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Zoo's Orangutan Care Day Promotes Ape Conservation

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Our actions matter when it comes to protecting orangutans.

Zoo's Orangutan Care Day Promotes Ape Conservation

Mother and baby orangutan at the Zoo. Photo by Katie Mast/ABQ BioPark.

November 8, 2012

The ABQ BioPark celebrates primates at Orangutan Care Day on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Only two species of orangutan remain in the world today, and they are both on the brink of extinction. Discover the fascinating natural history of orangutans, learn about conservation efforts and create enrichment items for the Zoo's great apes.

Interactive discovery stations and biofacts demonstrate how everyone's actions matter for the future of wild orangutans. Learn about orangutan-safe products, and how to avoid items that contribute to habitat destruction.

"Orangutans are highly endangered, and at the current rate of deforestation, their habitat will be gone in 10-20 years," said Sarah Haft, Zoo Education Specialist. "We hope visitors will learn about the palm oil crisis and be inspired to help save the species by simply monitoring what they buy at the store. Kids can also make fun crafts that keepers will give to the orangutans for play and enrichment."

Sumatran orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) live on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia. Wild populations have declined by 80% over the last 75 years due to poaching and habitat destruction. Millions of acres of rainforest are cut down each year to produce palm oil. Products including cookies, crackers, shampoo, cosmetics, pet food and frozen dinners may contain palm oil. Products made with sustainably-harvested palm oil are available, and purchasing them helps encourage orangutan-friendly resource management.

The name orangutan means "person of the forest". They share almost 97% of their DNA with humans and are extremely intelligent, even learning sign language and how to use computer touch-screens. Orangutans recognize themselves in mirrors and can take on others' perspectives. In the wild, orangutans are great tool users and able to teach each other. Find out more at Orangutan Care Day, which is included with regular admission.

For more information, please email [email protected] or dial 311 locally (505-768-2000).

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