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Last Updated: Monday February 22 2010 18:24 GMT

Humans put orangutans in danger

Orangutan homes destroyed

Orangutans are being forced out of their natural habitat in Indonesian Borneo to make way for farming palm oil, a BBC investigation has found.

Palm oil is a cheap vegetable oil. It's in loads of foods but it's hardly ever written on packet labels.

The orangutan population in the area has halved because they've been pushed out to make room for palm oil farms.

The investigation claims the Indonesian government admits 50,000 orangutans have died because of de-forestation.

As the rainforests are burned to make way for farming palm oil, orangutans are forced to move homes.

It's thought sometimes they're even killed because workers see them as a nuisance when they're trying to clear the land.

A baby orangutan
The name orangutan means person of the forest
They are the largest tree-living mammals
They eat insects, leaves, bark, flowers and fruit.

Palm oil

Exporting palm oil is something Indonesia relies on to bring money into the country.

The oil is used in things like biscuits, margarine, bread and crisps made here in the UK.

It is possible to find sustainable palm oil - meaning it comes from places that pass an environmental test - but only 3% of the world's palm oil is certified sustainable.

And it's not just orangutans who are victims of palm oil farming.

According to Greenpeace (an environmental charity), the industry creates massive amounts of greenhouse gases and is contributing to global warming.