Orangutan Rainforest Home Protected Thanks to Thousands of Comments

Feature story - October 8, 2004
You did it! More than 5,900 of you told retailers and government officials that you wanted to protect the habitat of the endangered orangutan. Thanks to your thousands of messages, ramin trees, which provide habitat for the orangutan, now have greater international protection designed to reduce overexploitation and illegal trade. This remarkable decision was only possible because decision-makers saw a wide show of public support.

Orangutan sanctuary Wanariset Samboja

Since October 2, government representatives from around the world have been meeting in Bangkok to determine which animal and plant species should receive international protection under the Convention on the International Trade in Flora and Fauna (CITES). Indonesia had proposed that ramin be given increased protection to reduce overexploitation and help curb the tide of illegal logging and trade.

On Friday, October 8, Indonesia's proposal came up for a vote. The U.S, which is a major importer of illegally logged ramin and whose vote was critical in determining the outcome, voted in favor of the proposal. The proposal passed. We were told by U.S. agency representatives that your comments greatly influenced them to vote in favor of protecting ramin. And your thousands of letters to retailers made a difference: Sears sent in a letter to the U.S. CITES delegation asking it to support Indonesia's proposal.

Your comments made the difference in this vital international effort. Thanks to all who participated!