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World Orangutang Day
August 19 @ 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
International Orangutang Day is celebrated each year to recognise one of the most iconic victims of the palm oil industry.
Human activities have caused severe declines in populations and ranges. Threats to wild orangutan populations include poaching, habitat destruction because of palm oil cultivation, and the illegal pet trade.
All three orangutang species of Orangutang are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red list of Endangered species. Although exact population counts are difficult to ascertain, the scientific community generally agrees that there are somewhere between 55,000 and 65,000 wild orangutans left.
A century ago, Orangutang lived in forests all across South-East Asia, from southern China to Java. Today wild populations are exclusively found on the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia.
These islands are also home to lots of other threatened species – including the Sumatran tiger, clouded leopard and Asian elephant. Protecting the orangutan’s home helps those animals too.
Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates. They use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage.
The most arboreal of the great apes, Orangutang spend most of their time in trees. Whilst they are mostly solitary animals, social bonds occur primarily between mothers and their dependent offspring, who remain together for the first two years.
From 1992-2000, the population of the Sumatran orangutang is considered to have declined by more than 50%. Its relative, the Bornean orangutang population fell nearly 43 percent in the past decade, from 35,000 in 1996 to 20,000 in 2006. Since these studies were done, deforestation rates have continued to climb which means the actual populations could be well below these.