The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Visit the Orangutan Outreach and see how you can help

See how you can help here
Mankind may be one of the orangutans' closest relatives but he is also the greatest threat to their survival. Clear cutting, forest fires and hunting are reducing orangutan numbers to alarmingly low levels. Never before has their very existence been threatened so severely.

Orangutans used to live in many different parts of South East Asia, but the places where they can thrive and find food are vanishing. Even in Borneo and Sumatra, their last remaining homes, large parts of the old growth rainforest are gone, ripped up for farmland, palm oil plantations and urban development. And the precious little forest that is left is disappearing quickly as palm oil companies illegally clearcut enormous areas of forest.

It’s common practice to burn the land before building a palm oil plantation, and many of these planned fires have spread uncontrollably with devastating effects. Orangutans too often die because they can’t escape the flames. Trapped up in the forest canopy, they simply have nowhere to go.

In 1997 and 1998 the islands were hit by devastating forest fires. An area larger than Virginia was ravaged and this-- in combination with the drought that followed in the succeeding years-- is estimated by scientists to have killed about one third of all orangutans.

Many orangutans were killed directly by the fires, but many others were killed by humans. Many of those that escaped the fires ended up on plantations and in villages-- looking for food and protection from the fires. Starving, tired, wounded or sick, many became easy prey for poachers who saw an opportunity to make easy money selling the meat from the adults and putting the babies up for sale on the black market.

Hunting orangutans for the black market is a shameful and common practice-- but one that is still all too prevalent. Babies are sold for pets and adults are killed for their meat. The fact that it is illegal to sell, capture or kill orangutans does not deter unscrupulous black marketers and poachers, who know they can make easy money. The standard of living in Indonesia is such that an extra twenty dollars can feed a family for weeks. So the temptation to hunt, kill or sell an orangutan is simply too strong to resist.

There are many underlying causes for the loss of habitat. It is a combination of economic pressure, greed and ignorance, and natural disasters-- many coming as a result of previous deforestation. The population of Indonesia is growing at an astounding rate, and with more mouths to feed, forests are being replaced by farms. People and orangutans share the same space and in any conflict, the orangutan always loses.

What is even worse is that by the continued opening up of the forests with roads for commercial exploitation and insufficient protection of the opened up forest, further encroachment and slash and burn agriculture takes place, causing the formation of “forest islands” that become too small to support an orangutan population.

The opening up of the forests has made orangutans much more vulnerable to fires, with much highly flammable dead fuel wood laying around. Opening toads also leads to micro-climate changes, impacting fruiting in the forests. Orangutans have more difficulty finding fruit trees, and when food supplies dwindle so does their reproduction. As a result their numbers slowly decline, and population by population, they become too low for the orangutans to survive in the long term. Orangutans need large contiguous areas of suitable habitat to survive as the largest arboreal animal in the world. Roads restrict their movement, forcing them to come down to the ground where they are vulnerable to predators-- especially humans.
Story Credit Here and a great organization for the Orangutans. Please visit
or visit them on their facebook here

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