- Date: April 02, 2015
Eighty percent of the world’s known terrestrial plant and animal species can be found in forests. Cool fact: a square kilometer of forest may be home to more than 1,000 species. Yet forests are disappearing at an alarming rate—18.7 million acres of forests are lost annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute.
A loss and degradation of forests means wildlife have less access to clean river water, trees for shade and hunting grounds for ambushing prey. WWF works with communities, governments, companies and other partners to protect forests and the animals that rely on them.
Take a look at some of the many tree-lovin,’ tree-huggin' species whose habitat WWF helps to protect, then hug a tree yourself to show your support for forests!
Western lowland gorilla: The western lowland gorilla, living in the forests of the Congo Basin, dwells in some of the most dense and remote rainforests in the world. As timber and other companies cut through its habitat, this critically endangered species is falling victim to poaching for bushmeat trade and other threats.
Koala: One of the most iconic “tree hugging” animals, the koala spends roughly 20 hours a day sleeping in the tree canopy, with long forelimbs and padded paws specially adapted to aid in gripping and climbing.
Jaguar: The biggest cat in the western hemisphere is an accomplished climber and swimmer. Deforestation means a loss of habitat for jaguars, diminishing available prey and bringing them into more frequent conflict with humans.
Orangutan: Known for their distinctive red fur, orangutans are the largest arboreal mammal, spending most of their time in trees. Found only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, Asia's only great apes are rapidly losing their forest homes to oil palm and other agricultural plantations. Today, more than 50% of orangutans are found outside protected areas in forests under management by timber, palm oil and mining companies.
Giant panda: The giant panda, WWF’s logo and a global symbol for conservation, is the rarest member of the bear family. Living mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, they are excellent tree climbers despite their bulk. Pandas subsist almost entirely on bamboo and must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day.
Tree pangolin: A long tail and clawed feet make the tree pangolin well-suited for tree-dwelling. All pangolins are primarily nocturnal animals meaning they are most active at night. They are recognizable by their full armor of scales.
Sloth: Sloths spend most of their lives in the trees. They move through the canopy at a rate of about 40 yards per day, munching on leaves, twigs and buds, and they come down to the ground about once per week. Without an abundance of trees, sloths will lose their shelter and food source.
Sumatran Tiger: Tigers can be found in many types of habitat, from tropical forests to tall grass jungles. Today, the last of Indonesia’s tigers—now fewer than 400—are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra. Increased deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives.
Squirrel Monkey: Squirrel monkeys live in the forests of South America and Central America. Their long, slender limbs and short thighs allow them to jump higher and longer distances in the canopy than other monkeys.
Monarch butterfly: Monarch butterflies are quite the "tree hugging" species. They need mountain forests in Mexico for their winter habitat, traveling between 1,200 and 2,800 miles or more from the United States and Canada to hibernate in central Mexican forests. However, nearby human communities also rely on monarchs and create pressure on forests through agriculture and tourism activities.