According to the World Wildlife Federation, the efforts to save the orangutan focus around protecting the animal's natural habitat, rehabilitating and releasing captured or injured animals, and ending the international trade in orangutans as pets.

As of 2014, an estimated 41,000 Bornean orangutans and 7,500 Sumatran orangutans are believed to exist in the wild. Agriculture is the primary threat to their habitat, with large swaths of rainforest being cut down or burned to make way for palm oil plantations. Encouraging producers to find more environmentally friendly ways to produce palm oil and encouraging manufacturers to source their supplies from ecologically sound sources has helped reduce pressure on orangutan habitats.

Cracking down on the pet trade has helped to reduce the number of animals killed and captured by poachers. Rehabilitation programs seek to help these animals readjust to life in the wild, since many of those taken as pets were separated from their mothers at an extremely young age. In addition to releasing these rehabilitated animals into existing populations, some wildlife organizations have sought to build entirely new populations of released orangutans in the wild to serve as additional insurance against the development or poaching that threatens the very existence of the species.