Saving one of our Closet Living Relatives by Protecting the Orangutans habitat.
- Saving one of our Closet Living Relatives by Protecting the Orangutan’s Forest.
Orangutans have called the forests of Borneo home for millions of years, but today their forests are disappearing at alarming rates. The world’s last orangutans are fighting for their survival. August 19th, World Orangutan Day, marks a day to celebrate orangutans, raise awareness about the threats they are facing, and support solutions that will help them endure.
The tropical rainforests of Borneo – the third largest island in the world – straddle the equator in Southeast Asia and are home to an incredible diversity of plants and animals. Among them is the orangutan. More than 85 percent the world’s orangutans rely on the bounty of Borneo’s lush rainforest for survival.
Orangutans share 97 percent of our DNA, and are one of our closest living relatives. They are also one of the planet’s rarest and most iconic species.
The orangutan’s forest is also home to rural communities, supplying rich traditions and culture as well as food, clean water, medicine and livelihoods. The orangutan’s forest is also a natural factory, absorbing carbon to regulate our global climate and providing wood products we all use on a daily basis.
Industrial timber, mining, and the rapidly growing palm oil industries are destroying the orangutan’s forest faster than almost anywhere on earth. As a result, wildlife and people are losing their homes. More than half of Borneo’s lowland tropical rainforest – one of the great lungs of our planet – is already gone.
The loss of the orangutan’s forest affects us all.
“Healthy forests sustain orangutans while allowing people to thrive and prosper,” said Jack Hurd, Asia Pacific Deputy Director, The Nature Conservancy. “The Nature Conservancy is working in Borneo with industry, government, and communities to empower forest guardians to conserve the forest for generations to come and protect one of our closest living relatives – the orangutan.”
“The tropical forests in Indonesia are disappearing at an alarming rate: around 700,000 hectares (or 1.7 million acres) per year in the last several years. As a result, orangutans are losing their natural habitats and are forced to venture into new territories, many of which do not provide adequate protection and shelter,” said Dr. Herlina Hartanto, Director of the Indonesia Terrestrial Program, The Nature Conservancy. “78% of the orangutan population in Indonesian Borneo lives outside protected areas.”
“To maintain the existence of orangutans, we must prevent damage to their habitat and prevent poaching of this species,” said Dr. Ahmad Yanuar, Orangutan Program Manager & Primatologist, The Nature Conservancy. “By saving these species we also save other species and livelihoods.” Read more on how you can help save one of our closet living relatives by Protecting the Forest.