The Orangutan Project Marks International Day of Forests by Calling Attention to Sumatra Protection Efforts

In the last few years, The Orangutan Project and key partners have protected an extra 93,900 acres of rainforest in the area, extending the entire protected landscape to more than 494,000 acres and creating one of the most successful orangutan rehabilitation and release programs in the world. The sanctuary now offers a safe space to more than 170 rehabilitated orangutans, and numerous babies have been born. The ecosystem also provides protected habitat for small but significant populations of Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers and Sumatran elephants.

However, the race is on for the organization to protect further corridors of intact, lowland rainforest before it is lost for good.

“Thousands of orangutans die every year,” said Leif Cocks, orangutan expert and founder of The Orangutan Project. “There’s a direct correlation between forest destruction and the plummeting numbers of the orangutan population. We’re working to have intact rainforests legally protected, and at the same time, we’re fighting against the illegal land encroachers and poachers who’ve waged war against this beautiful species and their habitat. The illegal land encroachers aren’t stopping, but neither are we.”

The International Day of Forests was instituted on Dec. 21, 2012, when the United Nation General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/67/200, which marked March 21 as the annual observance of the day and its activities. The resolution urged UN members and governments to plan appropriate activities that related to forest conservation, such as planting trees and arranging community-wide celebrations.

This year’s IDF theme is “Learn to Love Forests” and encourages all ages to educate themselves about the importance of sustainable forest management and conservation. Forest education plays a strong part in the UN’s key messages for 2019.

“It can be easy to forget how important forests are to our everyday lives, but they affect everything, right down to the air we breathe,” Cocks said. “If they’re that integral to our lives, imagine how important they are to the orangutans whose homes are being destroyed. We applaud the efforts of UN to recognize how vital forests are to our survival as they encourage education efforts around the world. Our forests are under siege, and so are the innocent victims that live within them.”

To donate to The Orangutan Project’s rainforest efforts, please visit

Since its formation in 1998, The Orangutan Project has contributed more than $10 million directly into orangutan conservation projects. Every dollar raised for TOP goes toward saving orangutans. The organization has earned a reputation among its partners and donors for being financially responsible and transparent.

For more about TOP, visit

About The Orangutan Project
The Orangutan Project is a non-partisan organization that collaborates with several orangutan conservation projects on the ground in Indonesia to support the conservation and rehabilitation of orangutans and the preservation of their forest habitat.  Founded by world-renowned orangutan expert Leif Cocks, The Orangutan Project’s goal is to ensure the survival of the orangutan species in their natural habitat. For more information, visit

Heather Ripley

Orange Orchard


SOURCE The Orangutan Project

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