Days of Dedication and Why They’re Important: Happy International Orangutan Day!

The environment with Melissa Evatt.

Around the world we celebrate the world’s wildlife and all creatures great and small. August 19th is a day specifically dedicated to one of the most critically endangered animals in the world, Orangutans.  

Currently there are 3 known species of Orangutans in the wild, Sumatran, Bornean, and Tupanuli. These species of Orangutan all fit into the category of being critically endangered, meaning they are most at risk of being extinct.  

Orangutans, like all apes, are widely known for their emotional intelligence which is much similar (if not more advanced) to that of a human’s and are known to share over 90% (96% according to the WWF) of our genes! 

So, why is International Orangutan Day so important and why should anyone care? 

Orangutans protect and maintain the forests, a guardian of the trees if you will. Without them, seed dispersal would not occur which is vital in maintaining the forests’ undergrowth for other animals that inhabit these areas.  

Around the world there are thousands of species that face the brink of extinction, most of these species are at risk of losing their habitats, pack mates, and sources of food, because of human interference. For Orangutans in particular, their biggest threat is the illegal wildlife trade and the hunting of these beautiful apes. Female Orangutans are often hunted for their offspring who are then sold and kept as pets, this reason for their decline in population numbers and the fact that an orangutan will only have offspring every 3-5 years results in them being critically endangered with fewer than 1,000 in the wild (dependent on species).   

Days of dedication for both critically endangered and endangered species offer useful information for a variety of audiences around the world, and also allows for new conservation and volunteer efforts to be shared with hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, with the aim of inspiring, informing, and enlightening others to want to do the same.  

In the month of August, there are several days dedicated to endangered species, including: World Elephant Day on August 12th, International Orangutan on the 19th, and International Whale Shark Day on the 30th (to name a few).  

All in all, it is vital to celebrate every living creature on this Earth, our diverse eco-systems and incredible species of animals must be protected. Days of dedication aim to bring to light the importance of every animal, along with what they can offer to our environment and to our lives also, simply by existing and nurturing each and every habitat.

Happy International Orangutan Day!! 🙂

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