A baby orangutan hangs and swings on a vine at Borneo's Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, which was founded in 1964 with the mission of rehabilitating rescued orangutans.
These bulky, rust-colored primates are the largest arboreal animals on Earth. In the wild, they eat, sleep, socialize, reproduce and travel almost exclusively in the thick, leafy canopies of Sumatra and Borneo. Although baby orangutans spend the first four months of life clutching their mother's body, it isn't long before they begin learning to climb on their own. Their strength and ingenuity is a sight to witness!
Sadly, both species of orangutans are listed under the IUCN Red List, with Bornean orangutans labeled as endangered and Sumatran orangutans considered critically endangered. The rapid decrease in their populations can be attributed to a variety of issues, including logging, forest fires, hunting, fragmentation, the illegal pet trade and the conversion of their habitats into plantations for harvesting palm oil.
In an effort to bring attention to these conflicts, International Orangutan Day (Aug. 19) was created to promote orangutan conservation and to encourage cooperation between orangutan-related organizations.
There are plenty of ways to get involved, and what better way to get inspired to help than with a photo roundup of young, wide-eyed orangutans swinging from branches and rope?
Photo: Ellen Munro/Flickr
Photo: Daniel Kleeman/Flickr
Photo: Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr