Literally translated Orangutan in the Malay language means 'man of the forest' and as the largest tree-swinging mammal in the world it's spot on. Characterised by their shaggy orange fur, these great apes are vital to the forest ecosystem. As they move around the tree tops they disperse seeds and keep the forest thriving.
DID YOU KNOW?
Orangutans arms from tip to tip are longer than their bodies. Perfect for swinging amongst the trees.
Type of animal: Mammal
Region: Borneo and Sumatra, South Asia
Maximum Length: Up to 1.5m
Status: Critically Endangered
There are 3 species of Orangutan in the world and they are found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in the South of Asia. The majority of Orangutans spend their time in trees and don't spend much time walking on the ground.
CONSERVATION - HOW TO HELP THE ORANGUTAN
As you would expect the remaining population of Orangutan rely heavily on the rainforest and trees for their survival. However this habitat is being lost and remains the single worst contribution to their Critically Endangered status. Their rainforests are being cleared to make way for agricultural and farming industries, primarily the production of palm oil. This product is found in the majority of foods in supermarkets and is therefore in high demand.
Land clearing along with poaching, forest fires, logging and the illegal pet trade are all contributing to Orangutans numbers dramatically falling. In Borneo and Sumatra national parks are often under-funded and lack patrols. It has therefore become the work of charities to set up and fund reserves to grow the population of Orangutans and keep them safe.
Work is actively being done to increase the amount of protected areas that these great apes can live in as well as educating the local communities and businesses to develop better farming practices. The sustainable production of palm oil is a must if Orangutans are to increase in number.