With much of our attention this month being on orangutans, it is perhaps time to lend our focus to the habitats in which they spend their lives: the rainforest. By definition, the rainforest is described as a ‘luxuriant, dense forest, rich in biodiversity and found typically in tropical areas with heavy rainfall.’ But what else is there to know about this mysterious mass of nature?
Covering only around 2% of the earth’s surface, the rainforest still manages to provide a home for 50% of the planet’s plants and animals. Not only does wildlife inhabit the rainforest, but it is believed that 50,000,000 tribal people depend on the rainforest for their food and shelter, too. In addition to the inhabitants of the rainforest, we as a general population have a lot of reliance on the ecosystem it provides, in that the rainforest is able to help regulate the temperatures and weather patterns worldwide. Not only does our planet benefit from the rainforest’s simple existence, but within four square miles of these tropical conditions, you will find 1500 flowering plant species and 750 types of trees – many of which provide plants that are helpful in combating cancer. In fact, the rainforest is home to a whole host of natural medicines, with 70% of the plants used to treat cancer alone being found only in our tropical rainforests.
All of the above may seem boggle the mind, but these are facts that must be noted when we also consider how rapidly the rainforests are vanishing. In the beginning of time, it is thought that there was around 6 million square miles of rainforest to be found on earth. Due to deforestation there is less than half the amount of that left remaining, and at the rate that rainforests have been vanishing, it is estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of their species will go extinct every 10 years – to put that into perspective, that’s the same as destroying 80,000 football fields’ worth of ecosystem every day.
One of the species at highest risk is of disappearing is, of course, the native orangutan. A long-suffering member of the rainforest family, the poor orangutan has seen persistent threats made to its habitat over the past few decades. These issues range all the way from hunters and poachers, through to society’s insatiable desire for palm oil which results in a monumental loss of rainforest each and every year – taking its helpless inhabitants with it.
There will be many more blogs over the course of this month discussing all things orangutan and rainforest. However, for now we would like to encourage you to take part in saving the rainforest (and its wildlife) by offering a few options of how to help. First and foremost, there are of course our projects: there’s a vast array of great trips to choose from (and plenty of them are on sale throughout this month!!!), so take a look and discover how your altruism can provide a world of difference to animals the planet over. There are also donations you can make to numerous charities, videos and articles saturating the internet, all of which offer a wealth of information to learn from, as well as an abundance of other options (again, stay tuned for further blogs this month that’ll outline this vital information!)
It only takes one of us to start making a difference, by lending our time and skills to the cause but also to raise awareness, and to encourage our friends to get involved, too. What better time than the present to start making changes to better our future?
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