Orangutans play a critical role in maintaining the health of their forest ecosystem through the dispersal of seeds, giving them the name gardeners of the forest. However, their species is under severe threat. As forests are cleared to provide room for agriculture and palm oil plantations, many orangutans are left without a home. This makes them more vulnerable to poachers. Sumatran orangutans, classified as critically endangered, are estimated to only have 7,500 left.
The first time 2016 Emerging Explorer Panut Hadisiswoyo locked eyes with an orangutan, he knew he wanted to help. He founded the Orangutan Information Centre in Sumatra, which is dedicated to conserving Sumatran orangutans and their forest homes. Hadisiswoyo takes the stage to talk about his passion for saving orangutans and the incredible work his organization has done to help protect this endearing species.