19 Aug 2019
IN PHOTOS: KING OF THE JUNGLE
Today is World Orangutan Day and it’s the perfect time to highlight these charismatic animals and the challenges that they face. Orangutans are the ultimate forest gardeners. They spread seeds to help maintain the diverse forest ecosystem. Not only is this important to a host of other animals, including the Sumatran tiger, Asian elephant and Sumatran rhino, it helps to ensure resources for people. By conserving the orangutan’s habitat, we’re also protecting other species and benefiting local communities.
Highly intelligent, with long, powerful arms and grasping hands and feet, the orangutan moves through the treetops of lowland forests with ease.
Both Sumatran and Bornean orangutan are listed as Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List. The hair of the Sumatran orangutan is longer, denser and more fleece-like than the Bornean orangutan.
Orangutans can live up to 50 years in the wild.
Females first reproduce between 10-15 years of age. They give birth, at the most, once every six years, and the interval between babies can be as long as 10 years.
Orangutans usually give birth to a single baby or occasionally twins. Orangutan young stay with their mothers for the first 7-11 years of their life.
The Borneo rainforest is not only home to these orange-haired apes, but also a diverse range of wildlife.
Orangutans – in both Sumatra and Borneo – are losing their treetop homes and food as forests are converted to oil palm and timber plantations. Look for products with the RSPO label to make sure you're buying sustainably.
In remaining rainforest areas, orangutans are not safe. Changes in land use have made Borneo more susceptible to annual, choking fires that can last for months and kill these men of the forest.
These gentle apes are slow, easy targets. They’re also poached for the pet trade, for food, or in retaliation when they move into agricultural areas and destroy crops.
This is a photo of an orangutan's nest, in the conservation area of the Arabela-Schwanner landscape, West Kalimantan, Borneo.
WWF encourages sustainable forestry and is helping create a safe haven for orangutans in Borneo.