While it's easy to see the orangutans enjoy their daily trips with their kindhearted sitters, things weren't always so peaceful for them. Each of the center's littlest residents were rescued from saddening situations, having been kidnapped and sold as pets, or left orphaned by the death of their parents. Every year, an estimated 1,500 to 5,000 orangutans are killed, victims of habitat loss from palm oil plantations or bloody conflicts with humans, who often kill adults so they can sell their babies into the pet trade.
"It's also incredibly poignant to see these babies, but they really shouldn't be seeking comfort from a babysitter. They should still be with their mothers, protecting them and looking after them," said Key. "But they're at the early stages of a very long process which will end, we hope, with their return to protected forests to, once again, be wild orangutans."