Annual event raises awareness concerning orangutans and their endangered status as their forest home on Borneo and Sumatra is threatened by agricultural conversion and fires. The theme this year is “Working together toward sustainable solutions."
November 1, 2015 - Santa Monica, CA - Orang Utan Republik Foundation. Orangutans, the only great ape naturally found in the forests of Southeast Asia, face an uncertain future. Their rain forest home on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra continues to be destroyed as vast agricultural estates replace millions of hectares of bio-diverse jungle each year. The 2015 El Niño phenomenon and annually set fires by plantation managers have created widespread conflagrations degrading and destroying habitat as well as killing wildlife. As a consequence orangutans on Borneo remain endangered and those on Sumatra are critically endangered according to the IUCN’s Redbook.
In 2005, Orangutan Caring Week (OCW) was established by the non-profit Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) to draw attention to the species and its plight as well as to provide people an opportunity to take action and to care about the future of orangutans. It also gives orangutan, conservation, and zoological organizations opportunities to discuss their programs with the media and at schools and other institutions. The theme for OCW this year is “Working together toward sustainable solutions”. The theme drives home the need for organizations and people to get together and to harness limited resources to implement conservation solutions for the betterment of the species, which is still on the brink of extinction. That would include acquiring and managing large tracks of forests as conservation concessions.
OCW is being coordinated this year by the consortium, World Orangutan Events, and supported by dozens of organizations. OURF President Dr. Gary Shapiro encourages everyone to participate in ways that are informative, inspiring and engaging. “It is important that we enroll the public to better understand the challenges facing one of our closest primate cousins and to give them ways to participate in sustainable solutions while there still is time” said Shapiro. Indeed, only 6,300 orangutans remain in relict populations on the northern portion of Sumatra while on Borneo, thousands have perished in recent times due to massive deforestation, fires, killing as pests, illegal hunting, and poaching for the illegal pet trade. Conservationists and wildlife managers continue to struggle to manage the growing number of confiscated, ex-captive animals in rehabilitation stations while securing forested areas for reintroduction and at the same time, insuring the remaining populations of wild orangutans have adequate habitat for the foreseeable future.
Events are being planned in countries around the world. Zoos in Spain and USA, nonprofits in Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, and many others are hosting events to raise awareness and promote action on behalf of the orangutan.
Orangaware.org’s Holly Draluck also would like people to come to understand that the habitat of the orangutan, the tropical rain forest, is vital to not only orangutans but to other wildlife and to all of us on this planet. Rainforests and related ecosystems provide important services from climate moderation, to water quality and erosion control, to storehouses of genetic, species and ecological biodiversity. The international awareness event, Orangutan Caring Week, gives us the opportunity to inform citizens in our own communities of this connection and continue to enlighten local people in areas near orangutan habitat. Holly says, “If we can save orangutans, we can save the world!” By saving these beautiful red-haired apes it would mean that we are able to make the necessary changes to our own global environmental impact through the products we buy and choices we make in time to save not only orangutans but all the species on earth - including man”.
For more information about Orangutan Caring Week, the activities being scheduled, and what people can do to participate,visit www.orangutancaringweek.org. To schedule an interview with a member of the World Orangutan Events, go to www.orangutancaringweek.com/Contact-Us.php