The Sumatran Orangutan

A Informational Site by Luka Zrnic Period 5

The Characteristics of the Sumatran Orangutan

The Sumatran, like most other Orangutans, is orange in the color of fur, and has rather longer fur than that of an average primate. The color of the orangutans is significantly different as they age; the young have brighter fur and pink skin, while the adults tend to have dark hair, and their skin turns to nearly pitch black. When it comes to the difference of genders, the males of the Sumatran Orangutan species are larger (about 1.25-1.5m, female: about 1m) and also stronger.

Conjointly, the Sumatran has many adaptation to function in its daily life, the first of which is their 7 ft. arm span, and their extreme strength. Their toes and fingers are curved to help cling and swing throughout the forests, and they also use their especially coordinated toes to clean and eat food with. They tend to love swinging are are extremely talented at it because their cerebellum, which control posture and movement (part of the brain) is much larger and somewhat more developed than that of a human.

Where does the Sumatran Orangutan Live?

As it is known, the Sumatran are critically endangered, so there is a very limited area in which the Pongo abelli (scientific name) live and inhabit. These primates live in Indonesia, and Malaysia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Each of the two islands has its own subspecies, the Sumatran and Borneon orangutans.

In terms of a biome, the islands of Indonesia are Tropical Rainforests, meaning the habitats in which they live are very dense in trees; as a result, these animals almost never actually descend from the trees, in fact the word "orangutan" means "man of the forest" in the native Malay language. The climate of this region is rather unpleasant for humans as the humidity ranges from 77-88% and the temperature usually averages in the range of 21-28 degrees Celsius. In addition the rainfall ranges all the way from 2.5 to 10 meters, and as a result the ground is usually damp and wet so the orangutans make their homes in the trees, as well as raise their young and sleep there,

Orangutan Pictures

Functions and Endangered State

The number one reason that this species is declining , and may soon be extinct is because of the extreme changes which are applied to their habitats. On the islands of Sumatra and Borneo there is a plethora of legal and illegal logging taking place by humans, which are destroying the trees that these poor creatures live in. These trees are used for their palm oil, and for the building of many estates, as well as other uses that humans "necessitate". If this intense deforestation continues, then extreme measures will have to be taken in order to help these animal's population increase, and keep them on this planet.

The Sumatrans were put on the endangered list around early 2000 and are one of the 25 world's most endangered primates. In 2004 a census showed that there were only 7,300 left in the wild, and they have dwindled even further until today where they stand at less than 6,600 left in the wild. Scientists are saying that if we do not take drastic resumes the Sumatran Orangutan will be the first Great Ape to become extinct.

It is crucial to keep that these apes stay on this planet for a number or reasons, the first is the fact that with their ingestion of seeds the rainforest (a very diverse selection) they carry around and disperse them through excretion, and thus massively help increase the biodiversity or the Sumatran ecosystem. It is because of this , as well as the fact that by only eating the green leaves and stalks, they help the regeneration of plant life in the ecosystem itself, that they are a keystone species. Lastly, as stated above with the spread of seeds and biodiversity, the Sumatran Orangutans are named a umbrella species which are also important to the human and researchers that work in these regions, as they keep them alive.

How does it Interact with its Community?

The Sumatran Orangutans participate in two symbiotic relationships. The first is a parasitic relationship between it and the fleas that surround it in its habitat, as they are provided shelter by the orangutan's fur and the orangutan is pestered with the diseases and uncontrollable spasms (itches) that the flea will bring. The second relationship is one of a mutualistic nature, involving the plants of the forest as mentioned earlier. The animals receive the food, while the plant is aided in its regeneration.

The Sumatrans are secondary-level consumers that have a diet consisting of mostly plants and an array of insects. They main animals that take the Sumatran as prey are the Sumatran Tiger, and the Leopard.


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