By Dian Hasan | September 20, 2009
It’s ironic that some of the world’s cuddliest animals that we all universally love and admire, are also its most endangered. Take the Panda, the Chimpanzee and the Orang Utan, for example. While the former two may be just as endangered, they are generally perceived to be in better shape. Pandas are ferociously protected by China (with a watchful eye from the rest of the world), and the Chimp population in Central Africa is relatively stable as their habitat is not in immediate danger like that of the fuzzy orange ape – the Orang Utan. They only live in Sumatra or Borneo (both Indonesian and Malaysian parts), and are in constant danger of forest fires, illegal logging, and rapid habitat destruction. Here’s a quick look at all the dots that connect the some of the local, regional and international organizations that are fighting for Orang Utan’s plight.
Because of the world demand for Palm Oil, the forests of Borneo are disappearing before our eyes. This is bad news not only for Orang Utans, but also Pygmy Elephant, Malayan Sun Bears and Proboscis Monkey that depend on these forests for their survival. The other imminent threat comes from forest fires, an age-old practice of clearing land almost always results in uncontrollable forest fires that are so severe they cause smoke hazard across the South East Asian region. Smoke affecting places as far away as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It is believed that Orang Utan populations have been halved over the last 20 years and they are now seriously in danger of extinction.
Some of the international organizations that – directly and indirectly – work for the welfare and benefit of orang utans, are the following:
World Land Trust (WLT):
An international conservation organization that takes direct action to save rainforestand other wildlife habitats. How? By providing funds for partner organisations, so that they can purchase land and establish permanent wildlife reserves.
Germany-based Rettet den Regenwald (Rainforest Rescue) was founded in 1986 in Hamburg. The organization has a strong a strong following of about 25,000 supporters. And their main objectives:
- organizing protest actions and email protests against rainforest destruction by loggers, companies such as oil or mining companies and development projects
- supporting NGOs in Africa, Ecuador and Indonesia
- publishing a quarterly magazine named “Regenwald Report”
- providing information for schools and the press
Orang Utan Release Program:
Orang Utans that are kept in the rehabilitation and conservation centers, will eventually be released back to the wild. That has always been the underlying mission. The New York-based foundation – Orangutan Outreach – estimates that it costs over US$2,000/orang utan to rehabilitate and release each one to the wild. Orangutan Outreach currently have around 800 orang utans in their care.
To help Orangutan Outreach and learn more about their organization, click here.
The Threat of Forest Fires:
In Indonesia’s Kalimantan (Borneo) the threat of forest fires are real. One case in point: recent fires in Sabangau forest in Central Kalimantan is jeopardizing the lives of the estimated 8,000 wild orangutans living there.
Impacting Young Minds:
The wonderful program called Forest School 101 is a group of young Orang Utan supporters. There are about a dozen or so members and they are all dedicated to protecting orangutans and raising awareness of the issues surrounding palm oil and deforestation.
WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
Walhi was founded in 1980 and is the most influential environmental network in Indonesia. They fight against the pollution of water and the air and stand up for protecting their rainforests.
To help WALHI and learn more about their organization, click here.
Save Our Borneo ~ Indonesia
Environmental NGO fighting against destruction of rainforests and palm-oil plantations.
To help Save Our Borneo and learn more about their organization, click here.
COP – Centre for Orangutan Protection ~ Indonesia
It is COP’s education program aimed at raising awareness among young people on the importance of saving orangutan.
To help COP and learn more about their organization, click here.
Yayasan BOS (The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation) ~ Indonesia
An Jakarta-based foundation working for the conservation efforts of Orang Utans, through various projects.
To help BOS and learn more about their organization, click here