Experts predict that orangutans could be extinct in the remnant wild in
On April 4-5, find out how you can help these magnificent animals during
Louisville Zoo's first ever orangutan awareness weekend.
Learn about these amazing creatures first hand, meet orangutan keepers,
hear about the threats orangutans face in the wild and find out what you
can do to help.
Learn all about orangutans from the people who know them best during
special keeper talks at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Islands
area. Docents will also be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the
Islands area with lots of interesting information, biofacts and more.
The Zoo's Youth Board will be offering face painting with a portion of
the proceeds going directly to orangutan conservation.
Orangutan Awareness Weekend is free with Zoo admission and for Zoo
Orangutans are considered one of the closet living relatives
to humans, sharing 97 percent of the same DNA and are very intelligent.
They have complex social relationships and are capable of forming strong
social attachments. The bond formed between mother and offspring is
particularly strong and results in the longest childhood (up to 10
years) of any ape species.
Historically, orangutans were found throughout Southeast Asia and even
as far north as China. But today with the rapid decline of their
rainforest homes, orangutans live only on the islands of Borneo and
Sumatra. It is estimated that suitable orangutan habitat in Malaysia and
Sumatra has declined by more than 80 percent in the last two decades,
and the wild population of Sumatran orangutans has dropped by nearly
According to a report released by the United Nations Environment
Programme in February 2007, the spread of palm oil plantations and
illegal logging to the national parks in Indonesia constitutes a
conservation emergency for the critically endangered orangutan. Palm oil
is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to trans fats, and is
found in one of 10 supermarket products, including margarine, baked
goods, sweets, detergents and lipsticks. There is also an increasing
market for vegetable oil as a renewable fuel (biofuel), in response to
the need to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions, and palm oil is
currently considered the most productive source of biodiesel fuel.
Organizations like the United Nations Environment Programme and the
Indonesian government are working to find economically and
environmentally responsible solutions.