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Orangutan Caring Week - Who Cares?
It's Orangutan Caring Week…but who cares?
Orangutan Caring Week (OCW) is Nov. 11-17. This year's theme is "Valuing Orangutans over Profits to Avoid Extinction" but apparently, orangutans are not worth very much in the eyes of those who are destroying their rainforest homes and pushing them ever closer to extinction.
The orangutan's intrinsic value is so precious that it cannot be measured in dollars. If we were to assign a true value to orangutans and the rainforest, we could in no way afford the exploited products that come at the high price of extinction. There would be no affording the timber or palm oil or minerals or the pets. There would be no profit for the corrupt officials and greedy corporations.
Sadly, OCW can become just another one of many in a long string of forgettable special awareness days dedicated to yet another endangered species showing up as a fleeting post or picture that we scroll past on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, rarely moving us to much more action than a 'like', share or re-post.
We are often given incomprehensible and hard to grasp facts about how many orangutans are left in the wild, how many years they have left before they go extinct, or how many hectares or football fields of their rainforest homes are cut down each minute of every day. We see heartbreaking photos of orphans, mutilated, tortured or abused orangutans and pictures of devastated rain forests which can cause us to succumb to feelings of helplessness and an inability to enact any change.
Suffice it to say, orangutans are in critical danger, but so are hundreds of living things. Scientists estimate that between 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours, so why should we especially care about orangutans? There are hundreds of species that deserve our attention but by saving these incredible apes we can save not only orangutans, but all the species on earth - including man. If we can save orangutans, we can save the world!
The Animals of the planet are in desperate peril.
Without free animal life we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.
- Alice Walker
Truly saving orangutans and safeguarding their futures would mean that we have finally made all the necessary adjustments to our selfish, greedy, and excessive consumptive practices that are ruining our Earth's precious ecosystems and would mean that we are taking seriously our personal impact on all life on our planet. As individuals, we need to make the impact on the political and corporate machines and demand transformation or there will be no hope for orangutans and, in turn, no future for man.
Orangutans are critically endangered and may be the first great ape to go extinct. They share 97% of our DNA and, as one of our closest evolutionary cousins, it is our responsibility to protect these intelligent, gentle apes. With each passing species, the Earth becomes a little less whole. A world without orangutans will lose much of its soul.
Saving orangutans also helps to save many other endangered species that live in the same forest, like tigers, rhinos, gibbons, sun bears, clouded leopards and countless other species of plants and animals.
Habitat loss due to rainforest destruction, illegal logging, palm oil plantations, and an illegal pet trade are pushing orangutans toward extinction. Rainforests play a vital role in the health of our planet. 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. 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.
It is not enough to just be aware of the issues. We must also care, and care enough to be moved to action. Each November, Orangutan Caring Week focuses attention on the plight of orangutans in hopes of spreading awareness and motivating people to truly care.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
So, who cares? There are dozens of hardworking, dedicated organizations, conservation groups, rescue and rehab centers all working to save these incredible great apes. We cannot all have boots on the ground, but we can fully support those who do whether financially or with our time and efforts. Many of these groups, along with zoos and animal facilities worldwide, will be participating in Orangutan Caring Week next week with special social media campaigns, awareness and fundraising events – but there are many ways individuals can participate, as well.
If ever there was a time to care, that time is now!
For more information:
Contact: Holly Draluck
World Orangutan Events