Orangutans are often more popular on the internet than in their native forests. Online, their attractive faces, fluffy bodies and swinging abilities make them perhaps the most shareable of all the great apes. But back in Borneo and Sumatra, where local populations are more ambivalent about orangutans, the situation is less straightforward. The third annual International Orangutan Day was held in August: a celebration of all things orangutan which aimed to highlight their crisis and encourage public action. For 24 hours, orangutan conservation organisations filled Facebook and Twitter with images, trivia and calls to save the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra – their only home. People donated to charities, signed petitions, liked, tagged, shared and retweeted content, posted supportive selfies and even organised local gatherings to mark the day.
This was just one of many digital entry-points that has made orangutan conservation an increasingly accessible, everyday affair. Today, one doesn’t need to gain a PhD, spend months in the jungle or stage Greenpeace-style confrontations to help save orangutans.… Read the rest