Save Our Cousins

Orangutans are our kin in the trees,
They swing & play with so much ease.
But their homes are in danger,
From loggers & poachers,
Save them before they go extinct, please!

They’re our closest ancestors and we’ve treated them most inhumanely. WWF says Borneo alone may lose 220,000 sq km of rainforest by 2030 (30% of its total land area, more than the size of the UK). There are 3 species of orangutan – Bornean, Sumatran, and Tapanuli – and all three species are critically endangered. There are just 100,000 Bornean, 14,000 Sumatran, and 800 Tapanuli orangutans left in the wild.

The tropical rainforests of Indonesian Borneo – the third-largest island in the world – are home to an incredible diversity of plants and animals, including the orangutan. More than 75% of the world’s orangutans rely on the bounty of lush rainforests for survival. Even their name comes from the Malay words orang and hutan, “person of the forest.

Dr Herlina Hartanto, Executive Director of YKAN, The Nature Conservancy’s Indonesian conservation partner, says the tropical forests in Indonesian Borneo are disappearing at an alarming rate. “Orangutans are losing their natural habitats and are forced to venture into new territories, many of which do not provide adequate protection,” Dr Hartanto says. In July, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature changed the status of Bornean orangutans from “endangered” to “critically endangered.”

Aug 19 is World Orangutan Day. Spare a thought for our poor, gentle, endangered cousins. Raise awareness, spread the message, buy green products, support organizations that seek to save the creatures, and lobby for reforestation and rainforest conservation.