is pronounced orang-u-tan, as in suntan, not -tang. Orangutans are beautiful
red-haired mammals who live in the rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra in the
countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.In
Malay orang means "person" and utan is derived from hutan which
means "forest". Thus orangutan literally means, "Person of
abelii (Sumatran) and pygmaeus (Bornean)
males - about 40 inches from top of head to rump; females - about 30 inches
males - 110 to 300 pounds; females - 66 to 110 pounds
Span: 60 years or more
about 8.5 months
of Young at Birth: usually 1, very rarely 2 (in captivity)
at Birth: 3.3 to 4.5 pounds
of Maturity: males - about 15 years; females - about 12 (in captivity)
Status: Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean) is endangered; Pongo abelii (Sumatran)
is critically endangered
with the bonobo, the chimpanzee, and the gorilla, the orangutan is remarkably
similar to humans, in terms of anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Like the other
great apes, orangutans are highly intelligent, as seen in their advanced tool
use and distinct cultural patterns. Their native intelligence is often used to
solve problems related to arboreal travel and food processing. However, their
rainforest habitat is continuously being destroyed by illegal logging, mining,
farming, and palm oil plantations. Despite formally protected status, the wild
orangutan continues to be a critically endangered species and could soon become
extinct in the wild. Experts predict wild orangutans could become extinct as
natural populations in ten to twenty years.
species with two subspecies, one from SUMATRA (Pongo pygmaeus abelii) and the
other from BORNEO (P. pygmaeus pygmaeus). The Borean male has large cheek pads,
a tremendous laryngeal sac and a square shaped face. The Sumatran male has small
pads and sac, a ginger colored mustache and a diamond shaped face. Individuals
can also be distinguished genetically (DNA sequencing) or chromosomally (karyotyping).
world’s population of wild orangutans is to be found exclusively concentrated
in the lush tropical rainforests of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
orangutan habitat has decreased by more than 80% in the last twenty years. The
areas most appealing to humans are often also those that are prime orangutan
habitat - lowland forests. Commercial ventures from timber and oil to rubber and
rice plantations destroy such vast tracts of land that orangutans are deprived
of even the minimum use of resources they need to survive.
Orangutans are classified as critically
endangered; in the wild they are estimated to number between 20-30,000.
Unless drastic measures are taken, orangutans will be extinct in the wild
within 20 years.
Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia)
learn more about Bonobos, Chimpanzees,
Orangutans and Gorillas visit and join the following organizations by clicking
on their logo.
compiled from The British Antarctic Study, NASA, Environment Canada,
UNEP, EPA and other sources as stated and credited Researched by Charles
Welch-Updated daily This Website is a project of the The Ozone Hole Inc.
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