ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTLIGHT
Bornean & Sumatran Orangutans
SPECIES: Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) & Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus)
CURRENT RANGE: Sumatra (Indonesia) & Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia)
CURRENT THREATS: Deforestation, poaching
CONSERVATION STATUS: Critically Endangered (Sumatran) and Endangered (Bornean)
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: All over Malaysia and Indonesia, in the wild or at a rehabilitation center.
What are they?
The word “orangutan” means “man of the forest” in the Malay language… which makes sense when you consider that orangutans share 96.4% of our genes. They have grasping hands at the end of long arms, which allows them to swing through trees from branch to branch. They can grow to be between 1.25 and 1.5 metres tall; females weigh in at 30-50kg, and males at 50-90kg. We can easily identify orangutans by their red hair, but another distinguishing physical feature in males can be specified as “flanged” or “unflanged.” The flanged males have prominent cheek pads and a throat sack for long calls, whereas the unflanged orangutans do not have such features. They eat wild fruits such as lychees, mangosteens, and figs, and extract water from holes in trees by slurping it up.