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Experts predict that orangutans could be extinct in the remnant wild in 10 years. 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 members.             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 half. 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.
Louisville Zoo
1100 Trevilion Way
Louisville, KY
Phone: 502-238-5331

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