Orangutan Caring Week - November 9-15, 2014
Orangutan Survival Depends on YOU!!!
We want you to participate in this worldwide event. Help build a "critical mass of concerned voices" each November to focus attention on the species through your efforts and those of other supporters.
We 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. Rainforests need to be sustainably managed to maintain these services. We want to inform citizens in our own communities of this connection and continue to enlighten local people in areas near orangutan habitat.
The Crisis Continues
The loss of the rainforest in Borneo & Sumatra is staggering. In December 2001, the Indonesian State Ministry of Environment estimated that between 5 million to 6 million acres of rain forest are destroyed each year. The United Nations Environmental Program called the situation an emergency in February 2007. Orangutan habitat is being lost at a rate 30% faster than previously thought, according to their report. Unless extreme action is taken soon, 98% of these forests could be gone in as little as 15 years, and wild orangutans along with them. Based on recent surveys, conservationists believe that only 30,000-40,000 orangutans remain in the wild.
Large-scale illegal logging is occurring at an unabated rate throughout Borneo and Sumatra in national parks like Tanjung Puting, Gunung Palung, and Gunung Leuser and other protected areas. Nearby regions of orangutan habtat are being converted to palm oil plantations that displace the great apes. In fact,the recent crisis in the sensitive Tripa Peat Swamps in Aceh, Sumatra paints an even grimmer future, with researchers predicting the remaining 200 orangutans have only a few years remaining, if the fires and conversion to palm oil continue unabated.
The Governor of Aceh and the legislature of Aceh approved an ill-advised forest spatial plan that threatens the moratorium status on forest development and puts 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) of protected forest onto the road towards conversion into palm oil plantations, mining operations, logging concessions, and a "spiderweb" of road development. The Tripa swamp would loose its protected status. The plan is now on the desk of the President of Indonesia waiting final approval.
Sadly, if human beings do not significantly alter the course of their behavior regarding the orangutan and the forests they live in, critical biodiversity, consisting of rare endangered fauna, more than 40 species of mammals and 200 species of exotic birds, could soon follow to extinction.
Our mission is therefore one of immediacy and global importance.
THEME FOR 2014: The theme for Orangutan Caring Week this year is "Sincere Commitment through Positive Action." We need to express our concern and resolve through activities and initiatives that go beyond mere talk. For some people, learning about the issues for the first time may require discussion and discourse. However, for many people who have been hearing about this species' plight, talk may not be enough.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Orangutan Caring Week is not only a great time to help people learn about the wonderful world of orangutans and their rainforest habitat, but it is the right time to encourage them to move to action so that they might be saved.
What can you do to show you care and take action? Plenty! First of all commit to doing at least one activity. Whatever you choose to do make it fun, make it understandable but most of all make sure that it reaches out and motivates people to want to do something about the potential loss of one of our planets most beautiful species: the orangutan.
Suggestions for events and activities:
1. Initiate an information booth/table at a local event or venue. Create colorful and informative displays with information and graphics from the internet (give credit to the organization you are referencing). And provide one or more calls to action (e.g., sign petitions, write letters to decision-makers)
2. Educate with slide shows/videos, posters, brochures, and other media at local schools, church and civic organizations. Deliver a public lecture. Let people know about the orangutan-rainforest-Global Climate connection! And provide one or more calls to action.
3. Conduct Fund-raising events for an orangutan support organization
4. Plant trees locally and support tree planting projects adjacent to orangutan habitat areas.
5. Encourage teacher involvement by suggesting a lesson on orangutans and rainforest ecology
6. Give yourself, a friend, or a family member a Birthday party and donate the money to a support organization.
7. Put together photo essays/collages - let pictures tell the story/speak for you.
8. Write positive letters to influential leaders and tell them you think it is important that orangutans and their habitat be preserved.
9. Help promote signatures for the petition to save the Tripa Swamp Forest at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/105/780/560/indonesia---dont-let-palm-oil-company-destroy-orangutan-habitat/
10. Help collect signatures for our petition to stop the illegal orangutan trade at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/12/stop-the-illegal-orangutan-trade/
11. Wear an orangutan t-shirt and let people know why they should care about the species' future.