FACTS ON ORANGUTANS

An Orangutan Performs A High-Wire Act At An Indonesian Rehabilitation Center. Photo:T. Bachner

Facts About Orangutans

The orangutan is a large, red-hair ape which, among apes, is second in size only to the gorilla, with large males weighing as much as 114 kilograms, or 250 pounds.

This page is a summary of our facts on orangutans; follow the link to our more detailed orangutan facts pages.

There are two orangutan subspecies; one subspecies lives on the Island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, and the other lives on the Island of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia. The Sumatran subspecies is Critically Endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with only a few thousand animals remaining. There are no more than 60,000 orangutans living in the rain forests of Borneo, and the subspecies is listed as Endangered.

Both orangutan subspecies are declining in number due to habitat loss. On both islands where they live, large swaths of rain forest are being cut down by loggers, and in order to clear land for agricultural purposes.

The orangutan is second only to the gibbon, a much smaller ape, in its ability to move through the leafy canopy of a rain forest. Their main food source is fruit, and they travel great distances through the trees to find places where fruit has ripened.

For further facts on orangutans, follow the link above.

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