More intelligent than a lot of people I am sure many of us will have met, these endearing great apes are our closest living relatives, sharing 97% of our DNA.
They are nearly exclusively arboreal. Females hardly ever alight on the ground and males only very occasionally.
Compared to their Bornean cousins, Sumatrans are fewer in numbers and have longer faces, and lighter and longer hair.
Their life expectancy is 58 years for males and 53 years for females. They breed on average every seven to eight years.
Highly intelligent, they are able to use basic tools, make umbrellas out of leaves (orangutans don’t like getting wet), and have the capacity to remember things; such as favourite feeding grounds, which they will return to each season.
The name orangutan is derived from the Malay and Indonesian words orang (person) and hutan (forest), translating to ‘person of the forest’.
Lowland tropical rainforests and swamps
What they eat
Orangutans are omnivores: they eat fruits, leaves, bird’s eggs, insects and small vertebrates.
The palm oil industry, forest fires, habitat loss, illegal hunting for meat and illegal capture for the pet trade.
Status: Critically endangered
In the year 2000, the Sumatran orangutan was listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list. Other experts believe orangutans could be extinct in the wild in less than 25 years.
“The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.”