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Orangutans are
great apes The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a larg ...
native to the
rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape), aboveground portion of grapevine Religi ...

rainforest
s of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
. They are now found only in parts of
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
and
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
, but during the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
they ranged throughout
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
and
South China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context. A notable feature of South China in comparison to the rest of China is that most of its citizens are not ...
. Classified in the
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying gr ...
''Pongo'', orangutans were originally considered to be one species. From 1996, they were divided into two species: the
Bornean orangutan The Bornean orangutan (''Pongo pygmaeus'') is a species of orangutan native to the island of Borneo. Together with the Sumatran orangutan (''Pongo abelii'') and Tapanuli orangutan (''Pongo tapanuliensis''), it belongs to the only genus of great ape ...
(''P. pygmaeus'', with three subspecies) and the
Sumatran orangutan The Sumatran orangutan (''Pongo abelii'') is one of the three species of orangutan Orangutans are great apes native to the rainforests of Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links= ...
(''P. abelii''). A third species, the
Tapanuli orangutan The Tapanuli orangutan (''Pongo tapanuliensis'') is a species of orangutan restricted to South Tapanuli Regency, South Tapanuli in the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is one of three known species of orangutan, alongside the Sumatran orangutan ...
(''P. tapanuliensis''), was identified definitively in 2017. The orangutans are the only surviving species of the
subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are grou ...
Ponginae Ponginae , also known as the Asian hominids, is a subfamily in the family Hominidae. Once a diverse lineage of Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by c ...
, which diverged genetically from the other hominids (
gorilla Gorillas are herbivorous, predominantly ground-dwelling great apes that inhabit the tropical forests of equatorial Africa. The genus ''Gorilla'' is divided into two species: the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla, and either four or f ...

gorilla
s,
chimpanzee The chimpanzee (''Pan troglodytes''), also known simply as chimp, is a species of Hominidae, great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. The chimpanzee and t ...
s, and
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...

human
s) between 19.3 and 15.7 million years ago. The most
arboreal Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion Locomotion means the act or ability of an entity or person to transport or move oneself from place to place. Locomotion or Loco-Motion may refer to: Motion * Motion (physics) *Specific types of motion ** A ...
of the great apes, orangutans spend most of their time in trees. They have proportionally long arms and short legs, and have reddish-brown hair covering their bodies. Adult males weigh about , while females reach about .
Dominant Domination or dominant may refer to: Society * World domination, which is mainly a conspiracy theory * Colonialism in which one group (usually a nation) invades another region for material gain or to eliminate competition * Chauvinism in which a p ...
adult males develop distinctive cheek pads or flanges and make long calls that attract females and intimidate rivals; younger subordinate males do not and more resemble adult females. Orangutans are the most solitary of the great apes: social bonds occur primarily between mothers and their dependent offspring. Fruit is the most important component of an orangutan's diet; but they will also eat vegetation,
bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Bark'' (Jefferson Airp ...
,
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretion ...

honey
, insects and bird eggs. They can live over 30 years, both in the wild and in captivity. Orangutans are among the most intelligent
primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal constituting the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic order (biology), order Primates (). Primates arose 85–55 million years ago first from small Terrestrial animal, ...

primate
s. They
use a variety of sophisticated tools
use a variety of sophisticated tools
and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage. The apes' learning abilities have been studied extensively. There may be distinctive cultures within populations. Orangutans have been featured in literature and art since at least the 18th century, particularly in works that comment on human society. Field studies of the apes were pioneered by primatologist
Birutė Galdikas Birutė Marija Filomena Galdikas or Birutė Mary Galdikas, OC (born 10 May 1946), is a Lithuanian-Canadian anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within ...
and they have been kept in captive facilities around the world since at least the early 19th century. All three orangutan species are considered critically endangered. Human activities have caused severe declines in populations and ranges. Threats to wild orangutan populations include
poaching Poaching has been defined as the illegal hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/h ...
(for
bushmeat Bushmeat is meat from wildlife species that are hunted for human consumption. Bushmeat represents a primary source of animal protein and a cash-earning commodity for inhabitants of humid tropical forest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia. ...
and retaliation for consuming
crops A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is the ...

crops
),
habitat destruction Habitat destruction (also termed habitat loss and habitat reduction) is the process by which a natural habitat Ibex in an alpine habitat In ecology, the term habitat summarises the array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are pr ...
and
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
(for
palm oil Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substa ...

palm oil
cultivation and
logging Logging is the process of cutting, processing, and moving trees to a location for transport. It may include skidder, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or trunk (botany), logs onto logging truck, trucks or flatcar#Skeleton car, s ...

logging
), and the illegal
pet trade s, coral Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically live in compact Colony (biology), colonies of many identical individual polyp (zoology), polyps. Coral species include the i ...
. Several
conservation Conservation is the preservation or efficient use of resources, or the conservation of various quantities under physical laws. Conservation may also refer to: Environment and natural resources * Nature conservation, the protection and manageme ...
and
rehabilitation Rehabilitation or Rehab may refer to: Health * Rehabilitation (neuropsychology), therapy to regain or improve neurocognitive function that has been lost or diminished * Rehabilitation (wildlife), treatment of injured wildlife so they can be returne ...
organisations are dedicated to the survival of orangutans in the wild.


Etymology

The name "orangutan" (also written orang-utan, orang utan, orangutang, and ourang-outang) is derived from the
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
words ''orang'', meaning "person", and ''hutan'', meaning "forest". The locals originally used the name to refer to actual forest-dwelling human beings, but the word underwent a semantic extension to include apes of the ''Pongo'' genus at an early stage in the history of Malay. The word ''orangutan'' appears in its older form ''urangutan'', in a variety of premodern sources in the
Old Javanese Kawi or Old Javanese is the oldest attested phase of the Javanese language. It was spoken in the eastern part of what is now Central Java and the whole of East Java, Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Repu ...
language. The earliest of these is the
Kakawin Ramayana Kakawin Ramayana is an Old Javanese Kawi or Old Javanese is the oldest attested phase of the Javanese language. It was spoken in the eastern part of what is now Central Java and the whole of East Java, Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially ...
, a ninth-century or early tenth-century Javanese adaption of the Sanskrit
Ramayana ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit literature, Sanskrit Indian epic poetry, epics of ancient India and important text of Hinduism, the other being the ''Mahabharata, Mahābhārata''. The epi ...

Ramayana
. In these Old Javanese sources, the word ''urangutan'' refers only to apes and not to forest-dwelling human beings. The word was not originally Javanese, but was borrowed from an early at least a thousand years ago. Hence the ultimate origin of the term "orangutan" as denoting the ''Pongo'' ape was most likely
Old Malay Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th c ...
. The first printed attestation of the word for the apes is in Dutch physician
Jacobus Bontius Jacobus Bontius (Jacob de Bondt) (1592, in Leiden Leiden (, ; in English language, English and Archaism, archaic Dutch language, Dutch also ''Leyden'') is a List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municipalities of the ...
’ 1631 ''Historiae naturalis et medicae Indiae orientalis''. He reported that Malays had informed him the ape could talk, but preferred not to "lest he be compelled to labour". The word appeared in several German-language descriptions of Indonesian zoology in the 17th century. It has been argued that the word comes specifically from the Banjarese variety of Malay, but the age of the Old Javanese sources mentioned above make Old Malay a more likely origin for the term. Cribb and colleagues (2014) suggest that Bontius' account referred not to apes (as this description was from Java where the apes were not known from) but to humans suffering some serious medical condition (most likely
cretinism Congenital iodine deficiency syndrome (formerly known as cretinism) is a medical condition present at birth marked by impaired physical and mental development, due to insufficient thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) often caused by insufficient dieta ...
) and that his use of the word was misunderstood by
Nicolaes Tulp Nicolaes Tulp (9 October 1593 – 12 September 1674) was a Dutch surgeon and mayor of Amsterdam. Tulp was well known for his upstanding moral character and as the subject of Rembrandt Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (, also , ; 15 July 1606&n ...

Nicolaes Tulp
, who was the first to use the term in a publication a decade later. The word was first attested in English in 1691 in the form ''orang-outang'', and variants ending with ''-ng'' are found in many languages. This spelling (and pronunciation) has remained in use in English up to the present but has come to be regarded as incorrect. The loss of "h" in ''utan'' and the shift from -ng to -n has been taken to suggest the term entered English through
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
. In Malay, the term was first attested in 1840, not as an indigenous name but referring to how the English called the animal. The word 'orangutan' in Malay and Indonesian today was borrowed from English or Dutch in the 20th century—explaining why the initial 'h' of 'hutan' is also missing. The name of the genus, ''Pongo'', comes from a 16th-century account by
Andrew Battel Andrew Battel (fl. 1589–1614), was an English traveler. His account of his long stay in Portuguese captivity in Angola, and his travels in the region are essential primary sources for the history of that region, particularly for his early account ...
, an English sailor held prisoner by the Portuguese in
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
, which describes two anthropoid "monsters" named Pongo and Engeco. He is now believed to have been describing
gorilla Gorillas are herbivorous, predominantly ground-dwelling great apes that inhabit the tropical forests of equatorial Africa. The genus ''Gorilla'' is divided into two species: the eastern gorilla and the western gorilla, and either four or f ...

gorilla
s, but in the 18th century, the terms orangutan and pongo were used for all
great apes The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a larg ...
. French naturalist
Bernard Germain de Lacépède Bernard-Germain-Étienne de La Ville-sur-Illon, comte de Lacépède or La Cépède (; 26 December 17566 October 1825) was a French natural history, naturalist and an active freemason. He is known for his contribution to the Comte de Buffon's gre ...

Bernard Germain de Lacépède
used the term ''Pongo'' for the genus in 1799. Battel's "Pongo", in turn, is from the Kongo word ''mpongi'' or other
cognates In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
from the region: Lumbu ''pungu'', Vili ''mpungu'', or Yombi ''yimpungu''.


Taxonomy and phylogeny

The orangutan was first described scientifically in 1758 in the ''
Systema Naturae ' (originally in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic ...
'' of
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
as ''Homo Sylvestris''. It was renamed ''Simia pygmaeus'' in 1760 by his student Christian Emmanuel Hopp and given the name ''Pongo'' by Lacépède in 1799. The populations on the two islands were suggested to be separate species when '' P. abelii'' was described by French naturalist
René Lesson René Primevère Lesson (20 March 1794 – 28 April 1849) was a France, French surgery, surgeon, natural history, naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist. Biography He was born at Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, Rochefort, and entered the N ...
in 1827. In 2001, ''P. abelii'' was confirmed as a full species based on molecular evidence published in 1996, and three distinct populations on
Borneo Borneo (; id, Kalimantan) is the third-List of islands by area, largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. At the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia, in relation to major Indonesian islands, it is located north of Java Is ...

Borneo
were elevated to subspecies (''P. p. pygmaeus'', ''P. p. morio'' and ''P. p. wurmbii''). The description in 2017 of a third species, '' P. tapanuliensis'', from Sumatra south of
Lake Toba Lake Toba ( id, Danau Toba) is a large natural lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards ...

Lake Toba
, came with a surprising twist: it is more closely related to the Bornean species, ''P. pygmaeus'' than to its fellow Sumatran species, ''P. abelii''. The Sumatran orangutan genome was sequenced in January 2011. Following humans and
chimpanzee The chimpanzee (''Pan troglodytes''), also known simply as chimp, is a species of Hominidae, great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. The chimpanzee and t ...

chimpanzee
s, the Sumatran orangutan became the third species of
great ape The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic Family (biology), family of primates that includes eight Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species in four Genus, genera: ''Orangutan, Pongo ...
to have its genome sequenced. Subsequently, the Bornean species had its genome sequenced.
Genetic diversity Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species, it ranges widely from the number of species to differences within species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classificati ...
was found to be lower in Bornean orangutans (''P. pygmaeus'') than in Sumatran ones (''P. abelii''), despite the fact that Borneo is home to six or seven times as many orangutans as Sumatra. The researchers hope these data may help conservationists save the endangered ape, and also prove useful in further understanding of human
genetic diseases A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Men ...
. Similarly to gorillas and chimpanzees, orangutans have 48 
diploid Ploidy () is the number of complete sets of chromosomes in a cell (biology), cell, and hence the number of possible alleles for Autosome, autosomal and Pseudoautosomal region, pseudoautosomal genes. Sets of chromosomes refer to the number of mate ...
chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genome, genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging proteins called histones which, aided by Chaperone (protein), chaperone proteins, bind to and ...

chromosome
s, in contrast to humans, . According to molecular evidence, within apes (superfamily Hominoidea), the
gibbon Gibbons () are ape Apes (Hominoidea ) are a branch of Old World tailless simians native to Africa and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern sub ...

gibbon
s diverged during the early
Miocene The Miocene ( ) is the first geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene Epoch of ...
between 24.1 and 19.7 million years ago (mya), and the orangutans diverged from the African great ape lineage between 19.3 and 15.7 mya. Israfil and colleagues (2011) estimated based on
mitochondrial A mitochondrion (, plural mitochondria) is a double membrane-bound organelle In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit, usually within a cell (biology), cell, that has a specific function. The name ''organelle'' comes from the ide ...

mitochondrial
,
Y-linked Y linkage, also known as holandric inheritance (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referr ...
, and
X-linked Sex linked describes the sex-specific patterns of Heredity, inheritance and Phenotype, presentation when a gene mutation (allele) is present on a sex chromosome (allosome) rather than a non-sex chromosome (autosome). In humans, these are termed ...

X-linked
loci Locus (plural loci) is Latin for "place". It may refer to: Entertainment * Locus (comics), a Marvel Comics mutant villainess, a member of the Mutant Liberation Front * Locus (magazine), ''Locus'' (magazine), science fiction and fantasy magazine ...
that the Sumatran and Bornean species diverged 4.9 to 2.9 mya. By contrast, the 2011 genome study suggested that these two species diverged around 400,000 years ago, more recently than was previously thought. Also, the orangutan genome was found to have evolved much more slowly than chimpanzee and human DNA. A 2017 genome study found that the Bornean and Tapanuli orangutans diverged from Sumatran orangutans about 3.4 mya, and from each other around 2.4 mya. Orangutans travelled from Sumatra to Borneo as the islands were connected by
land bridge In biogeography Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A sp ...
s as parts of Sundaland during recent glacial periods when sea levels were much lower. The present range of Tapanuli orangutans is thought to be close to where ancestral orangutans first entered what is now Indonesia from mainland Asia.


Fossil record

The three orangutan species are the only extant members of the
subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are grou ...
Ponginae Ponginae , also known as the Asian hominids, is a subfamily in the family Hominidae. Once a diverse lineage of Eurasian Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by c ...
. This subfamily also included the extinct genera ''
Lufengpithecus ''Lufengpithecus'' is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life ...
'', which lived in southern China and Thailand 8–2  mya, '' Indopithecus'', which lived in India from 9.2 to 8.6 mya; and ''
Sivapithecus ''Sivapithecus'' (Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव , , ISO: , , ), also known as Mahadeva (), is one of the principal deities of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious gr ...

Sivapithecus
'', which lived in India and Pakistan from 12.5 mya until 8.5 mya. These
ape Apes (Hominoidea ) are a branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of bi ...

ape
s likely lived in drier and cooler environments than orangutans do today. ''
Khoratpithecus ''Khoratpithecus'' is an extinction, extinct genus of pongini, pongin primates that lived during the late Miocene (7–9 million years ago) in Myanmar and Thailand. Three species belong to this genus: *''Khoratpithecus chiangmuanensis'' from Th ...

Khoratpithecus
piriyai'', which lived in Thailand 5–7 mya, is believed to be the closest known relative of the orangutans. The largest known primate, ''
Gigantopithecus ''Gigantopithecus'' is an extinct genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term ma ...

Gigantopithecus
'', was also a member of Ponginae and lived in China, from 2 mya to 300,000 years ago. The oldest known record of ''Pongo'' is from the
Early Pleistocene The Early Pleistocene is an unofficial epoch (geology), sub-epoch in the international geologic timescale in chronostratigraphy, being the earliest (or lowest) division of the Pleistocene Epoch within the ongoing Quaternary Period. It is currently ...
of
Chongzuo Chongzuo (; za, Cungzcoj) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-l ...

Chongzuo
, consisting of teeth ascribed to extinct species ''P. weidenreichi''. ''Pongo'' is found as part of the faunal complex in the Pleistocene cave assemblage in Vietnam, alongside ''Giganopithecus'', though it is known only from teeth. Some
fossils A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the a ...

fossils
described under the name '' P. hooijeri'' have been found in Vietnam, and multiple fossil subspecies have been described from several parts of southeastern Asia. It is unclear if these belong to ''P. pygmaeus'' or ''P. abelii'' or, in fact, represent distinct species. During the Pleistocene, ''Pongo'' had a far more extensive range than at present, extending throughout
Sundaland Sundaland (also called the Sundaic region) is a biogeographical Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an o ...
and mainland Southeast Asia and South China. Teeth of orangutans are known from
Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Malaysia''), also known as West Malaysia or the Malaysian Peninsula, formerly known as Malaya (disambiguation), Malaya, is the part of Malaysia which occupies the southern half of the Ma ...
that date to 60,000 years ago. The range of orangutans had contracted significantly by the end of the Pleistocene, most likely because of the reduction of forest habitat during the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets In glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Gla ...
.Though they may have survived into the Holocene in Cambodia and Vietnam.


Characteristics

Orangutans display significant
sexual dimorphism Sexual dimorphism is the condition where the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in ...
; females typically stand tall and weigh around , while flanged adult males stand tall and weigh . Compared to humans, they have proportionally long arms, a male orangutan having an
arm span Arm span or reach (sometimes referred to as wingspan, or spelled "armspan") is the physical measurement of the length from one end of an individual's arms (measured at the fingertips) to the other when raised Parallel (geometry), parallel to the ...

arm span
of about , and short legs. Most of their bodies are covered in coarse hair that is generally red but ranges from bright orange to
maroon Maroon (American English, US/British English, UK , Australian English, Australia ) is a brownish crimson color that takes its name from the French language, French word ''marron'', or chestnut. "Marron" is also one of the French translatio ...

maroon
or dark chocolate, while the skin is grey-black. Though largely hairless, males' faces can develop some hair, giving them a beard. Orangutans have small ears and noses; the ears are unlobed. The mean volume is 397 cm3. The braincase is elevated relative to the facial area, which is concave and prognathous. Compared to chimpanzees and gorillas, the
brow ridge The brow ridge, or supraorbital ridge known as superciliary arch in medicine, refers to a bony ridge located above the eye sockets of all primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal Mammals (f ...
of an orangutan is underdeveloped. Females and juveniles have rounded skulls and narrow faces while males develop a large
sagittal crest A sagittal crest is a ridge of bone running lengthwise along the midline of the top of the skull (at the sagittal suture) of many mammalian and reptilian skulls, among others. The presence of this ridge of bone indicates that there are exceptional ...
and large cheek pads or flanges, which show their dominance to other males. The cheek pads are made mostly of fatty tissue and are supported by the musculature of the face. Mature males also develop large throat pouches and long
canines Canine may refer to: Zoology * dog-like mammals (i.e. members of the canid Canidae (; from Latin, ''canis'', "dog") is a biological family of dog-like carnivora Carnivora is an order of placental mammals that have specialized in primaril ...
. Orangutan hands have four long fingers but a dramatically shorter
opposable thumb The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front), the thumb is the outermost digit. The Medical Latin English noun for thumb ...
for a strong grip on branches as they travel high in the trees. The resting configuration of the fingers is curved, creating a suspensory hook grip. With the thumb out of the way, the fingers (and hands) can grip securely around objects with a small diameter by resting the tops of the fingers against the inside of the palm, thus creating a double-locked grip. Their feet have four long toes and an opposable big toe, enabling orangutans to grasp things securely both with their hands and with their feet. Since their hip joints have the same flexibility as their shoulder and arm joints, orangutans have less restriction in the movements of their legs than humans have. Orangutans move through the trees by both vertical climbing and
suspension Suspension or suspended may refer to: Science and engineering * Suspension (topology), in mathematics * Suspension (dynamical systems), in mathematics * Suspension of a ring, in mathematics * Suspension (chemistry), small solid particles suspende ...
. Compared to other great apes, they infrequently descend to the ground where they are more cumbersome. Unlike gorillas and chimpanzees, orangutans are not true knuckle-walkers. Instead they tuck in their digits and shuffle on the sides of their hands and feet. Compared to their relatives in Borneo, Sumatran orangutans are thinner with paler and longer hair and a longer face. Tapanuli orangutans resemble Sumatran orangutans more than Bornean orangutans in body build and fur colour. They have frizzier hair, smaller heads, and have flatter and wider faces than the other two orangutan species.


Ecology and behaviour

Orangutans are mainly
arboreal Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion Locomotion means the act or ability of an entity or person to transport or move oneself from place to place. Locomotion or Loco-Motion may refer to: Motion * Motion (physics) *Specific types of motion ** A ...
and inhabit
tropical rainforest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...

tropical rainforest
, particularly lowland
dipterocarp The Dipterocarpaceae are a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of ...
and old
secondary forest Secondary is an adjective meaning "second" or "second hand". It may refer to: * Secondary (chemistry) Secondary is a term used in organic chemistry to classify various types of compounds (e. g. alcohols, alkyl halides, amines) or reactive intermedi ...
. Population densities are highest in habitats near rivers, such as
freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in ...
and
peat swamp forest Peat swamp forests are tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing. Over time, this creates a thick layer of acidic peat. Large areas of the ...
, while drier forests away from the
flood plains A floodplain or flood plain or bottomlands is an area of land adjacent to a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows int ...
are less inhabited. Population density also decreases at higher elevations. Orangutans occasionally enter grasslands, cultivated fields, gardens, young
secondary forest Secondary is an adjective meaning "second" or "second hand". It may refer to: * Secondary (chemistry) Secondary is a term used in organic chemistry to classify various types of compounds (e. g. alcohols, alkyl halides, amines) or reactive intermedi ...
, and shallow lakes. Most of the day is spent feeding, resting, and travelling. They start the day feeding for two to three hours in the morning. They rest during midday, then travel in the late afternoon. When evening arrives, they prepare their nests for the night. Potential predators of orangutans include
tiger The tiger (''Panthera tigris'') is the largest extant taxon, living Felidae, cat species and a member of the genus ''Panthera''. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange fur with a white underside. An apex predator, i ...

tiger
s, clouded leopards and
wild dogs Wild Dogs is an American heavy metal band from Portland, Oregon Portland (, ) is the list of cities in Oregon, largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the county seat, seat of Multnomah County, Oregon, Multnomah County ...

wild dogs
. The absence of tigers on Borneo has been suggested as a reason Bornean orangutans are found on the ground more often than their Sumatran relatives. The most frequent orangutan parasites are
nematode The nematodes ( or grc-gre, Νηματώδη; la, Nematoda) or roundworms constitute the phylum Nematoda (also called Nemathelminthes), with plant-parasitic nematodes also known as eelworms. They are a diverse animal phylum inhabiting a bro ...

nematode
s of the genus ''
Strongyloides ''Strongyloides'' (from Greek ''strongylos'', round, + ''eidos'', resemblance), anguillula, or threadworm is a genus of small nematode The nematodes ( or grc-gre, Νηματώδη; la, Nematoda) or roundworms constitute the phylum Nemato ...
'' and the
ciliate The ciliates are a group of protozoan Protozoa (singular protozoon or protozoan, plural protozoa or protozoans) is an informal term for a group of single-celled eukaryote Eukaryotes () are organisms whose Cell (biology), cells have a c ...

ciliate
'' Balantidium coli''. Among ''Strongyloides'', the species ''S. fuelleborni'' and ''S. stercoralis'' are commonly reported in young individuals. Orangutans also use the plant species ''Dracaena (plant), Dracaena cantleyi'' as an anti-inflammatory balm.


Diet and feeding

Orangutans are primarily frugivore, fruit-eaters, and 57–80% of their feeding time is spent foraging for fruits. Even during times of scarcity, fruit can still take up 16% of feeding. Orangutans prefer fruits with soft pulp, arils or seed-walls surrounding their seeds, as well as trees with large crops. Common fig, Figs fit both preferences and are thus highly favoured, but they also consume drupes and berries. Orangutans are thought to be the sole fruit disperser for some plant species including the vine species ''Strychnos ignatii'' which contains the toxic alkaloid strychnine. Orangutans also supplement their diet with leaves, which take up 25% of their foraging time on average. Leaf eating increases when fruit gets scarcer, but even during times of fruit abundance, orangutans will eat leaves 11–20% of the time. The leaf and stem material of ''Borassodendron borneensis'' appears to be an important food source during low fruit abundance. Other food items consumed by the apes include
bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Bark'' (Jefferson Airp ...
,
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretion ...

honey
, bird eggs, insects and small vertebrates including the slow loris. In some areas, orangutans may practice geophagy, which involves consuming soil and other earth substances. The apes may eat tubes of soil created by termites along tree trunks as well as descend to the ground to uproot soil to eat. Orangutans are also known to visit mineral licks at the clay or sandstone-like walls of cliffs or earth depressions. Soils appear to contain a high concentration of kaolin, which counteracts toxic tannins and phenolic acids found in the orangutan's diet.


Social life

The social structure of the orangutan can be best described as solitary but social; they live a more solitary lifestyle than the other great apes. Bornean orangutans are generally more solitary than Sumatran orangutans. Most social bonds occur between adult females and their dependent and weaned offspring. Resident females live with their offspring in defined home ranges that overlap with those of other adult females, which may be their immediate relatives. One to several resident female home ranges are encompassed within the home range of a resident male, who is their main mating partner. Interactions between adult females range from friendly to avoidance to antagonistic. The home ranges of resident males can overlap greatly, though encounters are relatively rare and hostile. Adult males are Dominance (ethology), dominant over sub-adult males, the latter of which keep their distance. Orangutans biological dispersal, disperse and establish their home ranges by age 11. Females tend to settle close to their mothers, while males disperse much farther but may include their natal range within their new home range. They enter a transient phase, which lasts until a male can challenge and displace a dominant, resident male from his home range. Both resident and transient orangutans aggregate on large fruiting trees to feed. The fruits tend to be abundant, so competition is low and individuals may engage in social interactions. Orangutans will also form travelling groups with members moving between different food sources. They are often consortships between an adult male and a female. Social grooming is uncommon among orangutans.


Communication

Orangutans communicate with various vocals and sounds. Males will make long calls, both to attract females and to advertise themselves to other males. These are divided into three parts; they begin with grumbles, climax with pulses and end with bubbles. Both sexes will try to intimidate conspecifics with a series of low guttural noises known collectively as the "rolling call". When annoyed, an orangutan will suck in air through pursed lips, making a kissing sound known as the "kiss squeak". Mothers produce throatscrapes to keep in contact with their offspring. Infants make soft hoots when distressed. Orangutans are also known to produce smacks or blowing a raspberry, blow raspberries when making a nest. Mother orangutans and offspring also use several different gestures and expressions such as beckoning, stomping, lower lip pushing, object shaking and "presenting" a body part. These communicate goals such as "acquire object", "climb on me", "climb on you", "climb over", "move away", "play change: decrease intensity", "resume play" and "stop that".


Reproduction and development

Males become sexually mature at around age 15. They may exhibit Neoteny, arrested development by not developing the distinctive cheek pads, pronounced throat pouches, long fur, or long calls until a resident dominant male is absent. The transformation from unflanged to flanged can occur quickly. Flanged males attract females in oestrous with their characteristic long calls, which may also suppress development in younger males. Unflanged males wander widely in search of oestrous females and upon finding one, will Sexual coercion among animals, force copulation on her, the occurrence of which is unusually high among mammals. Females prefer to mate with the fitter flanged males and seek their company for protection. Non-ovulation, ovulating females do not usually resist copulation with unflanged males, as the chance of conception is low. Resident males may form consortships that last for days, weeks or months after copulation. Homosexual behavior in animals, Homosexual behaviour has been recorded in the context of both affiliative and aggressive interactions. Unlike females of other great ape species, orangutans do not exhibit sexual swellings to signal fertility. The average age in which a female first gives birth is 15 years and they have a six to nine year interbirth interval, the longest among the great apes. Gestation lasts around nine months and infants weigh at birth. Usually only a single infant is born; twins are a rare occurrence. Unlike many other primates, male orangutans do not seem to practice Infanticide (zoology), infanticide. This may be because they cannot ensure they will sire a female's next offspring, because she does not immediately begin ovulating again after her infant dies. There is evidence that females with offspring under six years old generally avoid adult males. Females do most of the caring of the young, while males play no role. A female often has an older offspring with her to help socialise the infant. Infant orangutans completely depend on their mothers for the first two years of their lives. The mother will carry the infant while travelling, and feed it and sleep with it in the same night nest. For the first four months, the infant is carried on its belly and almost never without physical contact. In the following months, the time an infant spends with its mother decreases. When an orangutan reaches the age of one-and-a-half years, its climbing skills improve and it will travel through the canopy holding hands with other orangutans, a behaviour known as "buddy travel". After two years of age, juvenile orangutans will begin to move away from their mothers temporarily. They reach adolescence at six or seven years of age and will socialise with their peers while still having contact with their mothers. Females may nurse their offspring for up to eight years, which is more than any mammal. Typically, orangutans live over 30 years both in the wild and in captivity.


Nesting

Orangutans Nest-building in primates, build nests specialised for either day or night use. These are carefully constructed; young orangutans learn from observing their mother's nest-building behaviour. In fact, nest-building ability is a leading cause for young orangutans to regularly leave their mother. From six months of age onwards, orangutans practice nest-building and gain proficiency by the time they are three years old. Construction of a night nest is done by following a sequence of steps. Initially, a suitable tree is located. Orangutans are selective about sites, though many tree species are used. The nest is then built by pulling together branches under them and joining them at a point. After the foundation has been built, the orangutan bends smaller, leafy branches onto the foundation; this serves the purpose of and is termed the "mattress". After this, orangutans stand and braid the tips of branches into the mattress. Doing this increases the stability of the nest and is the final act of nest-building. Orangutans may add features, such as "pillows", "blankets", "roofs" and "bunk-beds" to their nests.


Intelligence and cognition

Orangutans are among the most intelligent non-human primates. Experiments suggest they can Object permanence#In animals, track the displacement of objects both visible and hidden. Zoo Atlanta has a touch-screen computer on which their two Sumatran orangutans play games. A 2008 study of two orangutans at the Leipzig Zoological Garden, Leipzig Zoo showed orangutans can use "calculated reciprocity", which involves weighing the costs and benefits of gift exchanges and keeping track of these over time. Orangutans are the first nonhuman species documented to do so. In a 1997 study, two captive adult orangutans were tested with the cooperative pulling paradigm. Without any training, the orangutans succeeded in pulling off an object to get food in the first session. Over the course of 30 sessions, the apes succeeded more quickly, having learned to coordinate. An adult orangutan has been documented to pass the mirror test, indicating self-awareness. Mirror tests with a 2-year-old orangutan failed to reveal self-recognition. Studies in the wild indicate that flanged male orangutans plan their movements in advance and signal them to other individuals. Experiments have also suggested that orangutans can Displacement (linguistics), communicate about things that are not present, mother orangutans remain silent in the presence of a perceived threat but when it passes, the mother produces an alarm call to their offspring to teach them about the danger. Orangutans and other great apes show Laughter in animals, laughter-like vocalisations in response to physical contact such as wrestling, play chasing or tickling. This suggests that laughter derived from a common origin among primate species and therefore evolved before the origin of humans. Orangutans have also been found to have voluntary control over vocal fold oscillation, which is essential for speech in humans, and can learn and mimic new sounds. Bonnie (orangutan), Bonnie, an orangutan at the National Zoological Park (United States), US National Zoo, was recorded spontaneously whistling after hearing a caretaker. She appears to whistle without expecting a food reward.


Tool use and culture

Tool use in orangutans was observed by primatologist
Birutė Galdikas Birutė Marija Filomena Galdikas or Birutė Mary Galdikas, OC (born 10 May 1946), is a Lithuanian-Canadian anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within ...
in ex-captive populations. Orangutans in Suaq Balimbing were recorded to develop a tool kit for use in foraging which consisted of both insect-extraction sticks for use in the hollows of trees and seed-extraction sticks for harvesting seeds from hard-husked fruit. The orangutans adjusted their tools according to the task at hand, and preference was given to oral tool use. This preference was also found in an experimental study of captive orangutans. Orangutans have been observed to jab at catfish with sticks, so that the panicked prey would flop out of ponds and into the ape's waiting hands. Orangutan have also been documented to save tools for future use. When building a nest, orangutans appear to have some technical knowledge of construction and choose branches they know can support their body weight. Primatologist Carel van Schaik, Carel P. van Schaik and biological anthropologist Cheryl D. Knott further investigated tool use in different wild orangutan populations. They compared geographic variations in tool use related to the processing of ''Neesia'' fruit. The orangutans of Suaq Balimbing were found to be avid users of insect and seed-extraction tools when compared to other wild orangutans. The scientists suggested these differences are cultural as they do not correlate with habitat. The orangutans at Suaq Balimbing live in dense groups and are socially tolerant; this creates good conditions for social transmission. Further evidence that highly social orangutans are more likely to exhibit cultural behaviours came from a study of leaf-carrying behaviours of formerly captive orangutans that were being rehabilitated on the island of Kaja in Borneo. Wild orangutans in Tuanan, Borneo, were reported to use tools in acoustic communication. They use leaves to amplify the kiss squeak sounds they produce. The apes may employ this method of amplification to Deception in animals, deceive the listener into believing they are larger animals. In 2003, researchers from six different orangutan field sites who used the same behavioural coding scheme compared the behaviours of the animals from each site. They found each orangutan population used different tools. The evidence suggested the differences were cultural: first, the extent of the differences increased with distance, suggesting cultural diffusion was occurring, and second, the size of the orangutans' cultural repertoire increased according to the amount of social contact present within the group. Social contact facilitates cultural transmission.


Personhood

In June 2008, Spain became the first country in the world to recognise the rights of some non-human great apes, when its parliament's cross-party environmental committee urged the country to comply with the recommendations of the Great Ape Project, which are that chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas not to be used for animal experiments. In December 2014, a court in Argentina ruled that an orangutan named Sandra at the Buenos Aires Zoo must be moved to a sanctuary in Brazil to provide her "partial or controlled freedom". Animal rights groups like Great Ape Project Argentina interpreted the ruling as applicable to all species in captivity, and legal specialists from the Argentina's Federal Chamber of Court of cassation, Criminal Cassatio considered the ruling applicable only to non-human hominids.


Orangutans and humans

Orangutans were known to the native people of Sumatra and Borneo for millennia. The apes are known as ''maias'' in Sarawak and ''mawas'' in other parts of Borneo and in Sumatra. While some communities hunted them for food and decoration, others placed taboos on such practices. In central Borneo, some traditional folk beliefs consider it bad luck to look in the face of an orangutan. Some folk tales involve orangutans mating with and kidnapping humans. There are even stories of hunters being seduced by female orangutans. Europeans became aware of the existence of the orangutan in the 17th century. Explorers in Borneo hunted them extensively during the 19th century. The first scientific description of orangutans was given by Dutch anatomist Petrus Camper, who observed the animals and dissected some specimens. Camper mistakenly thought that flanged and unflanged male orangutans were different species, a misconception corrected after his death. Little was known about orangutan behaviour until the field studies of Birutė Galdikas, who became a leading authority on the apes. When she arrived in Borneo in 1971, Galdikas settled into a primitive bark-and-thatch hut at a site she dubbed Camp Leakey, in Tanjung Puting. She studied orangutans for the next four years and developed her PhD thesis for UCLA. Galdikas became an outspoken advocate for orangutans and the preservation of their rainforest habitat, which is rapidly being devastated by logging industry, loggers,
palm oil Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substa ...

palm oil
plantations, gold miners, and unnatural Wildfire, forest fires. Along with Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Galdikas is considered to be one of Leakey's Angels, named after anthropologist Louis Leakey.


In fiction

Orangutans first appeared in Western fiction in the 18th century and have been used to comment on human society. Written by the pseudonymous A. Ardra, ''Tintinnabulum naturae'' (The Bell of Nature, 1772) is told from the point of view of a human-orangutan hybrid who calls himself the "metaphysician of the woods". Over half a century later, the anonymously written work ''The Orang Outang'' is narrated by a pure orangutan in captivity in the US, writing to her friend in Java and critiquing Boston society. Thomas Love Peacock's 1817 novel ''Melincourt (novel), Melincourt'' features Sir Oran Haut Ton, an orangutan who participates in English society and becomes a candidate for Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament. The novel satirises the class and political system of Britain. Oran's reliability, honesty and status as a "natural man" stand in contrast to the cowardice, greed, folly, and inequality of "civilised" human society. In Frank Challice Constable's ''The Curse of Intellect'' (1895), the protagonist Reuben Power travels to Borneo to capture and train an orangutan "to know what a beast like that might think of us". Orangutans are featured prominently in the 1963 science fiction novel ''Planet of the Apes (novel), Planet of the Apes'' by Pierre Boulle and the Planet of the Apes, media franchise derived from it. Orangutans are typically portrayed as bureaucrats like Dr. Zaius, the science minister. Orangutans are sometimes portrayed as villains, notably in the 1832 Walter Scott novel ''Count Robert of Paris'' and the 1841 Edgar Allan Poe short story ''The Murders in the Rue Morgue'' where the ape was trained to murder by his human master. Walt Disney Company, Disney's 1967 The Jungle Book (1967 film), animated musical adaptation of ''The Jungle Book'' added an orangutan named King Louie, voiced by Louis Prima, who tries to get Mowgli to teach him how to make fire. The 1986 horror film ''Link (film), Link'' features an intelligent orangutan which serves a university professor but has sinister motives, particularly with his stalking of a student assistant. Some stories have portrayed orangutans as guides to humans, such as The Librarian (Discworld), The Librarian in Terry Pratchett's fantasy novels ''Discworld'' and in Dale Smith (poet), Dale Smith's 2004 novel ''What the Orangutan Told Alice''. More comical portrayals of the orangutan include the 1996 film ''Dunston Checks In''.


In captivity

By the early 19th century, orangutans were being kept in captivity. In 1817, an orangutan joined several other animals in London's Exeter Exchange. The ape was recorded to have shunned the company of other animals, aside from a dog, and appeared to prefer the company of humans. It was occasionally taken on coach rides dressed in a smock-frock and hat and even treated with refreshments at an inn where it impressed its host with its polite behaviour. The London Zoo housed a female orangutan named Jenny (orangutan), Jenny who was dressed in human clothing and learned to drink tea. She is remembered for her meeting with Charles Darwin who compared her reactions to those of a human child. Zoos and circuses in the Western world would continue to use orangutans and other simians as sources for entertainment, training them to behave like humans at Chimpanzees' tea party, tea parties and to perform tricks. Notable orangutan "character actors" include Jacob and Rosa of the Tierpark Hagenbeck in the early 20th century and Jiggs of the San Diego Zoo in the 1930s and 1940s. Animal rights groups have urged a stop to such acts, considering them abusive. Starting in the 1960s, zoos became more concerned with education and orangutans exhibits were designed to mimic their natural environment and displayed their natural behaviours. Ken Allen, an orangutan of the San Diego Zoo, became world famous in the 1980s for multiple escapes from his enclosures. He was nicknamed "the Harry Houdini, hairy Houdini" and was the subject of a fan club, T-shirts, bumper stickers and a song titled ''The Ballad of Ken Allen''. Galdikas reported that her cook was sexually assaulted by a captive male orangutan. The ape may have suffered from a skewed species identity and forced copulation is a standard mating strategy for low-ranking male orangutans.


Conservation


Status and threats

All three species are critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of mammals. They are legally protected from capture, harm or killing in both Malaysia and Indonesia, and are listed under CITES#Appendix I, Appendix I by CITES, which prohibits their unlicensed trade under international law. The Bornean orangutan range has become patchy, being largely Local extinction, extirpated from several parts of the island, including the southeast. The largest remaining population is found in the forest around the Sabangau River, but this environment is at risk. The Sumatran orangutan is found only in the northern part of Sumatra, most of the population inhabiting the Leuser Ecosystem. The Tapanuli orangutan is found only in the Batang Toru forest of Sumatra. Birutė Galdikas wrote that orangutans were already endangered by
poaching Poaching has been defined as the illegal hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/h ...
and
deforestation deforestation in 1750-2004 (net loss) showing anthropogenic modification of remaining forest. File:MODIS (2020-08-01).jpg, 300px, Dry seasons, exacerbated by climate change, and the use of slash-and-burn methods for clearing tropical forest ...

deforestation
when she began studying them in 1971. During the early 2000s, orangutan habitats decreased rapidly because of logging and forest fires, and Habitat fragmentation, fragmentation by roads. A major factor has been the conversion of vast areas of subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest, tropical forest to
palm oil Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substa ...

palm oil
plantations in response to international demand. Hunting is also a major problem, as is the illegal
pet trade s, coral Corals are marine invertebrates within the class (biology), class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically live in compact Colony (biology), colonies of many identical individual polyp (zoology), polyps. Coral species include the i ...
. Orangutans may be killed for the
bushmeat Bushmeat is meat from wildlife species that are hunted for human consumption. Bushmeat represents a primary source of animal protein and a cash-earning commodity for inhabitants of humid tropical forest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia. ...
trade and bones are secretly traded in souvenir shops in several cities in Indonesian Borneo. Conflicts between locals and orangutans also pose a threat. Orangutans that have lost their homes often raid agricultural areas and end up being killed by villagers. Locals may also be motivated to kill orangutans for food or because of fear and self-defense. Mother orangutans are killed so their infants can be sold as pets, and many of these infants die without the help of their mother. Since 2012, the Indonesian authorities, with the aid of the Orangutan Information Center, confiscated 114 orangutans, 39 of which were pets. Estimates between 2000 and 2003 found 7,300 Sumatran orangutans and between 45,000 and 69,000 Bornean orangutans remain in the wild. A 2016 study estimates a population of 14,613 Sumatran orangutans in the wild, doubling previous population estimates. Fewer than 800 Tapanuli orangutan are estimated to still exist, which puts the species among the most endangered of the great apes. The table below shows a breakdown of the species and subspecies and their estimated populations from this or (in the case of ''P. tapanuliensis'') a 2017 report:


Conservation centres and organisations

Several organisations are working for the rescue, rehabilitation and reintroduction of orangutans. The largest of these is the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, founded by conservationist Willie Smits and which operates projects such as the Nyaru Menteng Rehabilitation Program founded by conservationist Lone Drøscher Nielsen. A female orangutan was rescued from a village brothel in Kareng Pangi village, Central Kalimantan, in 2003. The orangutan was shaved and chained for sexual purposes. Since being freed, the orangutan, named Pony, has been living with the BOS. She has been re-socialised to live with other orangutans. In May 2017, the BOS rescued an albino orangutan from captivity. The rare primate was being held captive in a remote village in Kapuas Hulu, on the island of Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo. According to volunteers at BOS, albino orangutans are extremely rare (one in ten thousand). This is the first albino orangutan the organisation has seen in 25 years of activity. Other major conservation centres in Indonesia include those at Kumai District#Tanjung Puting National Park, Tanjung Puting National Park, Sebangau National Park, Gunung Palung National Park and Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Borneo and the Gunung Leuser National Park and Bukit Lawang in Sumatra. In Malaysia, conservation areas include Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Matang Wildlife Centre also in Sarawak, and the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary in Sabah. Major conservation centres headquartered outside the orangutans' home countries include Frankfurt Zoological Society, Orangutan Foundation International, which was founded by Galdikas, and the Australian Orangutan Project. Conservation organisations such as the Orangutan Land Trust work with the palm oil industry to improve sustainability and encourages the industry to establish conservation areas for orangutans.


See also

* List of individual apes * Monkey Day * Orang Pendek * ''Orangutan Island'' * Skullduggery (1970 film), ''Skullduggery'' (1970 film)


References


External links


Orangutan Foundation International

AZA's Orangutan Conservation Education Center

Orangutan Language Project

The Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Land Trust
{{featured article Orangutans, Primates of Indonesia Articles containing video clips Species endangered by the pet trade Tool-using mammals Fauna of Southeast Asia