Orangutans are some of the world’s most fascinating creatures. Not only do they share around 97 percent of the same DNA as humans, but they are capable of learning sign language and comprehending their emotions in a manner that is extremely similar to us. In fact, the word orangutan translates to “man of the forest” in Malay. Yet, regardless of this, humans continue to decimate the wild orangutan population across the islands of Borneo and Sumatra all in the pursuit of palm oil.
Many people do not even realize that palm oil exists, but it can be found in nearly 50 percent of all consumer goods. The high demand for this oil has lead to the expansion of palm oil plantations all across the orangutan’s native home. Deforestation related to palm oil has destroyed over 90 percent of the orangutan’s habitat, and this percentage is only set to grow. As tree-dwelling species, orangutans rely on the forests for food and shelter, without these two things they’re forced onto palm plantations where they are regarded as “pests.” Many palm workers will shoot orangutans right on the spot, but the animals that don’t meet this fate are only left to starve.
The five orangutans in this video were heroically saved from this fate thanks to International Animal Rescue, an organization that specializes in rescue, rehabilitation and release for orangutans. Without the intervention of these kind people, this orangutan family would not have made it, but now they have a second chance at life.
While International Animal Rescue is doing a fantastic job, we can all make a difference for the orangutan by avoiding palm oil and helping to raise awareness about the devastating impact this one ingredient is having. To learn more about International Animal Rescue, check out their website.