Earth has experienced at least five major mass extinction events, of which the end of the dinosaurs wasn’t even the largest. (The end of the dinos that hadn’t evolved into birds, of course.) Now the planet is experiencing the sixth mass extinction, and growing evidence points to the culprit. It’s not asteroids or volcanoes or methane this time.
Since the year 1500, 77 known mammal species have vanished completely—none surviving in the wild or in captivity—with 35 of those disappearing since 1900.
Volunteers from International Animal Rescue (IAR) have been working on the ground in Borneo to save the lives of animals affected by a massive wildfire ravaging the island's forests. The group recently came to the rescue of a desperate orangutan and her baby — victims not only of the blaze, but of human cruelty as well.
"They were forced out of their forest home as a result of the fires and ended up in a village. The villagers were frightened and threw things at the terrified mother before attempting to capture and tie her up," IAR wrote in a post online. "Fortunately our team got to her just in time."
More than a dozen orangutans have needed rescue in recent weeks due to the fire, likely set by ranchers to clear land for farming, which has scorched many acres of protected forest that remain for these critically endangered primates.