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Orangutan Caring Week - 10-16 November 2013
Annual celebration of an endangered great ape seeks to build a constituency of support so that the species can be saved from extinction.
In 2005, Orangutan Caring Week was established by the non-profit Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) http://www.ourf.org 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 varies from year to year. This year the theme is “Unite to Fight the Extinction of the Orangutan”. The theme drives home the need for organizations and people to get together, put down their differences, and to coalesce into a unified voice on behalf of the species, which is still on the brink of extinction.
OCW is being coordinated this year by OURF and Orangaware.org and supported by dozens of organizations. OURF President Dr. Gary Shapiro is encouraging everyone concerned about orangutan survival to participate in educating people about the species in ways that are informative and inspiring. “It is important that we engage the public to better understand the challenges facing one of our closest primate cousins and our responsibility to save them 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, 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 and non-profits groups in Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Indonesia, USA, and the UK are hosting events to raise awareness and promote action on behalf of the orangutan.
For more information about Orangutan Caring Week, the activities being scheduled, and what people can do to participate, http://www.facebook.com/
Dr. Gary Shapiro