Neature Talk: Orangutans

December 3, 2020


Devon Miller

Orangutans are one of the most beautiful and special species on the planet. Known for their characteristics, all knowing eyes, round faces, and red coats, there are more to these creatures than meets the eye.

There are three different types of Orangutans: the Bornean, the Sumatran, and the Tapanuli. The Tapanuli was announced in 2017, this specific species being restricted to south Tapanuli on the island of Sumatra. There are only around 800 individuals of this specific Orangutan type, making them the most highly endangered. 

As their name literally translates to “man of the forest” it should come as no surprise that these Orangutans share 96.4% of their DNA with humans.  Orangutans have not only been shown to learn from observation instead of relying specifically on instinct, but have also been proven to be better at fashioning tools than the average human child. 

While the Tapanuli is the closest to extinction currently, Orangutans as a complete species are also not far from extinction if drastic changes are not made. Due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting, the Orangutan population sits at 7,500, where a century ago there were over 230,000 in the wild.

It may seem that there is nothing we can do to help this amazing creature that lives so far away, but this isn’t true. Some things you can do to help this species is to say no to Paseo and Livi paper products. This company is responsible for more Asian deforestation than any other company. Another thing you can do is buy FSC certified products. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, which produces products that are made using only sustainable forest harvesting techniques. The last and possibly most important thing you can do, is to spread awareness. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell everyone you know about what is happening with these animals. The more people that know about the injustices happening, the more that will work to help them. 

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