Orangutans share many similarities with humans. These animals are highly intelligent, experience deep emotions, and have dynamic social groups. They have been known to learn sign language and use tools. We do, after all, share over 90 percent of the same DNA as these animals. But sadly, for all that we share with these animals, we are also the cause of their demise.
The orangutan species is teetering on the brink of extinction largely due to human intervention in their natural home. Deforestation for palm oil production has cost these animals 90 percent of their native range and as orangutans are forced into contact with humans, they become susceptible to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
The practice of killing a mother orangutan and stealing her babies for sale in the exotic pet trade has become a common occurrence. Sadly, a life in captivity is none at all for these animals and many babies either die prematurely of malnourishment or grow up to be extremely depressed, living alone in cages. In the face of this horrific fate for orangutans, there are many dedicated people working to right the wrongs against our primate cousins.
Recently, The Orangutan Project helped the Centre for Orangutan Protection carry out the rescue of five baby orangutans who were destined for sale as pets. The team was able to intercept the transaction and secure the arrest of the trader, and now, these little ones are making their way to the Centre for Orangutan Protection’s sanctuary for care.
This photo of two rescued babies breaks our hearts. Instead of a life in the wild with their mothers, they’ve already been subjected to so much trauma.
But their days of fear and uncertainty in a cage are now finally over.
With the help of their caretakers, these little ones will grow up strong and learn how to be proper orangutans – not pets. One day, if all goes well, they could return to the wild.
Given the dire state of the orangutan species, every single rescue matters. While it deeply saddens us to think about the lives these orangutans could have had if not for human intervention, knowing that there are also well-intentioned, kind people helping them gives us enormous hope.
We can all help secure a better future for orangutans with our own choices. Check all your snacks and consumer goods for palm oil, as this ingredient is responsible for the destruction of the orangutan’s forest home. For tips on how to avoid palm oil, click here. You can also support the work of The Orangutan Project and the Centre for Orangutan Protection to help them care for more rescued orangutans. Share this article and help raise awareness for the plight of this vital species.
The future of the orangutan is in our hands, we cannot let it slip through out fingers.
All image source: Centre for Orangutan Protection/Facebook