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World Orangutan Day - August 19th

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Location: Missoula, MT
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Today I learned about:


(Pic from

World Orangutan Day 2019
By Willie Smits

Orangutans have been my most special friends for 30 years. As a former "special" child, animals were always my best friends. I could talk about the orangutans as the gardeners of the rainforest and their role in biodiversity conservation. I could think of many reasons why their forest should not be destroyed. Or name all the problems they face. Or what we can do to help them. However, there are already so many websites and articles that you can read about.

What is most important to me personally is the deep connection with what I can only call their soul. They understand so much more than people realize. And their suffering is just as real as that of people. The ability of the orphans that we rescue to forgive humans, and to be able to trust us again after their mother has been murdered by us is hard to imagine. And the friendship and even the love that they can feel for each other and some people is no different than the friendship and love that we humans can feel.

I have seen orangutan mothers carry a stillborn baby for days, their eyes full of pain, crying without tears. I have received artworks from them that they have made especially for me to show their friendship in a human way, after we had not seen each other for years. I got their newborn babies put in my arms in the rainforest, not because I wanted to, but because they trusted me. I saw a group of orangutans watch a boy with Down syndrome, look him in the eye, and hug him. His parents were crying with happiness. These kinds of experiences are engraved in your heart and are the best reason to make Orangutan Day a special day. Because, to be honest, I think they are the better people ...

So yes, give them some extra attention today and think about how we can make a better place for all of us and for us together.

Willie Smits, August 19, 2019

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