Scientific name: Sumatran orangutan: Pongo abelii , Bornean orangutan: Pongo pygmaeus
Lifespan: Bornean orangutan: 35 – 45 years
Mass: Bornean orangutan: 50 – 100 kg, Sumatran orangutan: 45 kg
Height: Bornean orangutan: 1.2 – 1.4 m, Sumatran orangutan: 90 cm
Gestation period: 274 days
More about Orangutans:
Orangutans are recognized for their long, orange fur and their incredibly long arms which are used to swing from tree to tree. They are the largest tree-climbing mammal in the world. These gentle forest giants are solitary animals with the exception of females with young which remain together for 3 to 4 years. Females only give birth once every 5 to 10 years and do not reach sexual maturity until 10-15 years of age.
There are 2 species of orangutan, the Sumatran, and the Bornean. Both species are under threat from loss of habitat due to agricultural development and logging, as well as illegal trapping and killing, and the pet trade. The Sumatran orangutan is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, the Bornean is listed as endangered.
Because they have a low reproductive rate, mature late, give birth to a single offspring, and have a long interval between births, they are especially sensitive to population declines. Unfortunately, orangutans are under serious threat for various reasons.
Orangutan Facts & Tidbits
- More than half of their diet consists of fruits like mangoes, figs, and lychees, but also includes things like leaves, shoots, bark, and insects.
- Orangutans can live 30 to 45 years in the wild.
- Male orangutans are larger than females reaching a height of 5 feet, and weighing around 200 pounds.
- A female gives birth to one offspring, occasionally twins, and may care for them for as long as 5 years.
- Orangutans are arboreal, spending the majority of their time in trees. They also sleep in trees, building ‘nests’ out of sticks and leaves.
Orangutans are found only on the Southeast Asian islands after which they are named. The Sumatran orangutan is endemic to the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, it’s range now limited to the Northern part of the island.
It was historically more widespread throughout the island. The Bornean orangutan is endemic to the island of Borneo.
Its distribution across the island is fragmented and it is absent completely in some regions of the island.
IUCN Status: Critically Endangered / Population Trend: Decreasing
According to the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature), the Sumatran orangutan population has declined by more than 80% in the past 75 years and continues to decline due to loss of habitat.
IUCN Status: Endangered / Population Trend: Decreasing
The IUCN estimates a decline of more than 50% in the past 60 years with continued decline. This species of orangutan is also found outside of protected areas where habitat is being destroyed for illegal timber harvest and conversion to agriculture such as palm oil.
Photo Credit: Kjersti Joergensen, Dreamstime