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To show our love for Orangutans and spread awareness of their growing threat of extinction, 19th August aims to encourage the public to protect Asia’s great ape species from becoming extinct. 

Asia’s Great Ape Species

So, you may know that the Orangutan species are found in two places in the world Borneo and Sumatra. A third species, Tapanuli Orangutan, was discovered in 2017, and they are primarily found in the three Tapanuli districts in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The Tapanuli species is known to be the ancestral species of all modern-day Orangutans. They are more closely related to the Bornean Orangutan, and overall, they have a frizzler thicker coat than the other two. They are identified as having smaller heads, flat faces with prominent moustaches compared with the other two species.

Orangutan the great apes I Orangutan brooch I Orangutan Project
Photo credit: The Orangutan Project

A drastic decline in population

The low reproductive rate of the orangutans makes their population highly vulnerable. The females give birth to only one infant at a time every 3-5 years. This means that these species can take a long time to recover from the population decline.

A century ago, there could easily have been more than 230,000 orangutans in total but based on the updated World Wildlife Fund (WWF) statistics, and the Bornean Orangutan is estimated at 104,700 (endangered) while the Sumatran orangutan is about 7,500 (critically endangered).

The Tapanuli Orangutan is the most endangered and threatened great ape globally (more so than the gorilla), with no more than 800 in existence. Conservationists believe the species will decline by 83% within three generations if measures do not grow the population. Sadly, the greatest threat to Orangutan existence is humans.

Orangutan I Orangutan Brooch I Orangutan ProjectPhoto credit: Martin Magnemyr from Pexels

Why Orangutans matter.

Orangutans play a vital role in the forest ecosystem. I remembered Orangutan was one of the very first great apes I read about as a little girl. The meaning behind its name holds immense significance, Orang meaning person and Hutan the forest, the person of the forest. True to this, they perform activities deserving of this moniker. They live in tropical forests in river valleys and flood plains of their respective islands, playing a vital role in seed dispersal. They feed on wild fruits like mangosteens, figs, and leeches, and they drink slurp water from holes in trees. They make nests in vegetation trees to rest during the day and to sleep at night.

Orangutan I Orangutan brooch I Orangutan ProjectPhoto credit: The Orangutan Project

Threats to Orangutans.

Orangutans are easy targets for hunters because they are large and slow. When Orangutans cannot find food in the forest, they move to agricultural areas and destroy crops. Hence, they are killed in human-ape confrontations.

Female Orangutans are usually the most hunted. When they are caught with offspring, the young ones are often kept as pets and traded illegally into Asia.

Habitat loss is another critical threat to the Orangutan’s existence. The growing global demand for natural resources such as agricultural products and timber contributes to deforestation, which has severely impacted the population of Orangutans.  

Orangutan I Orangutan brooch I Orangutan ProjectPhoto credit: The Orangutan Project



You can help preserve Orangutans by taking action today by donating to Orangutan conservation projects and charities. Another powerful engagement tool is to spread awareness, and we must act now. Public education is vital to ensure the Orangutan’s survival.  

She Loves Blooms new brooch, Raja (King or Princely ruler in Malay), the Orangutan, aims to be a conversation starter piece around the Orangutan’s plights. A proceed of the sale of this brooch will be donated to the Orangutan Project. We hope to release this brooch at the end of September.

Orangutan I Orangutan Brooch I Orangutan Project(Sneak Peek)Raja Brooch 

August 19, 2021 3 min read

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