Orangutans and Humans Relationship
The story of humans and orangutans has a very deep history. It is known that early cavemen often kept them as pets. Others have eaten them or killed them for sport. Due to the drive for logging and for mining their natural environment is continually destroyed. For the most part is seems that humans just don’t care that they are destroying these animals and that they are almost extinct at this point. When it comes to their own financial gain or their own expansion of room to live then don’t think twice about it.
While orangutans really aren’t a threat in any way to humans, they haven’t been held in high regard. There are simply too many times that humans have taken advantage of them. Sure, we have loved them in the movies that Hollywood offers us but what about them in their natural setting? Unfortunately for too long now it hasn’t been something that most people know about or take seriously. While Hollywood has brought the spotlight to these animals, it has also prevented many people from seeing the big picture.
Some people have the misconception that orangutans make excellent pets. They may have seen shows on TV that depict them as energetic and fun. Some people simply view them as very childlike and they love that idea. They also enjoy the appeal of a pet that is exotic and often illegal. While orangutans can be fun as infants, they can grow to be very large. They are also extremely powerful and they can become aggressive.
Hundreds of orangutans are smuggled annually to be sold as pets. People will pay thousands of dollars for them as well. When people are found to have them the pets can be taken away but that doesn’t mean they can be taken into the wild. These animals are too domesticated by then and don’t have the survival skills to do well in the wild. Many of them find even a zoo setting to be difficult to adjust to initially.
These animals also aren’t well cared for as pets. The novelty of them soon wears off when they get older. Yet it can be hard to get rid of them because there isn’t a market for adult orangutans and they don’t want to get in trouble with the law. The diet for them as pets isn’t always great or is their care. They may be overweight and have serious health problems.
Not all people out there though are for themselves. In fact there are many wonderful conservation groups that have worked hard for many decades to get help for the orangutans. Without their efforts these animals would certainly already be only found in zoos or our history books. Even so, their efforts just can’t keep up with what is going on with the destructive side of things. It seems that unless drastic improvements are made these animals will soon be only part of history.
One of the most recognized action groups to help the orangutans is the Orangutan Foundation International. This organization has been in place since 1986. Initially it was put in place for the observation and research of these animals. However, as new needs for them were found the organization began to change its focus. Hundreds of orphaned orangutans have been successfully placed through their programs.
Today they continue to strive to protect these animals in spite of the numbers continually dropping at an alarming rate. They have five priorities that they are currently working on to help these animals to survive. They include stopping illegal logging, helping to protect the natural habitat of orangutans, securing funding for additional research, educating the public about these animals and their environment, as well as trying to get those orangutans that can be released to the wild into such an environment.