Did you know that the Orangutan shares 94% of humans’ genes? These adorable mammals are highly intelligent and are also critically endangered. You can find Orangutans in the lowland forests of both Borneo and Sumatra, although their population is now dwindling at an alarming rate, due to poaching and loss of habitat, mainly the result of human encroachment and development.
Man of the Forest
The word Orangutan means “Man of the Forest” in the Indonesian language but unlike men, these beautiful creatures live a solitary existence in nests high up in trees to rest in and sleep at night. They eat fruits like mangosteens, lychees and figs.
They are what you may call “frugivores” although their diet also consists of a mix of young leaves, flowers, barks, honey and some insects. They drink water from holes in trees. You might be surprised to know that one of the Orangutan’s favorite fruit is the Durian, perhaps due to its strong smell and taste.
However, just like humans, this preference may vary according to each individual. Just like humans, the baby Orangutans learn to feed on hundreds of different food types by observing their mothers.
The Orangutan has long, powerful arms and legs that allow them to move deftly from tree to tree. Both the Sumatran and Borneo possess similar physical traits, although the Sumatran one has longer facial hair. They can travel anywhere from 50 metres to 1000 metres in a day and can live from anywhere between 35 to 45 years.
The Borneo type can weigh from 50kg to 100kg, and the Sumatran can weigh up to 45kg. The Orangutans with the cheek flaps are male. These are called flanges. They also have a throat sac used to make deep, long calls. In 2017, a third species of Orangutan, of only 800 individuals, was found.
The Tapanuli Orangutan is critically endangered while the Borneo Orangutan is estimated at 104,000 and the Sumatran Orangutan at just 7,400 individuals.
Bali Safari Park has played a major part in the conservation of endangered species in Bali and around the world including the Orangutan, rhinoceros and the hippopotamus. Visit the park to get up close to wild animals from around the world as they roam freely in wide open spaces that mimic their natural habitat.