Orangutans are in danger. Currently, several companies are destroying their habitats. There are a few species of this type of monkey, but they chose to live in different homes. And soon they won’t have a place to call home.
The Sumatran Orangutan lives in Sumatra, Indonesia. The UN classifies it as possibly the first Great Ape species that may go extinct, and the reasons for this undoable threat is the illegal pet trade and the destruction of their habitat. They estimate their number at 6,600 only (in the wild), living in an area of only 900,000 hectares. Greenpeace estimates are at around 15,000 to 25,000 for all areas where they live – Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – and believe that their numbers reduced by approximately 30 to 50% in only 10 years. Their habitat has shrunk by a whopping 80% in only 20 years.
One of the main culprits is oil palm plantations, which are the area’s number one environmental threat. As a matter of fact, this is the reason for the loss of half of Sumatra’s forests in the last 25 years, a piece of land that was classified as one of the planet’s few but most important biodiversity hotspots. And, since the plantations are close to the forest, these lovely animals are considered pests and killed since they stop by the plantations, looking for food. Who is one of the main guilty parties? Nestle. Another factor for losing their home is the logging underway for Asian Pulp and Paper Corporation.
The outcry to keep this beautiful beast alive is partly due to the importance of its role in the cycle of life. They are considered a ‘keystone’ species, meaning that other wildlife – plant and animal – are greatly affected. They help with spreading of seeds since they are almost always on the move when they are awake. But, as we say, this is a ‘circle’ of life: in return, the forest is home to the orangutan and keeps is safe.
The sad news is, in 2007, the UN reported that the orangutan’s habitat may very well be gone within 15 years – meaning 2022. They estimated the remaining population at 60,000 at the time and state that other threatened species, such as the tiger, rhinoceros and Asian elephant are in the same boat. They announced the emergency, saying that the famous reddish great apes will be gone shortly thereafter as well.
What you can do:
- Post this article in as many social networks possible
- Donate to Greenpeace or Orangutans-sos.org
- Boycott Kit Kat and other Nestle products (Nestle does make juice and some vegan products, including Nescafe)
- Write to the heads of Nestle and Asian Pulp and Paper ask them to stop their clearcutting or supporting it by purchasing from companies that do
- Adopt an Orangutan through WWF http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/orangutans/#help
- By sustainable wood, paper and palm oil
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)