International Orangutan Day – August 19, 2022

On International Orangutan Day on August 19, we show our support for orangutans. This day is meant to inspire people to take action to safeguard this amazing animal in the wild. It’s no surprise that orangutans are intellectual because they share 97 % of their D.N.A. with humans. This could explain why the term ‘orangutan’ means ‘forest person’ in English.

History of International Orangutan Day

The exact year that International Orangutan Day was established is uncertain. The day is marked, however, to save species that are on the edge of extinction. The goal of International Orangutan Day is to raise awareness about the predicament of this species, which has progressed from endangered to critically endangered. Orangutans have been around for generations and are thought to be the ancestors of gorillas. They are large apes who spend the majority of their time in trees and are only found in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, and the two species that live there were formerly thought to be the same.

Further research has shown that they are two distinct species that separated some 400,000 years ago. Orangutans have enormous arm lengths that reach about seven feet from tip to tip, which is impressive given that they only stand around five feet above the ground. When orangutans stand up straight, their hands are almost touching the ground. Their long arms compliment their arboreal lifestyle, letting them move from tree to tree and construct shelters from the canopy’s massive leaves. Because orangutans spend 90 % of their time in the treetops looking for food, deforestation is highly damaging to them. Orangutans are mostly herbivores, but omnivore orangutans will eat bark, insects, and even meat if it is available.

The tropical rainforest had been destroyed due to the farms’ improper management. Furthermore, the farmers consider the orangutans to be a nuisance and either kill them or burn the forest down. There have only been 20,000 survivors since 2006, but there should be more now. As a result, deforestation is the fundamental cause of such a tiny number of orangutans’ survival, and if it continues, the big apes will become extinct sooner. Raising awareness by commemorating International Orangutan Day can assist to increase the possibilities of this endangered species being rescued.

Unfortunately, humans are the greatest threat to the survival of orangutans. Deforestation, for example, encroaches on their habitat. In addition, illicit hunting claims the lives of 3,000 orangutans each year. Some wildlife specialists believe the orangutan will become extinct in the wild over the next 50 years. Though, several organizations are working to conserve orangutans. The Centre for Orangutan Protection, the Sumatran Orangutan Society, The Orangutan Project, Orangutan Outreach, and Humane Society are a few of these organizations.

International Orangutan Day timeline

1631
The Name in Print

The name for apes is first printed in Dutch by physician Jacobus Bontius in his book “Historiae naturalis et medicae Indiae Orientalis.”

1758
The First Scientific Description

In Carl Linnaeus' “Systema Naturae,” the orangutan is first scientifically described as Homo Sylvestris.

1986
The Orangutan Foundation International Founded

A non-profit committed to the conservation of wild orangutans and their rainforest habitat is founded.

1996
Two Species are Recognized

Based on the genetic study, Pongo abelii (representing the Sumatran lineage) and Pongo pygmaeus (representing the Bornean lineage) are identified.

International Orangutan Day FAQs

Why are orangutans so important?

Orangutans are known as forest gardeners because they aid in seed dispersal. They eat the tree’s fruit, the seeds fall to the ground, and the forest expands.

Which orangutan species is the most endangered?

The Tapanuli orangutan is the most endangered of the great apes, with fewer than 800 individuals remaining.

Will orangutans attack humans if one comes in contact with them?

Orangutan attacks on humans are almost unheard of; in contrast, chimpanzee hostility towards each other and humans is frequently documented. This aggressiveness can appear in chimpanzees that have been carefully cared for in confinement by humans.

How to Observe International Orangutan Day

  1. Gather more information about orangutans

    You can mark International Orangutan Day by learning everything there is to know about orangutans, including their habitat, behavior, lifespan, and more. You can also go to your local zoo to see and observe orangutans.

  2. Donate to an orangutan rescue organization

    If you care about orangutans, you'll want to do everything you can to ensure their survival. A simple donation can go a long way toward making this possible. You can help keep orangutans alive and out of extinction by generously supporting an orangutan rescue organization.

  3. Create awareness online

    Share your ideas and the information you've gathered with your loved ones. You can even initiate online petitions in order to help protect them. The most important thing any of us can do is raise public awareness about deforestation's risks.

5 Facts About Orangutans That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. They were first seen in Indonesia

    A hairy, crimson ape swaying from branch to branch in the beautiful green Indonesian forests was seen by the natives of Borneo and Sumatra.

  2. Humans of the forest

    We share 97% of our D.N.A. with orangutans, making them one of humanity's closest relatives.

  3. They have a long life span

    These intriguing apes have relatively long lives — they can live for 50 to 60 years in captivity and 30 to 40 years in the wild.

  4. Their solitary behavior

    Unlike other big apes such as chimps, gorillas, and bonobos, orangutans do not prefer to live in groups — a female will typically have a baby (or two), whereas males prefer to be alone.

  5. They have a huge arm span

    A male can reach seven feet from fingertip to fingertip with his arms.

Why International Orangutan Day is Important

  1. They are interesting

    Orangutans exhibit some astonishing behaviors, and discoveries are being found all the time. We can learn about their natural behavior in the wild, which will eventually lead to the adoption of conservation policies targeted at conserving orangutans and allowing them to remain happily in their natural habitat.

  2. They are so similar to humans

    Orangutans, like us, are apes. Although they are the Great Apes' closest distant relatives, there are just roughly 14 million years between us. This is a split second in evolutionary terms. When you gaze into the eyes of an orangutan, it might be even more difficult to pinpoint what it is that divides them from humans.

  3. They are endangered

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature classed orangutans as critically endangered in 2016. They are more vulnerable than ever before and rely on us to care about their safety.

International Orangutan Day dates

YearDateDay
2022August 19Friday
2023August 19Saturday
2024August 19Monday
2025August 19Tuesday
2026August 19Wednesday

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