Orang-utans (Malay for ‘person of the forest’) are the world’s largest tree climbing mammals. There are two species, Sumatran and Bornean, and they are very similar. They live in primary and secondary forests, but their forest habitat in Malaysia and Indonesia is rapidly disappearing putting them in real danger.
Orang-utans have a really low reproductive rate, which makes their populations very vulnerable to mortality and take a very long time to recover from declines. They usually give birth to only one young, which will stay with it’s mother for up to 11 years.
Habitat loss is their greatest treat. Massive amounts of forest have been destroyed for agriculture, especially for producing palm oil due to the high demand for it.
How to help
- The World Land Trust have this page about Orang-tuans, and you can donate to their appeal.
- You can Adopt an Orang-utan with the WWF, or donate to help with rehabilitation of orphaned Orang-utans at the Orangutan protection foundation.
- EDIT: As a result of this post I was contacted by Michelle from the Orang-utan Land Trust. I always try to research my posts as best I can and refer you to the best ways to make a difference; I must have missed the OLT. Michelle tells me that the OLT also offer Orang-tan adoptions, and they guarantee that 100% of your adoption donation goes to the Orang-utans. OLT adoptions page.
- Shop sustainably for wood, paper, and palm oil. See which everyday products contain palm oil here, and check out the Sustainable palm oil transparency tool kit. When shopping look out for the RSPO logo on palm oil products to make sure it’s from a sustainable source, and FSC for wood products.
- Spread the word! (and take part in International Orang-utan day on the 19th of August)
Find out even more on the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation website.
Here’s Harrison Ford on why he cares about climate change, from when he investigated deforestation in Indonesia for ‘Years of Living dangerously’, which is a documentary event series relating to climate change.
There are more videos of Harrison Ford to watch:
- Harrison visits an island refuge for victims of deforestation
- Harrison visits people from WWF and Google Earth to find out what effect his visit to Indonesia has had, and he talks to the President of Indonesia
- Harrison about climate change