in the decline the wild orangutan population. Finally, orangutans are occasionally hunted and eaten by some of the indigenous peoples of Borneo as well as immigrant loggers who do not have a dietary prohibition to eating primate bushmeat. More
This book, Reflections of Eden : My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo by Birute M. F. Galdikas is a good place to begin learning about these fascinating creatures.