World Orangutan Day on 19 August 2013: How to Get Involved

by Jules on August 19, 2013

Support the iconic yet critically endangered orangutans on 19 August 2013, which has been designated as an international awareness day of these intriguing Asian primates.

Native to just two countries in Asia: Indonesia and Malaysia, with the two regions of Borneo and Sumatra, the persistent destruction of the orangutans’ lowland forest habitats has led to a critical drop in the animal’s population. The forests are cut down to provide timber or burned to allow for the production of palm oil. The orangutan is now considered a critically endangered species according to the WWF.

It’s estimated that there are as few as 7,300 Sumatran orangutans remaining in the wild, placing it in the critically endangered category – in fact, if the logging rate continues at the current pace, this species will be extinct within a generation. The Bornean orangutan population is estimated to be around 45,000 – 69,000 individuals remaining in the wild, placing it in the endangered category.

Did you know that the orangutan is the largest tree-climbing mammal on earth? Dubbed the ‘man of the forest’ their arms are incredibly powerful, with a span of up to 2 meters. Their diet is mainly comprised of fruit.

These majestic creatures have suffered sustained threats including habitat loss and hunting. Alarmingly, orangutans have also been captured illegally as supplied as pets. The WWF’s campaign works to conserve their remaining habitat, promote more sustainable forestry methods locally and stop the illegal pet trade.

This year on World Orangutan Day there are things that you can do to help. You can adopt an orangutan via the WWF and on a day to day basis, buy only sustainable paper, wood and palm oil products. Next time you’re in a food or stationary shop, look at the labelling for details. Many common products such as breakfast cereals, chocolate bars and even toiletries contain palm oil. Help raise awareness by sharing ways to help on facebook and twitter. Follow the official site for more details.

Watch the video below which shows the rescue and care of Baim, a young primate affected by poaching and cared for at the Orangutan Rescue Center:

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