Fears grow for orangutans struggling under toxic Indonesian haze

Fears grow for orangutans struggling under toxic Indonesian haze

A toxic haze caused by raging forest fires in Indonesia is now starting to affect the health of endangered orangutans in Borneo, an animal welfare group has warned. 
The fires, usually started by illegal burning to clear land for farming, have spread air pollution across the region, causing hundreds of schools to close in Malaysian states bordering Indonesia and prompting concerns ahead of Singapore’s Formula One race this weekend. 
A four-month-old baby and a 59-year-old plantation worker are reported to have died from respiratory problems and Jakarta has deployed thousands of troops and water-bombing aircraft to help control the fires across Sumatra and Borneo islands. 
On Tuesday, the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said that “as many as 37 young orangutans are suspected to have contracted a mild respiratory infection,” in its rehabilitation centre in Nyaru Menteng, near Palangkaraya, the capital city of Central Kalimantan. 
“The thick smoke does not only endanger the health of our staff at Nyaru Menteng, but also it affects the 355 orangutans we currently care for in the rehabilitation centre and the surrounding pre-release islands,” the foundation said in a statement. 

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