The orangutan is one of our closest living relatives – we share an astounding 97 percent of our DNA with these special animals. But in spite of this connection, we have pushed orangutans so far that the species is now on the brink of extinction. If we cannot seem to protect a species so amazingly close to ourselves, do we stand a chance of protecting anything at all?

In the video published by BBC Earth, promoting the documentary Red Ape: Saving the Orangutan, the human-like characteristics of these animals are impossible to miss. You can see the heartbreaking emotions of the orphaned babies, the mothers who lost their children, and the apes cruelly held in captivity.

Advertisement

So how is it that the orangutan population has gotten to this point? Largely, the orangutan’s natural habitat is being methodically destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil can be found in around 50 percent of products on supermarket shelves! To meet the demand for this cheap, shelf-stable oil, around 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared every hour! With nowhere left to go, orangutans are forced to search for food and shelter on palm plantations – where they are typically treated like pests and killed on the spot or captured and sold into the exotic pet trade.

If this video has struck a chord with you, please share it and help spread awareness about the devastating impact of palm oil. To learn more about how you can avoid palm oil in your daily life, click here.