ORANGUTANS OF GUNUNG LEUSER
Please note the orangutan outdoor habitat is closed while we make some improvements.
The Leuser Ecosystem is home to more than 85% of all remaining Sumatran orangutans. The 2.6 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem straddles the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces in Sumatra. It is one of the largest contiguous intact rainforests in the whole of Southeast Asia and the last place on earth where Critically Endangered orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers coexist in the wild.
OF THE RAINFOREST
Countless plants and animals rely on the rainforest for their very survival. But it's not just them—the rainforest holds significance for us humans as well. The decisions we make can have a profound impact on the fate of the orangutans in Gunung Leuser and the diverse array of species that call the rainforest their home, including our fellow human beings.
YOU can be a Rainforest Guardian with the choices YOU make. Small actions make a big impact!
Will YOU rise to the challenge?
Purchase products made with only sustainable palm oil.
Did You Know?
Palm oil is one of the most versatile plant oils on the planet, found in numerous ingredients used in cosmetics, food, personal care, and cleaning products. Indonesia is the largest exporter of palm oil globally, and millions of farmers and their families rely on this sector for their livelihoods. With its high yield and economic significance, palm oil plays a vital role in the region's economy. However, along with its benefits comes an equal danger to the rainforest.
Palm oil cultivation has been a significant driver of deforestation in the world's only orangutan habitat. The clearing of biodiverse rainforests for oil palm plantations has been the leading cause of deforestation in Indonesia over the past two decades, even encroaching into national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and protected sites.
What can you do?
Immediate action is necessary to protect the remaining orangutan habitats. As a consumer, you can make a difference by becoming an informed shopper and choosing products made with only SUSTAINABLY sourced palm oil. Supporting the transition to only SUSTAINABLE palm oil helps safeguard farmers, protect the rainforest and wildlife, and contribute to poverty reduction.
By making conscious choices during your shopping trips, you actively contribute to the conservation of orangutans, including those in Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra, as well as numerous other species.
Purchase products made with only sustainable palm oil. Our Orangutan-Friendly Shopping Guide makes it easy.
Discover our Orangutan-Friendly Shopping Guide, designed to assist you in making sustainable choices effortlessly. Palm oil is present in over 50% of the food, cleaning, and beauty products in our homes. With more than 200 names for palm oil and its derivatives, and the absence of clear labeling laws, it can be challenging to determine if a product contains palm oil and whether it is sustainably sourced. Our shopping guide takes the guesswork out by providing carefully researched information, empowering you to purchase products made with only sustainable palm oil. Together, we can make a difference and help protect the integrity of our precious rainforests.
Learn about the importance of sustainable palm oil and its positive impact by visiting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) website. RSPO is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the palm oil industry into a sustainable and responsible one. Join the collective effort in driving change and protecting our environment, wildlife, and communities.Visit the RSPO website to learn more
Download the PalmOil Scan Mobile App now and become a rainforest advocate while shopping. Scan product barcodes to determine if they are RSPO-certified and contribute to the conservation of orangutans and other wildlife. Available for Apple and Android devices.
Use Forestry Stewardship Council-Certified paper and wood products
You can find the FSC logo on everything from toilet tissue to printer paper to lumber. The symbol is proof that the materials come from forests that are managed in a way that preserves biodiversity and benefits the lives of local people.
Your Toronto Zoo Protects Orangutans
At the Toronto Zoo, we are deeply committed to the well-being of the orangutans under our care and dedicated to the conservation and fight against the extinction of wild orangutan populations.
Leading by Example
We actively raise awareness about the palm oil crisis and demonstrate our commitment by using and offering products made with sustainable palm oil. As a 100% sustainable palm oil facility, this includes the food we provide to our animals, the cleaning products we use, and the merchandise available in our gift shop and third-party operated restaurants and snack bars!
We raise and donate significant funds for projects that fight orangutan extinction
We are dedicated to fighting orangutan extinction by raising and donating significant funds to support crucial projects. Through our efforts, we contribute to initiatives that protect rainforests, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and empower local communities. Recently, we proudly donated $250,000 to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, furthering our commitment to preserving these magnificent creatures and their habitat, thanks to generous donations made to the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy.
We collaborate in the global effort to save orangutans
We collaborate with academic and field partners to gather information that helps conserve orangutans in the wild.
Discover the Toronto Zoo's position on palm oil and our commitment to addressing the conservation crisis by visiting:
Explore & Play App
Swing into the free app, Explore & Play by Toronto Zoo, and immerse yourself in the rainforests of Indonesia through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Train an orangutan, fly a drone, or set up a nature cam to track orangutans and other fascinating animals that inhabit the rainforests of Indonesia. You can also contribute to our Welfare Science team's research by submitting your observations of Toronto Zoo's orangutans, helping us gain valuable insights into their behavior in their new habitat. Complete all the activities and earn your Rainforest Guardians badge!
Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme - SOCP
In 2017, the conservation status of Sumatran orangutans was changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). Today, fewer than 15,000 Sumatran orangutans can be found in the wild. Approximately 95% of these orangutans live in the Greater Leuser Ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
In 2022, your Toronto Zoo and the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy committed to a long-term partnership with PanEco Foundations’ Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). Thanks to generous donations made to the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, the Toronto Zoo will provide $250,000 over ten years to support orangutan conservation in the wild, furthering the Toronto Zoo's conservation impact worldwide. Like the new outdoor habitat, donations to the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy have made this partnership possible.
Long-term support is invaluable to the work being done by the SOCP, since knowing they have funds coming in year after year allows them to better plan their conservation activities to be more effective and impactful, to react promptly to new challenges when they arise, and to new opportunities, knowing they have the resources available.
Construction & Habitat Design
The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy’s Reaching New Heights for Orangutans Campaign enabled your Toronto Zoo to complete the construction of this new $11 million outdoor habitat for the seven orangutans in our care.
Dedicated supporters, including The City of Toronto, Compass Group Canada, the Lawrence Schafer Foundation, Juan and Stefania Speck and many others, made impactful donations that helped bring this project to life.
Under construction since 2020, this new outdoor habitat was built to stimulate the orangutans' physical, social, and intellectual needs. The seven Sumatran orangutans that call the Toronto Zoo home will slowly be introduced to this new 13,000sq ft space, each at their own pace and comfort level. Once they are settled in, they will be able to climb up to 75 feet in the air and feel the breeze as they look out over the treetops of the Rouge Valley. And if you come to visit their new home and they are not quite used to their new space yet, don’t worry, they still have their familiar indoor habitat that they love to explore!
Integrated into the new space will also be a research station where animal behavioural scientists can study these majestic tree dwellers, these "Guardians of the Rainforest". Guests can also learn more about how they can help this critically endangered species by shopping smart and learning more about sustainable palm oil.Architectural Collaboration: Crafting the Orangutan Habitat
The Sumatran Orangutan Habitat at the Toronto Zoo, designed by Zeidler Architecture in association with Jones & Jones Architects + Landscape Architects, offers a unique and immersive experience for both visitors and orangutans. Inspired by the natural habitat of Borneo, the design meticulously recreates an environment that reflects the orangutans' natural lifestyle. The habitat features climbing structures, varied terrain, a waterfall stream, and strategically placed elements to enhance the animals' experience. Elevated walkways and platforms provide visitors with captivating vantage points, allowing them to observe the orangutans as they explore their surroundings. Interactive spaces, including a special viewing spot where orangutans playfully spray water at visitors, foster a sense of engagement and playfulness. The habitat serves as a reminder of the importance of habitat protection while providing an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
The Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy is a dedicated partner in the fight against extinction with your Toronto Zoo, and proudly furthers the Zoo's conservation impact worldwide through the Wilding Endangered Species Preservation Fund, which currently supports Sumatran orangutans, and other endangered species.
For more information or to help conserve wild orangutan populations:
Oil palm plantations, logging, mining, and infrastructure development all contribute to the destruction of orangutans' rainforest homes.
However, rainforest destruction doesn't only impact orangutans. It has far-reaching consequences for people as well. Rainforests play a crucial role in combating climate change and are home to some of the world's most diverse ecosystems. Indigenous communities rely on the rainforest for their homes and livelihoods, making their preservation essential.
Orangutans, as keystone species, play a vital role in shaping the rainforest ecosystem. By protecting orangutans, we safeguard the entire web of life within the rainforest.
Discover the breathtaking beauty and vital importance of Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the last remaining strongholds of the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan. Explore the diverse ecosystems, stunning landscapes, and remarkable wildlife that call this park their home. Learn about the conservation efforts and ongoing initiatives to protect this precious habitat. Visit the UNESCO website to delve deeper into the wonders of this extraordinary world heritage site.
To discover more about the fascinating world of the Sumatran orangutan, we encourage you to explore our comprehensive fact sheet. This fact sheet provides valuable insights into the biology, behavior, and conservation status of these remarkable creatures. Visit our orangutan fact sheet in the Animals section of our website to expand your knowledge about these incredible primates.
FOR UPDATES ON OUR NEW OUTDOOR HABITAT
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DO!
AND HOW YOU CAN BECOME
A RAINFOREST GUARDIAN