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Sven Explains: World Orangutan Day

There are fewer than half the number of orangutan than a century ago and only 7,500 left of the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Orangutans only live on two islands in the world, both in Indonesia, and the palm oil industry threatens their existence through the slashing and burning of their jungle habitat, much of it illegally, to make way for plantations. 

Plantation owners will illegally kill orangutans they see in their fields, as well. 

This year, to make matters worse, the fire season has been off the charts burning additional jungle habitat forcing the orangutan into increasingly smaller areas.

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To help save orangutans, you can try to look for palm oil products that were produced in a sustainable way. It's in A LOT of foods we eat. Look for products certified by RSPO, or Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. 

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You can also directly help organizations doing important work on the ground such as the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, which rehabilitates babies from the illegal pet trade into the wild and buys rain forest areas to protect them for orangutan habitat.