Endangered: Sumatran Orangutan
Orangutans are considered the largest arboreal animals in the world. Every evening they build a nest in the treetops. Their diet consists of fruits, leaves, bark, flowers, sometimes small animals or bird eggs.
Gender is very easy to tell . Males have large cheek plates on their heads and are much larger than females. The length of the body is 140 cm in an upright position, and the body weight is 60–90 kg for the male and 40–50 kg for the female.
The male reaches sexual maturity at the age of 15.
The female is sexually mature at the age of 8–10 years and can produce offspring until the age of 30. Every 3–6 years, the female gives birth to one young after a pregnancy of 8–9 months. She takes care of him for 3 years. A young orangutan becomes independent after 7–10 years of age.
Orangutans move by brachiation. This is one of the ways animals move. It enables efficient movement among the treetops. It consists in setting the body in a swinging motion and using long arms, moving along the branch, by changing the upper limbs.
This species is critically endangered. It has CR status in the Red List of Threatened Species. Since 1900, orangutan numbers have declined by more than 90%. The greatest threat to them is deforestation.
Sumatra’s primary rainforests are cleared for oil palm plantations and are also plagued by numerous fires. In addition, adult orangutans are killed by planters, and the young are captured and displayed as attractions in roadside bars.
Many scientists believe that the intelligence of orangutans is at the level of a four-year-old child. It is all the more horrific that these animals are sometimes used even in brothels.
The Malay name “orang utan” means “forest man”.
Orangutans are the only large apes that lead an arboreal lifestyle.
It is the slowest reproducing mammal.
Andrzej Regan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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