Orangutans

By Ben.B

Classification

Orangutans are a member of the primate family. Further into this family they are part of the great apes. They also share 98% of our DNA making them our closest relatives. They live from 30-40 years.

Appearance

Orangutans are 1.2 to 1.5 metres tall. The females weigh around 90kg and the males around 130kg. Their arms span a whopping 2 metres making them bigger than their legs! Orangutans have orange fur and the males have big cheeks that they use to attract females.


Habitat

There is only one earth where orangutans live and that is the tropical rainforests of Borneo. Borneo is in Malaysia and Indonesea. Borneo is a large island. Orangutans spend 90% of their lives in the trees.

Diet

Orangutans are omnivorous meaning they eat both meat, fruit and vegetables. They love fruit, especially figs and their diets consist of 90% of it. When food is scarce orangutans can live on what is called a starvation diet, consisting of only bark and leaves. They can live for up to a month on this. On an occasion an orangutan may eat some insects or even a small marsupial but usually it's just fruit.

Behaviour

Orangutans are the smartest animals in the world, except for humans. Being so smart, orangutans often mimic human behaviours and use tools such as leafy umbrellas and sticks to collect honey from nests. When they feel threatened, orangutans wave sticks at the thing that is threatening them. They build nests out of leaves to sleep in. They only use each nest once and they usually build them near a source of food. Fresh nests are made from green leaves and old ones have brown leaves.


Life Cycle

Male orangutans usually live a solitary life until they mate. The female gives live birth and stays with their young until they are eight years old. This is when orangutans have their puberty and the males start developing their cheeks. When they are young, orangutan mothers allow their young to drink from their mouths.

Threats

There are only 40,000 orangutans left in total. This is due to palm plantations quickly taking over their habitat. Most of these orangutans live in protected areas making their survival chances slim if the palm plantations continue. Also, orangutans are illegally poached making their chances for survival even worse.


How we can save them

The only way we can save them is to stop buying products with palm oil in them, stopping the demand for it and therfore stop the need for more palm plantations