Heartbreaking Photos Show Endangered Orangutans Navigating Indonesian Forest Devastated by Fire

Kelli Bender

Forest fires burning through Indonesia are leaving Bornean orangutans, a critically endangered species of orangutan native to the island of Borneo and Indonesia, in harm’s way.

According to The Telegraph, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to conserving the Bornean orangutan population, is caring for 37 young orangutans “suspected to have contracted a mild respiratory infection” from air pollution caused by the fire, at their rehabilitation center located near the capital city of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan.

The Washington Post reports that, in the past, forest fires, like the ones that have been burning throughout Indonesia since July, have been started illegally by palm oil farmer to clear land.

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty

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Along with endangering the health of orangutans under the care of rehabilitation groups like the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, these fires are also destroying the shrinking habitat wild Bornean orangutans have left.

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty

Recent photos taken of Indonesia’s Salat Island show orangutans walking through the burnt trees and charred ground left behind by the fires.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are 104,700 Bornean orangutans left in the wild.