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Orangutans share 97 percent of their DNA with humans and have proven themselves to be highly intelligent and resourceful. When they are in their natural rainforest habitats, they spend virtually all of their time in the treetops, caring for their loved ones, exploring their environment, and foraging for food. Just like the rest of us, they want to live in peace and free from harm.

Unfortunately, orangutans may not be with us for much longer due to the palm oil industry’s destructive actions. Palm oil is a cheap, versatile ingredient that can be found in around 50 percent of consumer goods, meaning demand for this oil is particularly high.

Over 90 percent of the orangutan’s original habitat has been destroyed and converted to palm oil plantations, leaving these animals with nowhere to go. If orangutans wander onto a palm plantation, they can be shot on sight. Over the past two decades, 20,000 of them have met their deaths at the hands of the palm oil industry, with at least 1,000 directly killed for their presence on palm plantations each year. When parts of the rainforest are cleared, orangutans are left without food. In order to feed themselves, they have no choice but to enter nearby villages in search for food. As a result, mother orangutans are often killed by poachers, and their babies are stolen and sold to wildlife parks or kept as pets.

But thankfully, there are organizations fighting to save these amazing animals. International Animal Rescue (IAR), a worldwide animal rescue organization that is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating endangered and at-risk animals recently shared this heartwarming story.

Reva the orangutan was rescued by IAR in January. She was in critical condition, with her hands and ankles bound and her body covered in injuries. This poor girl had been shot several times with an air rifle and needed intensive treatment. But Reva is a fighter and after just six weeks’ of intensive treatment at IAR’s center, she recovered and was ready to be returned to the wild. Thanks to IAR’s dedicated team of vets, the BKSDA, the Military District Command and the local Institute of Forest Management in Ketapang, Reva was able to return to the forest.

It’s hard to look at this photo from IAR and not feel overwhelmingly inspired by the efforts of this team to help Reva.

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While Reva’s story has a beautiful ending, many others do not. The good news is we can all act to save the world’s orangutans.

When you set out on your next grocery run, look for planet-friendly alternatives to palm oil and try to avoid this ingredient whenever possible. To learn more about how IAR is helping animals and how you can get involved, click here.

Image Source: International Animal Rescue/Facebook 

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