Orangutans share 97% of the same DNA and genetics as humans; but our commonalities won’t protect their precarious futures.
With only 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, the sad reality is that they could become extinct within our lifetime.
Deforestation, the spread of palm oil and rubber tree fields and forest fires are the most common reasons for their decline.
The biggest problem the Sumatran orangutan faces is deforestation by the increase of palm oil tree fields.
Palm oil is used everywhere; from our food, cosmetics and our fuels; and is very profitable for producers.
Indonesia, the world’s largest supplier of palm oil, has lost a quarter of their rain forests since 1990.
Not only does this push endangered animals like the Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger closer to extinction, but it contributes to global warming and even health hazards from the fires used for clearing land (500,000 Indonesians had respiratory issues in 2015 alone). Luckily, conservation groups are starting to step up the pressure on policy makers and big corporations (like Pepsi and Starbucks) who contribute to these problems.
We can even help too. Simple fixes such as cooking at home and avoiding processed foods containing palm oil, reading labels in stores and signing petitions are easy ways to do this.
I’ll include a link in the comments section for some ways to help the orangutans and to stop palm oil production.