“LEO Urges Awareness of Orangutans”
The Greenwich Time
“They’re called the gentle red ape, and, with their soulful eyes and long, sunrise-colored hair, orangutans certainly have their share of fans. So why not celebrate these beloved creatures?
This week is International Orangutan Awareness Week (it runs until Sunday) and Greenwich’s LEO Zoological Conservation Center is encouraging the public to support the endangered primates — both those in their natural habitat and the six orangutans that live at LEO.
According to a news release from the Conservation Center, orangutans — which primarily live in the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra — have lost more than 50 percent of their population in the last 60 years and 80 percent of their land in the past 20 years.
“They’re losing more and more of their land every day,” said LEO Development Director Dani Raske. She said the animals — and the 33,000 other species of plants and animals that call Borneo and Sumatra home — are losing land to logging, mining, forest fires, poaching and deforestation from palm oil plantations.
The idea of International Orangutan Awareness week is to make people more conscious of how these actions are affecting the animals.
“By bringing awareness to (what’s happening to) the orangutans, it’s bringing awareness to everyone else — not just the plants and animals, but the people, too,” Raske said.
Earlier in the week, the center urged people to wear orange to support World Orangutan Day, which was Wednesday.
Though that has passed, Raske said there are still ways to help.
One way people can help protect these animals is to buy palm oil products that are sustainable, meaning they’re manufactured in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment.
Anyone can also help the center’s orangutans by donating to LEO’s “No Time to Weight” fundraiser. Visit http://igg.me/at/helporangutans/x/2975536 to donate. To learn more about our orange-hued friends, visit http://leozoo.org/orangutan-awareness-week/.“