Massive forest fires in Indonesia that have caused a toxic haze to spread as far as Singapore and peninsular Malaysia are also seriously affecting endangered orangutans and their habitat, a rescue foundation said Tuesday.
Jakarta has deployed thousands of troops as temporary fireman and deployed dozens of water-bombing aircraft to battle blazes that are turning pristine forest into charred landscape in Sumatra and Borneo islands.
The fires — usually started by illegal burning to clear land for farming — have unleashed a choking haze across parts of southeast Asia.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said Tuesday that the haze was affecting hundreds of great apes in its care at rescue centres and wildlife re-introduction shelters.
“The thick smoke does not only endanger the health of our staff… but also it affects the 355 orangutans we currently care for”, the foundation said in a statement, referring to just once cetre in Kalimantan
“As many as 37 young orangutans are suspected to have contracted a mild respiratory infection,” it added.