Range and Habitat: Sumatran orangutans are found in the rainforests of Sumatra.
Diet: The orangutan diet consists mostly of fruit, but they will also feed on leaves, shoots, insects,bark, eggs, and small vertebrates.
Life Span: Up to 60 years
Status in the Wild: Critically Endangered
Threats to Survival: Orangutans are critically endangered because of the loss of forests due to fires, conversion to palm oil plantations and other agriculture. Despite legal protection, they are still hunted illegally.
- The word orangutan means “person of the forest” in the Malay language.
- Orangutans are the largest arboreal animal, spending 90% of their time in the canopies of the rainforests. They are well-adapted to life in the trees with an arm span up to 7 feet. These long arms allow them to move easily through the trees, swinging from limb to limb, or brachiating. They build nests in the trees to sleep and will use large leaves as umbrellas to shelter them from rain.
- Orangutans are more solitary than other great apes, with males living out most of their lives alone. Males make various calls in order to stay out of each other’s way. The male’s long call can be heard 1.2 miles away.
- Mothers and infants share a strong bond. A young orangutan will remain with its mother for six to seven years. A female orangutan gives birth once every eight years,the longest span of any animal. .
- Orangutans are the only great ape native to Asia. Within the orangutan family are three species: Sumatran, Bornean, and Tapanuli. The Tapanuli orangutan was first observed in 1939 but it wasn’t until 2017 that it was determined to be a distinct species separate from the Bornean and Sumatran orangutan.