16 February 2014 - ORANGUTANS


G'day folks,

There are a few animals I particularly love. Whales are one of them. However, today I feature one of my other favourites on this planet - ORANGUTANS. 

Orangutan Facts

Orangutans are great apes, as opposed to monkeys, and are closely related to humans, having 97% of DNA in common.

Orangutans are extremely patient and intelligent mammals. They are very observant and inquisitive, and there are many stories of orangutans escaping from zoos after having watched their keepers unlock and lock doors.

Height: males - about 1.5m; females - about 1.2m
Weight: males - 93 to 130 kg; females – 48 to 55 kg
Life Span: 60 years or more
Gestation: about 8.5 months
Number of Young at Birth: usually 1, very rarely 2 

 Extinction in the wild is likely in the next 10 years for Sumatran Orangutans and soon after for Bornean Orangutans. The Sumatran species (Pongo abelii) is Critically Endangered and the Bornean species (Pongo pygmaeus) of orangutans is Endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans' rainforest habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate due to deforestation and clearing of the land for pulp paper and palm oil plantations, with the remaining forest degraded by drought and forest fires.
  • Logging is an obvious problem for orangutans who spend their lives in trees.
  • Fires endanger the orangutans and the smoke confuses them leaving them vulnerable to death from loss of habitat (food). Fires are commonly started to clear the land and undergrowth for farming and palm oil plantations.
  • Palm Oil Plantations are now the leading suppliers for a global market that demands more of the tree's versatile oil for cooking, cosmetics, and biofuel. But palm oil's appeal comes with significant costs. Palm oil plantations often replace tropical forests, killing endangered species, uprooting local communities, and contributing to the release of climate-warming gases. The orangutans that are displaced starve to death, are killed by plantation workers as pests, or die in the fires.
  • Poaching orangutan infants and hunting for meat also threatens the species. Mothers are often killed for their babies, which are then sold on the black market for pets as they are cute. Babies cling to their mothers and suckle their mother’s milk until the age of 6 years. Rescued infants are then rehabilitated by volunteers at orangutan rescue centres. To support and help with the care of these infants, you can Adopt an Orphan for as little as $55 a year.
Over 150 rehabilitated orangutans have been released into the forest area to date via the TOP supported Bukit Tigapuluh Sumatran orangutan Reintroduction Project – the only reintroduction site for the Critically Endangered Sumatran orangutan. 


In Malay and Indonesian orang means "person" and utan is derived from hutan, which means "forest." Thus, orangutan literally means "person of the forest."

Orangutans' arms stretch out longer than their bodies - over two metres from fingertip to fingertip - and are used to employ a "hookgrip". When on the ground, they walk on all fours, using their palms or their fists.

When male orangutans reach maturity, they develop large cheek pads, which female orangutans apparently find attractive.

When males are fighting, they charge at each other and break branches. If that doesn't scare one of them away, they grapple and bite each other.

For the first 4-6 years of his/her life, an infant orangutan holds tight to his/her mother's body as she moves through the forest in search of fruit.

Like humans, orangutans have opposable thumbs. Their big toes are also opposable.
Orangutans have tremendous strength, which enables them to swing from branch to branch and hang upside-down from branches for long periods of time to retrieve fruit and eat young leaves.

Orangutan Threats

The orangutans' rainforest is being felled for Palm Oil and other crops at an overwhelming rate with the remaining forest being degraded by drought and forest fires. Extinction in the wild is likely in the next 10 years for Sumatran Orangutans and soon after for Bornean Orangutans. We need to recognise the massive amount of suffering being inflicted on a species that is 97% genetically identical to humans.

Orangutans are highly intelligent animals. Their intelligence is comparable to that of a five or six year old child. Surely these self-aware animals deserve the right to live and to be free from torture and exploitation?

Protecting the orangutan also protects the surrounding ecosystem and myriad of endangered and exotic species. Saving the orangutan saves the forest.

Save Last Remaining Natural Sumatran Rainforest from Barito Pacific Group

We need your help to stop a logging company destroying Lestari Asri Jaya Concession in the West (Block II and IV on the Map), forming a critical part of the Bukit Tigapuluh Ecosystem.
We desperately need the Lestari Asri Jaya Concession under threat protected, to ensure the survival of remaining valuable ecosystems in the world, and save the 140 strong critically endangered Sumatran elephant population.

The Bukit Tigapuluh ("Thirty Hills") ecosystem is located in Central Sumatra, Indonesia. This globally important ecosystem provides a safe haven for many species which are threatened by extinction or are extremely rare - including the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan, tiger and elephant.

Between 1985 and 2007, Sumatra island lost 12 million hectares of natural forest, a 48 percent loss in 22 years. By 2007, the island had only 30 percent natural forest cover (around 13 million hectares).

What is Palm Oil?

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. The palm fruit yields both palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and is an edible oil used in food. Palm kernel oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit and is used in the manufacture of cosmetics. 

There are two main species of oil palm tree; Elaeis guineensis, native to West Africa and Elaeis oleifera, native to Central and South America. Both species grow in tropical regions including Columbia in South America, New Guinea in the Pacific, Ghana in Africa and Indonesia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. 

Palm oil plantations are the main driver for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. These two regions account for 85 percent of global production of palm oil. 

What is The Orangutan Project's position on palm oil and the RSPO?

The RSPO, in part, calls palm oil sustainable if produced from land cleared before 2005. However this still could of been orangutan habitat, killing orangutans. TOP therefore has a firmer approach and will not support palm oil that comes from the islands of Borneo or Sumatra. We acknowledge that palm oil plantations set up on any land will have likely displaced natural habitat, however this is true of all permanent forms of agriculture.

Environmental Impacts

The United Nations Environment Programme has announced that palm oil plantations are now the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. An area of forest equal to 300 soccer fields is being destroyed every hour. 

The burning of forests to clear land for palm oil plantations is a major cause of air pollution in Southeast Asia. It releases CO2 into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming. Research shows that 20% of all global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels come from rainforest destruction.

Threatening Endangered Species 

Deforestation for the establishment of palm oil plantations is responsible for habitat loss for threatened and endangered species. Priority species impacted by forest clearing are the Asian elephant, tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros and the orangutan. The Asian elephant and Bornean orangutan are endangered and the tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran orangutan are Critically Endangered.

Palm Oil Plantations Endangering Orangutans

During the past decade the orangutan population has decreased by approximately 50 percent in the wild. This is primarily due to human activities including rainforest destruction for palm oil plantations. At present, 80 percent of orangutan habitat has been altered or lost.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUNC) has classified the Bornean orangutan as Endangered with approximately 55,000 left with 5,000 killed a year. The Sumatran orangutan is Critically Endangered with approximately 6,300 left and 1,000 being killed a year.

How to help this great species:

Now here are  a few cute 
videos of these wonderful animals:



Clancy's comment: Damn cute, eh? Be a shame to see them disappear off the face of the earth because we didn't appreciate them.

I'm ...


Think about this!

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