Professor Cheryl Knott featured at NSF.org

Published: February 15th, 2011

For the last 18 years, Cheryl Knott of Boston University has been racing the clock. While she researches orangutans in the rainforests of Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo, the numbers of this magnificent ape steadily plummet.

The outlook for orangutans–one of human’s closest relatives–is dire because there are only a few tens of thousands of them currently left in the wild, and they are found in only two places: the Sumatran rain forests, where they are critically endangered; and the Borneo rain forests, where they are endangered. The decline of the Sumatran and Bornean populations of orangutans is caused by varied threats, such as illegal logging, the conversion of rain forest to palm oil plantations and farmland, poaching and the pet trade.

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