The first World Orangutan Day is Monday, which is an attempt to bolster awareness about Earth’s dwindling orangutan population.
The campaign was set up to educate people on what they can do to save the species of primate, which is endemic to Indonesia and Malaysia.
In recent decades, the environment of the orangutan has been threatened by logging. The Sumatran orangutan, located on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is said to be critically endangered.
Other threats to the worldwide orangutan population include poaching and the illegal pet trade, but mostly, deforestation and habitat encroachment is what has caused the decline of the species.
The World Orangutan Day website says the day is a first.
“To recognize the most iconic victim of the palm oil industry, World Orangutan Day has been set as August 19 2013 where all of us can participate in the rescue and protection of this gentle primate,” it reads.
According to the ICHN Red List of mammals, which tracks endangered species, the Bornean orangutan population has declined by half in the past six decades.
The Sumatran orangutan population has declined about 80 percent in the past 75 years, the Red List says. In March 2012, some populations of Sumatran orangutans were reported to be imperiled by forest fires.
The Red List estimates there are 7,300 Sumatran orangutans and between 45,000 and 69,000 Bornean orangutans.
“From 1992-2000, the population of the Sumatran orangutan declined by more than 50% and only an estimated 7,000 animals are left in the wild,” the World Orangutan Day website states.
It added: “Since the last population estimates were done, deforestation rates have continued to climb which means the actual populations could be well below these.”