The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including orangutans.
All subspecies of orangutan are classified as Appendix I, which lists species identified as currently endangered, or in danger of extinction.
World Conservation Union (IUCN)
IUCN-The World Conservation Union is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1948 that supports the conservation of wild living resources. The IUCN Red List has classified orangutans as endangered in all parts of their range. The Sumatran subspecies is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Great Ape Conservation Act
The United States congress passed the Great Ape Conservation Act HR 4320 in October 2000. This legislation provides financial support for conservation projects protecting great apes in the wild.
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provides broad protection for endangered species in the U.S. and worldwide. Under this law, provisions are made for listing species, a recovery plan, and critical habitat designation. This piece of legislation is the foundation for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Sustainable Palm Oil
Consumer wisdom can have a powerful influence in the global marketplace and is one of the best ways to protect endangered orangutans. When reading product labels, if it contains palm oil, palm kernel, palmitate, or other derivatives of the word, there is an opportunity to help protect endangered orangutans by only purchasing products that contain sustainably produced palm oil. The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an association that promotes the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. Companies that are members of RSPO assures consumers that their palm oil purchases come from forests whose products are harvested in a manner based on economic, social, and environmental viability.
Certified Forestry Products
Certified forestry products assures consumers that their wood purchases come from forests whose products are harvested in a manner that conserves biodiversity, limits degradation to soil and water supplies, and supports local communities. Several organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative provide certified forestry certification to products that comply with global sustainable forestry standards
Economic incentives involve the provision of financial benefits for the conservation of land and animals, in essence making conservation profitable for local people.
Ecotourism is an economic incentive that combines conservation with tourism to benefit local people.
Increased Public Awareness
Educational programming has sparked local and international interest for conservation issues. These programs help prepare future conservation leaders for challenging environmental concerns and are one of the best ways to curb demand for orangutans in the pet trade.
Non-governmental Organizations (NGO)
Non-governmental organizations (NGO) serve as intermediaries between international and national economic resources, policymakers, researchers, and the animals. These organizations provide opportunity for field researchers to interact with policymakers to share information regarding conservation management and field research.
The Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP)
The Great Ape Survival Project (GRASP) is a collaborative partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization divisions. The project works to protect gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans by working with local communities to reduce poverty, increase conservation awareness programs, and by population monitoring.
Zoological parks contribute to orangutan conservation through research, public education, fund raising, and managed breeding programs. They help inspire the public's hearts and minds in taking a proactive role in environmental stewardship. Zoological parks help connect people to exotic wildlife from all over the world and empower visitors to take informed and compassionate conservation action.
A 2005 public opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive® found the following:
- 97% of respondents agree that zoos and aquariums play an important role in educating the public about animals they might not otherwise have the chance to see.
- 96% agree that zoos and aquariums provide people with valuable information about the importance of animals and habitats.
- 93% agree that visiting zoos and aquariums can inspire conservation action that can help animals and habitats.
- 93% agree that people are more likely to be concerned about animals if they learn about them at zoos and aquariums.
Zoological Breeding Programs
Zoological breeding programs play an important role in orangutan conservation by increasing the species' genetic variability (gene pools). The more diverse a species' gene pool (potential number of unrelated breeding opportunities), the healthier and more stable the population becomes. Genetically diverse populations are more likely to persevere through periods of intense selection and less likely to become extinct.
In a cooperative effort with other AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) institutions, Busch Gardens closely manages orangutan populations through a program called the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.
Zoological Parks' Roles in Increasing Public Awareness
Zoological parks disseminate educational information in the form of public presentations, camps, educational programming, tour groups, research literature, and Web-based learning. Additionally, many zoological facilities participate in national and international conferences, presenting papers and sharing knowledge and research with colleagues from all over the world.
Zoological Parks' Global Conservation Initiatives
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund's mission is to work with purpose and passion on behalf of wildlife and habitats worldwide, encouraging sustainable solutions through support of species research, animal rescue and rehabilitation and conservation education. Since 2004, the Fund has supported various orangutan preservation projects through habitat protection and conservation education.
- Project: Monitoring Orangutan Population Trends in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah Malaysia
Partner: Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project
With its strong team of skilled field research assistants and Honorary Wildlife Wardens, Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project is in a leading position to develop and implement a thorough wildlife monitoring system throughout the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Support from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund enables continued monitoring of the orangutan population in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Project: Trees for Fees: A Joint Project of INI RADEF, HIH and Gunung Palung National Park
Partner: Health in Harmony
Borneo's Gunung Palung National Park is critical to the survival of wild orangutans. Health In Harmony is a unique, innovative organization working to build a hospital on the border of the park, using high-quality health care as an incentive to leverage local community involvement in conservation activities. The Fund's support will enable the development of an incentive system. To assess fair trades between conservation activities and health care, identify priority areas and garner buy-in, community outreaches will be conducted in villages bordering the park. The Fund will also help develop and deliver a conservation education program focused on the link between local human health and the protection of Gunung Palung National Park, an important watershed for local communities.
- Project: Orangutan Care and Quarantine Center
Partner: Orangutan Foundation International
Location: Borneo, Indonesia
The Bornean orangutan is in acute danger of extinction, primarily because of rapid and continuing destruction of its arboreal habitats and, to a lesser degree, because of poaching and the trafficking in infant orangutans. The Orangutan Care and Quarantine Center (OCQC) seeks to ameliorate the effects of human encroachment through the rehabilitation and reintroduction of captive and injured orangutans into threatened Bornean habitats. The SWBGCF grant helps support operating expenses at the OCQC.
- Project: Orangutan Conservation
To protect tracts of forest critical to wild orangutans.
For more information on these and other SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund projects, please visit http://www.swbg-conservationfund.org/
What Can I Do?
We can help save orangutans by protecting the forested habitats in which they live. Certified forestry products assures consumers that their wood purchases come from forests whose products are harvested in a manner that conserves biodiversity, limits degradation to soil and water supplies, and supports local communities. Several organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative provide "certified forestry" certification to products that comply with global sustainable forestry standards. By purchasing certified wood products, we are helping to save many endangered species, including orangutans, by protecting their habitat.
When reading product labels, if it contains palm oil, palm kernel, palmitate or other derivatives of the word palm, there is an opportunity to help protect orangutans and their forested environments by ensuring the product's company is RSPO certified. The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an association that promotes the growth and use of sustainable palm oil. Companies that are members of RSPO assures consumers that their palm oil purchases come from forests whose products are harvested in a manner based on economic, social, and environmental viability.
We can help save exotic endangered wildlife by becoming environmentally invested in our own backyards. Learning about and understanding local wildlife and habitats are the stepping stones to global conservation initiatives. Backyard wildlife habitats are a great way to attract local wildlife such as songbirds and butterflies and provide a nurturing retreat for them all year long. In addition to attracting wildlife and increasing the appeal of your property, environmentally-friendly gardening practices help reduce chemicals, save water and improve air, water and soil quality throughout your neighborhood. The National Wildlife Federation has a certification program that recognizes the commitment involved in creating a place for wildlife in the modern world. Creating wildlife habitats in our own backyards fosters an appreciation and understanding for local wildlife and the environment. These skills can then be built upon and applied to global environmental stewardship where endangered species such as orangutans can be conserved.