International Orangutan Day - August 19th Each Year
16 August 2016 - Santa Monica, CA. To recognize the most iconic victim of the palm oil industry, International Orangutan Day has been set for August 19th, EVERY YEAR! This event is to help encourage the public to take action in preserving this amazing species.
From 1992-2000, the population of the Sumatran orangutan is considered to have declined by more than 50%. Its population has recently been estimated to be only 14,600. Its relative, the Bornean orangutan population fell nearly 43 percent in the past decade. It is now believed only 45,000 remain on Borneo, where the species was recently reclassified downward to CRITICALLY ENDANGERED by the IUCN Redbook. The IUCN study that led to this reclassification concluded that "the combined impacts of habitat loss, habitat degradation and illegal hunting equate to an 86% population reduction between 1973 and 2025."
Something has to be done to save orangutans and that is the reason for International Orangutan Day!
The Orang Utan Republik Foundaiton is spearheading a campaign this week to make the case that we since we share so much in common with the orangutan, we need to take their Critically Endangered status seriously and take action. The campaign is called #OrangutanIsUs which signifies how much alike we are. Many people know we share 97% of our genes with orangutans. We also share so much more with them. According to scientists, tell-tale features shared by both orangutans and humans include thickly enameled molar teeth with flat surfaces, greater asymmetries between the left and right side of the brain, an increased cartilage-to-bone ratio in the forearm, and similarly shaped shoulder blades.
We are asking that people post pictues of themselves on twitter, facebook, and instragram at #OrangutanIsUs, holding a printed picture of an orangutan or a phrase written on paper or white board stating something that we share with orangutans. When posting the picture, annotate it with the hashtag #OrangutanIsUs, then share it and tag it. An example of what is being asked is shown to the left.
Orangutans are being honored on August 19th as the victims of humankind's environmentally destructive activities within a global economy. The palm oil industry has been complicit in the decline of the orangutan species on both islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Other industries have also negatively affected orangutans including timber, mining, and the illegal pet trade.