There are many animal species that should be given (much better, or even basic protection from the devastation caused by the human species. Witnessing these majestic beings gradually being wiped out due to industries such as Palm Oil is an insult to all of us who care. Orangutans, and trying to help and protect them, means that they have a special little space hidden away somewhere within my soul. I hate the human race; they claim superiority and a ‘superior being’ type status; whilst in my opinion; they are in fact the masters of destruction of this planet; and that is nothing to be ‘superior’ or proud about.
The following video shows the work of one of the Orangutan charities which I personally support. It shows the great work that they have been doing during 2019 to save and relocate these wonderful beings back into their forest homes. Please support them if you can and help a species which is being destroyed by the wants of some humans which is so offset by the dedicated and wonderful work of other humans who have ‘it’ within them.
Here are some great Orangutan facts – check out more with lots of great pictures at:
There are 3 species of orangutan
The Bornean, the Sumatran and the recently confirmed new species (as of 2017), the Tapanuli. These great apes are only found in the wild on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
All three species are critically endangered, with just over 100,000 Bornean, fewer than 14,000 Sumatran, and less than 800 Tapanuli orangutans left.
Although they might look fairly similar with their fluffy ginger fur, Bornean orangutans have darker red coats and rounder faces than their Sumatran cousins.
But they do have some similarities – adult males have a beard and moustache – and adult female Sumatran orangutans also have beards.
Orangutans have an arm span of about 2.2 m (over 7 ft) from fingertip to fingertip.
Young orangutans stay with their mother until they reach around 7 years old. They spend this time learning everything from her – including what’s good to eat.
Infants are so attached to their mums that they ride on her body and sleep in her nest until they develop their own skills to survive on their own.
Because of this long learning curve, orangutans only have young once every 7 – 9 years, which is the longest birth interval of any land mammal.
Some adult male orangutans develop flaps of fatty tissue on both sides of their face – known as flanges – which develop when they’re fully mature, at around 35 years old.
Orangutans can live to over 30 years old – and many live to 50.
Studies show that some females may consider flanges when selecting a mate.
Orangutans like to be comfortable. They make a sleeping platform, or nest, every night.
An orangutan makes its nest in around 10 minutes, by pulling several large branches together, using smaller branches for a mattress and binding the structure together by weaving in more supple branches. In wet weather, they sometimes add a roof.
As orangutans make a new nest to sleep in every night, we actually use their nests to estimate their population size in any given area. We count nests both from the ground and the air as they’re much easier to spot than elusive orangutans.
As you might have seen in Our Planet, some Sumatran orangutans use tools – like sticks to get termites, ants or bees out of tree holes.
These clever creatures have also been observed making a ‘glove’ out of leaves when handling prickly fruits or thorny branches.
It’s estimated that over 100,000 Bornean orangutans were lost between 1999 and 2015. The main threat is the loss or fragmentation of their forest habitat, caused by logging for timber materials, forest fires and making way for oil palm plantations.
Oil palm trees produce palm oil – an edible vegetable oil – which is used in many products, from toothpaste to pizza. Indonesia and Malaysia make up over 85% of the global supply of palm oil.
Cutting down pristine rainforest to make more palm oil is incredibly unsustainable and releases lots of carbon into the atmosphere. But the good news is that we can produce palm oil sustainably – protecting species like the orangutan – if we ensure that it is deforestation free. This means planting on already degraded land rather than replacing jungle with oil palm. And palm oil itself yields far more oil than other crops such as olive oil or sunflower oil – so it needs far less land to produce the same amount of oil.
As consumers, we can fight to only buy sustainable palm oil. Boycotting isn’t the answer; demanding more action is.
Check out a lot more info about these fantastic primates at:
The Sumatran and Bornean species are both critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of mammals, and both are listed on Appendix I of CITES. The IUCN estimated in 2016 that around 100,000 orangutans survive in the wild (in 1973 there were 288,500), and their population is expected to further decrease to as few as 47,000 individuals by 2025.
The Bornean orangutan population declined by 60% in the past 60 years and is projected to decline by 82% over 75 years. Its range has become patchy throughout Borneo, being largely extirpated from various parts of the island, including the southeast. The largest remaining population is found in the forest around the Sabangau River, but this environment is at risk.
Sumatran orangutan populations declined by 80% in 75 years. This species is now found only in the northern part of Sumatra, with most of the population inhabiting the Leuser Ecosystem. In late March 2012, a once-significant population in northern Sumatra were reported to be threatened with approaching forest fires and might be wiped out entirely within a matter of weeks.
Estimates between 2000 and 2003 found 7,300 Sumatran orangutans and between 45,000 and 69,000 Bornean orangutans remain in the wild. A 2007 study by the Government of Indonesia noted a total wild population of 61,234 orangutans, 54,567 of which were found on the island of Borneo in 2004. The table below shows a breakdown of the species and subspecies and their estimated populations from this, or (in the case of P. tapanuliensis) a more recent, report:
Give them back their home – Now !