YES | Earth Day Celebration: An Orangutan Adoption


April witnessed the coming of spring when the Orangutan House of Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo hosted 30 environmentally-conscious animal-loving students from the Nanjing Tianzheng Primary School Roots and Shoots group and 12 volunteers from Disney English for an event organized by Shanghai Roots and Shoots. On that day of April 17th, this group adopted an orangutan and participated in an Orangutan Protection Education Campaign.

Little Black, the Loving Adopted Orangutan

The Nanjing Tianzheng Primary School Roots & Shoots group collectively adopted an orangutan named Little Black and each student involved received an honorary certificate of adoption. The Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo Minister of Publicity and Education described the significance of this adoption and detailed the use of donated funds. The funds raised are to be used to improve the quality of life for all animals and to promote the cooperation of field conservation and research in the zoo. At the same time, the Minister expressed sincere thanks for the group’s adoption of Little Black.

The Orangutan Story

During the visit, the students had the opportunity to take a look inside of the Orangutan House, where the zoo animal caretaker taught the students about wild orangutan habits and skills, and also told stories about the zoo’s own orangutan. Everyone was fascinated by the orangutan’s amazing abilities.

In order to visit the back of the Orangutan House, all were required to sterilize themselves and wear protective masks. Afterwards, they visited the kitchen and learned about the orangutan diet and food. But the best part was when they went to the rooftop to greet the orangutans!

An Enriching Experience

The zoo animal caretaker provided many enriching activities so that the students could better establish ties with the orangutans. These activities provided everyone with the opportunity problem-solve and promote their explorative behavior, enhance their interest in the richness of life, and learn more about natural behavior and instincts.

A Habitat Fragmentation Game

Orangutans live mainly in Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia, where good humidity, temperature, and light are very suitable for the growth of oil palm trees, and where oil palm fruit can be extracted to produce palm oil. The oil is widely used in foods, raw chemical materials, daily chemicals, cosmetics, plastic and rubber products, as well as in many other industries. Palm oil has become the number one choice for enterprises due to its low cost, stable nature, and 30 year production life cycle.

Because of the increasing demand for palm oil on the international market, many palm oil growers cut down native plant species of the rainforest, burn down the natural ecosystem, and plant palm trees in its place. As a result, thousands of orangutans have died in these fires. And because of the disappearance of a large number of rainforests, orangutans have lost their homes and struggle to survive.

The development and construction of palm oil plantations have led to the fragmentation of rainforests, cut off of natural corridors and transitional wildlife zones, and have even hindered the foraging and reproduction of animals. This has destroyed ecological balance and has led to the reduction of biodiversity.

In the game activity organized for the students, mats connected on the ground represented the tropical rainforest and everyone represented an orangutan. Through this game, we could put ourselves in a position to feel the orangutan survival crisis.

The game made it clear that by choosing RSPO certified “zero deforestation” palm oil products in our daily lives we can help protect orangutans in the wild while also helping protect the environment and endangered wildlife.

Do you want to make your own efforts to protect wildlife?

  • Foster wildlife protective habitats;
  • Fight poaching;
  • Remove game meats and unnaturally grown plants from our table;
  • Refuse to use medicines made from wild animals;
  • Boycott products made from endangered animals and their body parts;
  • Refuse to wear fur;
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets;
  • Help rescue injured wildlife;
  • Cultivate green consumption and environmentally-friendly lifestyle habits;
  • Donate to wildlife conservation and rescue projects;
  • Volunteer for wildlife protection, research, education and publicity;
  • Adopt an animal, an important way to support the protection and publicity of wildlife in zoos.

Benefits for Adopters:

For individual or family adoption: Those who adopt will receive an adoption certificate and charity card (they can come to the zoo for free all year long) from the zoo. Additionally, they are given 2 opportunities to experience feeding/managing and will also receive 2 status-update reports.

For collective adoption (class, school or company): Can have a one-time science class in your school or company. Will be listed on the zoo adoption list and mentioned in the adoption ceremony.

For all adopters: If the animal has not yet been named, adopters can take precedence in naming them. For educational activities hosted at the zoo, adopters will have precedence for sign up with additional benefits.

If you would like more information about adoption, you can call Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo. The phone number is 025-68150268/025-85518101


* Photos courtesy of Naijing Hongshan Forest Zoo

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