International Orangutan Day - Extinction In 25 Years?

International Orangutan Day - Extinction In 25 Years?

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on 19th Aug 2015

Throughout history, extinction has been a natural event. Different species of flora and fauna have died out due to a lack of adaptation to their environment, and this is nature’s way of keeping the animal and plant population in check.The real problem begins when human actions are accelerating the event. This is unfortunately the case for the Orangutan.

On August 19th every year, World Orangutan Day is held in celebration of the Great Apes and was created to raise awareness of their plight. The Orangutans, who we share 97% of our DNA with, are facing a situation so severe that many experts believe that their numbers in the wild could reach zero within the next 25 years.

The threats to the Orangutans are threefold, and they are all human influenced:

The biggest issue they face is habitat loss through deforestation. Huge swathes of the forest the Orangutans call their home are cut down every day to make way for Palm Oil plantations. Palm Oil is an extremely popular and profitable vegetable oil used by manufacturers to make everything from sweets to cosmetics. Due to the huge amount of money that can be made from a plantation, and the either loose or completely lacking environmental laws in place, Orangutan habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate. If they are in the way of the industry's so-called “progress,” they will simply be removed from the equation altogether.

The second problem facing the Orangutan population is the Illegal pet trade. Behind drugs, experts think that this is the second highest earning black market trade, with the profits reaching around $10 billion every year. Orangutans are taken from their natural environments and sold illegally; as pets, for consumption, for use in bio-medical research & medicine, and into zoo’s. Not only does this ruin the life of the individual Orangutan, but has a huge impact on the Orangutan population as a whole as mothers and babies are separated in the process.

The third and final problem for our arboreal cousins is the entertainment industry. Orangutans have been used in films for a long time, and although the public perception of animal use in the entertainment industry is changing, some people still perceive these wild animals as “cute and cuddly.” When on set, the animals are often stressed and unable to exhibit natural behaviours due to being taken from their natural environments.

World Orangutan Day was created to raise public awareness of these issues, and bring the problems Orangutans face every day to the forefront of the people's thoughts.

Great Apes are on the verge of becoming extinct due to human interference. It is estimated that there are only around 60,000 Orangutans left in the wild, and with only 7,500 of these being the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan, the time to act is now.

Here at The Great Projects we want to do all we can to help save the Orangutan. It is with that in mind, that we are currently offering 20% off of our Orangutan focused volunteer projects as well as an additional £100 donation to our partners at Orangutan Outreach for each project booked through us. This additional donation will enable those at Orangutan Outreach to continue the excellent work they are doing, and help protect the Orangutan species as a whole.

The Orangutans drastically need your help, and there has never been a better time to take action and help make a difference in their lives. Together we can make a difference.


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