Posts Tagged 'rain forest conservation'

Today is World Orangutan Day!

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Today is World Orangutan Day and the perfect time to reflect on our connection to the tropical rain forests of Indonesia and Malaysia.

orangutan

This connection is as close as the local grocery store, where there is a good chance many of the products offered for sale contain palm oil.

What is palm oil? 

Listed in over 200 different ways (including palm oil, palmitate, sodium lauryl, palm stearic and vegetable oil), palm oil is commonly used in food products, soaps, shampoos and cosmetics.

Produced from the fruit of the oil palm, the origin of use for this resource is routed back to the indigenous peoples of West Africa (some records even indicate that the ancient Egyptians used palm oil).

The oil palm was first introduced to Southeast Asia in 1848. Now, most is produced in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Impact on orangutans? 

Because of its versatility, the worldwide demand for palm oil has become insatiable. It is estimated that rain forests are being cleared at a rate of 300 football fields per hour to make way for oil palm plantations.

This swift destruction of rain forest habitat in Southeast Asia has had a devastating impact on orangutans. From 2004 to 2008, the Sumatran orangutan population fell by 14 percent to 6,600, largely due to loss of habitat for palm oil expansion. There is a real threat that orangutans face extinction within the next 10 years because of these actions.

While achievable (and encouraged), only a small percentage of palm oil is currently grown in a sustainable manner that does not involve the clearing of rain forests.

What you can do: 

  • The issues (both political and economic) concerning palm oil production are complex.
  • Read labels carefully and avoid products containing palm oil.
  • Ask manufacturers to use only sustainable palm oil in their products.

Help us spread the word about World Orangutan Day and the palm oil crisis using #WorldOrangutanDay!

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International Migratory Bird Day!

Today is International Migratory Bird Day

This day celebrates the return of migratory bird species from warmer climates for the summer season! Every year, species like the oriole fly to the tropical rain forests of South America for the winter and return back to North America for the warm summer months.

Oriole

An oriole bird.

There are around 350 species of birds migratory birds that connect the North American region to the tropics. These birds rely on the availability of habitat and ecological networks along their migration routes. As they travel such long distances, migratory species need safe places to feed, rest and breed. Sadly, deforestation and habitat degradation are limiting the access these animals have to such crucial resources – posing a real threat to the survival of many birds during this demanding trip.

Want to see what kind of impact deforestation has had over time in the Amazon? Check out this interactive timelapse project from Google.

By helping to conserve the rain forest and creating safe wildlife habitats in your own backyard, you can help curb this unfortunate trend.

Migratory birds in our area? 

The Chesapeake Bay watershed plays an important role in the survival of one migratory bird species in particular, the red knot. Horseshoe crab spawning along the Delaware Bay provides a crucial food source for red knots. As these birds are making the long trip from Chile all the way up to the Artic, they stop in the Delaware Bay to feed on horseshoe crab eggs. This fuel stop is crucial to the success of their continued journey. You can experience this magnificent sight this weekend!

How YOU can celebrate Migratory Bird Day! 

  • Keep a clean bird seed feeder in your yard. Dirty bird feeders and bird baths can spread disease. Disinfected feeders and baths can make your area a great resting spot for these birds.
  • Leave baby birds where you find them and protect any birds from pets! Fledgings may spend several days on the ground after they leave the nest before they are able to fly. Keeping people and pets away is crucial to letting their parents continue to care for them properly.
  • Buy bird-friendly products. Help preserve migratory and native bird habitat in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean by purchasing shade-grown coffee and chocolate.
  • Plant a native garden! Native plants provide food, nest sites and cover for birds.

Are you enjoying nature this weekend? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page or using #NAnaturelove. 


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