The Orangutan Project Races to Meet Urgent Need of Displaced, Injured Orangutans in the Wake of Indonesia’s Fire Crisis

The Orangutan Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to orangutan conservation and welfare, seeks to raise $500,000 by Dec. 31 to equip orangutan rescue centers in Indonesia after several devastating wildfires ravaged Sumatra and Kalimantan this year.

The Orangutan Project’s partners on the ground in the affected areas are working to rescue displaced orangutans and rehabilitate severely injured apes after nearly 2,000 wildfires burned through Indonesia this autumn. The fires were caused by a severely dry, drought-stricken summer season.

“The effects of toxic smoke on young orangutan lungs is catastrophic,” said Leif Cocks, founder of The Orangutan Project. “Affected youngsters succumb to lung infections, coughs and viruses. Adults take longer, but the damage to their respiratory systems will be felt for years. These orangutans need to be under permanent protection, in vigilantly patrolled habitat, safeguarded from future fires.” 

Orangutan populations that survived the fires have now lost their forest homes and are beginning to seek food in nearby farmlands and villages, which puts them at an even higher risk of being killed or poached.

“We’re now dealing with environmental catastrophes on an unprecedented scale, and critically endangered orangutans are moving closer to extinction in the wild as a result,” Cocks said. “Their only hope now are people who will rescue them, protect them and restore their forest habitats before it’s too late.”

Donations raised through The Orangutan Project’s efforts will go to assisting rescue staff, increasing the amount of fire and poaching patrol teams and bringing more caregivers to orangutan rescue centers, as well as to the treatment of skin burns, respiratory problems, dehydration and malnutrition in wounded orangutans.

To contribute to this fundraising campaign, visit

To learn more about The Orangutan Project, visit

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