I read today in the news that villagers in Borneo were attacking refugee Orangutans. Why would they do this?
In It’s Not Just Conflict That Motivates Killing of Orangutans by Davis et al. (2013), the authors identify number of conflict and non-conflict reasons reported in the study why orangutans were killed in a certain part of Indonesia:
- paid or forced to kill
- orangutans interrupted logging or forestry operations
- traditional medicine
- to sell or keep young as pets
- hobby/sport hunting
- for other trade of animals or meat
- killed accidentally or opportunistically while hunting other animals
The results from this survey are depicted in this graph:
Obviously in this case they were not attacked for food. The impression I got from the article makes me think it was probably motivated by people viewing them as pests or as a threat/danger. It is almost certainly more of a social reason than a biological reason. However, in the absence of specific evidence, it is probably not helpful to speculate why this occurred.