Utah’s Hogle Zoo is presenting a unique opportunity to connect the Salt Lake community with our resident orangutans while raising money to preserve orangutans in Borneo. Our orangutans have many hidden talents, including artwork. In their spare time the orangutans have prepared their art masterpieces to be showcased and each piece is available for sale. Partnering with local artists, a handful of one-of-a-kind pieces will be created, combining the talents of both the orangutans and the artists. All proceeds from art sales will be donated to conserving orangutans and their rainforest habitat.
The plight of the wild orangutan is severe. The major threat to the orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo is the development of palm oil plantations. Palm oil for our consumption is harvested in the last remaining home of wild orangutans. The severe decline of orangutan populations is a direct result of destruction of habitat, leading to starvation, and the deliberate killing of orangutans who venture onto palm oil plantations. Fifty percent of the Sumatran orangutan population has disappeared in the last eight years; some experts predict that the palm oil industry will drive orangutans to extinction within a decade. Click here to see a consumer guide for palm oil free products.
The benefits of this program are numerous. Painting provides Zoo animals an outlet to express their intelligence, personalities, and abilities. This program allows them to fulfill their mission as ambassadors for their species. Their artistic creations generate precious funds that support conservation actions on the ground and behavioral enrichment initiatives at the Zoo. At the same time, this program engages the local community by creating a deeper appreciation for the lives of all animals and inspiring a greater concern for their well-being. All of this is achieved through the exhibition and sale of the animals’ own art.
The artwork for the 2011 “ORANGE UTAHN ART – Orangutans Helping Orangutans,” was on on display in the Zoo’s Auditorium October 8-15. Click here to view art work. A reception and silent auction was held on October 15th. All proceeds raised from the sale of art work went directly to help support conservation efforts of orangutans in the wild. Check back for details about our next show.