The word ‘Orangutan’ means ‘People of the forest’ in Bahasa Malay. ‘Orang’ means people and ‘hutan’ means forest.
Orangutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia but can currently only be found in the tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra located in Southeast Asia. They are mostly found in Borneo.
There are only two species of orangutans around: Bornean orangutans and Sumatran orangutans, with about only 40,000 remaining. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed Orangutans on the red list for mammals since 2000, listing it as an endangered species.
Orangutans are referred to as Great Apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas and even humans. Humans share 96.4% of our genetic make-up with orangutans!
Orangutans are well recognised for their long red hair and are also known to be very intelligent mammals.
Male orangutans have unique features compared with females. Their cheekpads and large size, long, thick hair make them appear even larger. They also have throat sacs, used to help them vocalise.
Orangutans are able to invent simple items such as tools for opening and eating fruits as well as shelters made from leaves to shelter them from rain.
The lifespan of an orangutan is about 35 years in the wild and up to 60 years in captivity.
Ever wondered what an orangutan long call sounds like?