Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered. Only 14,600 remain. The biggest threat is the destruction of their habitat. Sumatra's forest is being torn down at an alarming rate, in large part due to the actions of major timber and palm oil companies. It is illegal to kill, capture, or keep an orangutan as a pet, but sadly this still happens. Young orphans are often kept in tiny cages, and suffer from malnutrition, disease and loneliness.
Orangutans are rescued from the pet trade and from patches of forest where they would starve. The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) nurses them back to health before releasing them. So far, they have released 98 orangutans into safe, protected forest. Preparing for release can involve months of training to teach them how to forage for food and how to build nests to sleep in at night. It's a long job, but it means they have a chance to live as nature intended: wild and free.
SOCP aims to establish a new genetically viable population of 250 wild orangutans within the Jantho Nature Reserve in Aceh, Sumatra, thereby increasing the chance of the species' survival. The orangutans should reproduce (most are currently aged 7 and under so not ready yet!), thereby creating an entirely new, healthy population of orangutans in a safe area. 75% of Sumatran orangutans live in one area which is under threat, so this project is a vital step in the battle against extinction.
To find out more about the work of SOS click here
SOCP's rehabilitation and release project