The organization World Orangutan Events founded International Orangutan Day as a way to promote conservation and welfare. Each year on 19th August, conservationists and people all over the world take time to celebrate the existence of Orangutans while promoting awareness of their endangered status and encouraging the public to take action in protecting them and their habitats.
Orangutans are found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. These uncanny, human-like primates have been listed as critically endangered since 2008. Their struggles to survive come at the hands of deforestation for development of palm oil plantations and illegal logging. By some accounts they have lost 80% of their forest home and their population fell by 40-50% during 1990s and 2000s.
?The name “orangutan” is made of two Malay words, “orang” meaning “person” and “hutan” meaning “forest”, which when put together mean “man of the forest.”
?Humans have 97% of the same DNA as orangutans.
?Orangutans take about 15 years to grow to maturity and can live to the age of 60 or more.
?Bornean Orangutans chew on the leaves of the Dracaena cantleyi plant, which contains saponin, a chemical compound that produces a soapy lather. Its anti-inflammatory properties are the orangutan’s natural pain reliever and mostly used by mothers who apply it to their arms which can become sore from carrying offspring.
?On February 8, 2020, one of the Indonesian island’s critically endangered orangutans stretched out its hand to help a man out of snake-infested water. This moving encounter melted hearts all over the world.
To help save the orangutans, you can volunteer at your local zoo, donate to an orangutan rescue organization or adopt an orangutan at redapes.org.