Friday, 1 January 2010

Yup....call me a tree hugger........

Besides Elephants, I also have a keen interest in the conservation of Orangutans……I don’t know whether it’s because they are cute and human like or if I am just becoming more concerned by the state of the planet - I think it’s a mixture of both. I am trying more and more each day to gently walk through life rather than plod through it with large heavy feet. I am sure this will get me labelled a hippy by some but so be it. My brother reminded me of a very good quote one day and I can’t help but let it make me stop and think.

“We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” - Haida Indian Saying

Anyway, one of my presents this Christmas was a BBC box set of DVD’s about animals, Cheetahs, Orangutans and Elephants to be specific. Thing is I do understand the importance of each living thing on earth - not just the cute fluffy things, and I know that caring about some animals not getting killed and wiped out makes me a bit of a hypocrite when I have begun to eat small amounts of meat again to help me with my anaemia but I guess it’s about perspective and small steps in the right direction towards making this world a better place, oh god and here I go starting to quote songs….accidentally I assure you.


It’s been said that I am wasting my money on my fostering of the Elephant Wassessa, that I have more important things I should be thinking of and concerning myself with and better things to put my money towards, but if we all thought like that………well maybe we’d be those crazed people that were queuing up for the sales to start on boxing day at 4am and then running, screaming into the shop when the security guards opened the doors…..now that to me is not something I care to waste my time or money on…..but we all know that I do like fashion and I love to have new clothes, but see, it’s all about perspective. You do whatever you can to make your little piece of the world a lovely place, if everyone did that we would be living in a wonderful world where all of us would be respected and looked after. But human nature doesn’t work like that. Thankfully we are all made different - just sometimes those differences cause more issues than they solve. But I digress into a whole other argument.

Orangutans and humans share 96.4% of the same genetics. It’s not really that hard to tell when you look at the movements and behaviour of Orangutans. Their faces look like little old men and they are very quick to learn from humans. This sadly has seen their down fall a little with many people trying to keep them as pets, but this quite often results in them being treated like a baby until they get a little too big and then they become chained up in a cage somewhere and neglected.


It is thought that within 10 years these beautiful creatures could become extinct thanks not just to poaching but mainly down to the destruction of their homes to make way for Palm Oil plantations. These plantations are destroying miles and miles of forest land. Orangutan actually means ‘person of the forest’. Quite often the plantations or farms are owned by very rich business people from other countries and the labourers are paid next to nothing for the work that they do. I do not blame the workers. I blame the plantation owners and the consumers. Which means I also blame myself. I have been quite ignorant to what goes into the products I buy, until recently. It saddens me that there are so many ingredients in things that are not fully explained. Forests don’t just house Orangutans, but many species that are vital to the smooth running of our natural and ecological survival. Nature is a very complicated but well thought out network of survival, everything has it’s place and it’s purpose. It could be argued that man also has it’s place and that nature relies on survival of the fittest and even encourages it, but sometimes I have to wonder how much of human behaviour is down to survival of the fittest or just plain greed. I think more and more today we are leaning on the just plain greed angle as the world seems to be getting overly materialistic and jealousy ridden. I cannot change the world but I can make little steps in the right direction.


In the last 100 years alone there has been an 80% decrease in the numbers of Orangutan. These animals need the forest land for their survival. They live for approximately 45 years and will keep their young close to them for the first 7 - 8 years of its life. The only other creature that keeps their young close for longer is human beings. The Orangutan mainly eat fruit and are quite solitary creatures and have the strength of about 6 fully grown men. They live in the rainforests in particular and in the last 20 years alone about 80% of the rainforest they inhabit has been destroyed by man. If you want to help with the conservation of Orangutans please visit www.orangutan.org.uk

If you don’t care too much about the poor Orangutans then just think about the destruction of the rainforests. They are vital to our Ecosystem.
They provide a home to many animals and plants. They help to stabilize the worlds climate and protect against flood, drought and erosion, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to prevent global warming. Vast quantities of medicines and foods can be found in the rainforests and they are home to numerous animals and support many tribal people. They also look pretty darn spectacular. It is thought that every year rainforest the size of New Jersey is destroyed, leaving many of the plants and animals that lived there to die. Humans are the main cause of this destruction. There are many reasons to save the rainforest and many organisations that are set up to help, so if you can spare the time, see if there is something you can do as ultimately it will effect your life and your children’s.


The Independent newspaper produced a hard hitting article about palm oil and the destruction of rainforests, they stated that:

“These rainforests are honey pots for flora and fauna, among the most bio diverse places on Earth. Consider the figures. Sumatra – the size of Spain, owned by Indonesia – has 465 species of bird, 194 species of mammal, 217 species of reptile, 272 species of freshwater fish, and an estimated 10,000 species of plant. Borneo – the size of Turkey and shared between Indonesia and Malaysia – is even richer: 420 birds, 210 mammals, 254 reptiles, 368 freshwater fish and around 15,000 plants.
All these species evolved to live in this unique forest environment. The Sumatran rhino is the smallest, hairiest and most endangered in the world; the Sumatran tiger is the smallest tiger. The black sun bear, with its U-shaped patch of white fur under its chin, is the smallest bear. Some of them are curious in the extreme: the bug-eyed western tarsier; the striped rabbit; the marled cat; and the tree-jumping clouded leopard, which feasts on pygmy squirrels and long-tailed porcupines.
Of all the animals, though, the most famous by far is the orangutan (or "man of the jungle"). With its orange hair and long arms, the orangutan is one of our planet's most unusual creatures. And one of the smartest, too.”
Add to this all the people that call the rainforests their home and the how essential the rainforests are to this planet - it’s kind of hard to just sit back and do absolutely nothing….isn’t it!?!

2 comments:

  1. It IS definitely hard to sit back and watch this happen to the rain forest. These animals are beautiful, aren't they?

    Great post!

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  2. Thank you! I remember back in high school they got us to donate money so that we could all own bits of rainforest - I ended up owning about 4 table tops worth but who knows this? Does this really protect any of it? Ponder Ponder. All I hope is that people listen and act and don't just tut their heads or something.

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