SANTA MONICA, Calif.
- Nov. 10, 2014
-- 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. As a consequence orangutans on Borneo are considered 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) http://www.orangutanrepublik.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 "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.
OCW is being coordinated this year under the World Orangutan Events consortium (http://www.worldorangutanevents.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 then take further action. “It is important that we engage the public to better understand the challenges facing one of our closest primate cousins and then offer them activities that can directly improve the situation” 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, Spain, Indonesia, USA, and the UK are hosting events to raise awareness and promote action on behalf of the orangutan.
Holly Draluck, who is co-managing the Orangutan Caring Week website, 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 http://www.orangutancaringweek.com/
. To schedule an interview contact Holly Draluck, at firstname.lastname@example.org.