Brookfield Zoo Celebrates Orangutan Caring Week: How You Can Help

Welcome to Orangutan Caring Week, a week-long celebration of these orange geat apes and the ways we can inspire action to support them. Each species of orangutans is either endangered or critically endangered due to deforestation, habitat loss, and hunting. By taking action yourself and inspiring change in others, we can help to slow this process and ensure that these highly intelligent creatures have a place to call home.

All week long, Brookfield Zoo will be featuring the six orangutans that live here in Tropic World: Asia. They include Brunei, Kecil, Ben, Sophia, Heidi, and Kekasih. Each has their own fascinating story to tell as an ambassador for their species, and as part of the family unit. Keep an eye on the zoo's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels all week long for more.

While you can donate to Brookfield Zoo to support them all, you can also adopt Kecil and Kekasih directly to be part of their care and also earn cool benefits.

Why is it so important to help orangutans? They are an essential part of their ecosystem, playing a critical role in dispersing seeds in their forest habitat. You could say they're the gardeners of the tropical forest where they live! Orangutans also reproduce slowly, like humans, so anytime the species is impacted negatively, it takes a long time for them to recover. That's why it's so important to protect all orangutans and do everything we can to prevent further population loss. 

It's often hard to know what to do to help orangutans here in the United States, given that we are so far away from the places orangutans call home in the wild. Along with supporting local zoos and orangutan charities, you can also support the Orangutan Special Survival Program (SSP). Together with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Orangutan SSP serves the accredited zoos that house orangutans in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Working closely with respected professionals in the field, the SSP provides help and guidance to zoos housing orangutans. Together, zoos and the SSP seek to provide the best possible environment for these amazing apes. 

Looking for ways to get inspired about orangutans? Here are some fun activities that kids and families can do to encourage interest and share with others:

Make An Orangutan Mask
Become an orangutan! Color your own mask! Use red, orange, and brown to color your mask however you feel. When you are done coloring, cut out your orangutan mask, then carefully cut out the eyes, glue one popsicle stick on the back of your mask at the bottom to use as a handle. Download the mask template here and download instructions here

Orangutan Word Search
One of the most rewarding parts of caring for orangutans is the unique relationships that form. Whether it’s between an animal care specialist and orangutan or orangutans and each other, all of them are special and worth celebrating. Download this fun word search puzzle and scour it for words related to orangutans and their relationships. You can download an answer key here.

Orangutan Physical Fitness
We work hard to make sure zoo animals like orangutans are healthy. Part of their care involves a healthy diet and regular check-ups, just like you. Are you as fit as an orangutan? Take the orangutan physical fitness challenge and see if you can keep up!

Help Orangutans Get Home
Orangutans are in trouble in the wild. Not only do we want to support orangutans in zoos, but we also want to support wild orangutans too. Just like there is a collective effort by zoos to help conserve wild populations of orangutans, YOU can help save them too. One of the best things you can do is make sure you are buying products made from sustainable palm oil. Look for the logos that tell you the products you buy every day are sustainable and help to protect local habitats. You'll find a very helpful guide here that you can keep handy. There's also an app you can download to your phone for when you're shopping and need to know which products help protect orangutans and which don't. 

Orangutan Caring Week is a wonderful time to be a steward for orangutan conservation and support. Share what you've learned on social media and with family and friends. Let's work together to stop the habitat loss that is hurting these great apes and please continue to support the organizations around the country and globe that support orangutans.

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Posted: 11/9/2020 10:37:37 AM by Sean Keeley

CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.


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