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Photo Of The Day: An Animal Rescue Activist Saves An Orangutan From Deforestation In Indonesia

Orangutan populations are quickly diminishing in Indonesia and Malaysia.

This endangered species’ habitats on tropical islands like Borneo and Sumatra are threatened by commercial logging, mining, and deforestation for pulp and paper. Furthermore, according to Michelle Desilets, executive director of the Orangutan Land Trust, “the conversion of forest for oil palm is the single greatest threat to [their] survival in the wild.”

Palm oil–which is found in cookies, soap, doughnuts, and even cosmetics like lipstick–is in incredibly high demand as the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, igniting many palm oil companies to exploit areas where the oil is found at any cost. Indonesia and Malaysia are not only home to the large red apes, but they account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production. The global demand for the oil has resulted in massive forest destruction throughout the two countries, especially in Indonesia where palm oil is the country’s third largest export and the most valuable agricultural product.

Many palm oil plantations face criticism from environmentalists who work endlessly to increase public pressure on the palm oil industry. Ian Singleton, director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, and his team rescue orangutans displaced by palm oil plantations, or orphaned orangutans whose families were killed so they could be illegally kept as pets by humans. Singleton’s program releases most of the apes back into the wild in much safer forests.

Adi Irawan of International Animal Rescue Indonesia (IAR)–another organization concerned with saving orangutans–explains, “There are more orangutans in the tiny remaining patches of forest in the plantation, along with other protected species such as proboscis monkeys. All of the animals on the plantation are threatened. The company must stop clearing the forest immediately.”

With fewer than 7,000 orangutans believed to be living in the Sumatran wilds, environmentalists hasten their pace in rescuing the endangered apes.

“The definition of a refugee is someone whose homeland is no longer available to them, and that’s exactly the case with these orangutans,” says Singleton.”These are the survivors of this annihilation of the forest, and everything that lives in it.”

What We Love This Week, Volume CXLIV

North Korea Parade Candles

Image Source: The Atlantic

North Korea’s Latest Surreal Military Demonstration

North Korea Color Coordination

Image Source: The Atlantic

It’s hardly surprising that North Korea would stage a massive military demonstration to mark 70 years of Workers’ Party rule. It is, on the other hand, surprising that they would allow foreign photographers as much access as they did. The goal, no doubt, was to present to the world a strong, proud nation that can conquer any foe (namely the United States). The images, however, present an eerily hollow ghost town whose idea of military might, and thus national identity, are bound to ideas and iconography now more than a half century old. See more at The Atlantic.

North Korea People Flag

Image Source: The Atlantic

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In Nepal, Every Dog Has Its Day. Literally.

Dog Festival Nepal Sprinkled

Basking in admiration while receiving a Kukur Tihar blessing. Source: Imgur

Most dog owners would do just about anything for their canine companions. In Nepal, Hindu populations take that affection to another level.

Coinciding with the traditional Hindu festival of Diwali, the people of Nepal reserve the second day of the annual five-day Tihar Festival to honor man’s best friend. On this day — called Kukur Tihar, or “worship of the dogs” — participants pay tribute to the divine attachment between humans and their faithful, four-legged companions.

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