The jungles of Borneo are rapidly being replaced with palm oil plantations in a bid to keep up with burgeoning global demands for bio-fuel, causing the deaths and displacement of increasing numbers of orangutans.
With European laws demanding 2% of all diesel to be vegetable oil, rising to 5.7% in 2010 and 10% by 2020, the demand for palm oil will only increase. This has led the government of Borneo to implement a plan that will create 40,000 square miles of plantations by 2010, 70% of which will replace existing forests. The standard practice for plantation firms is to burn the forest and then buy up the degraded land for a pittance. Lone Nielsen, director of the Borneo Orangutan Survival center, estimates that for each of the 227 orangutans they rescued last year, five more were killed in central Borneo alone, most often by loss of habitat and plantation workers.