Orangutan means ”man of the forest” in the Malay language and it is the only extant great ape outside of Africa. There are two species: Borneo orangutan and Sumatra orangutan. These two species are more distantly related than, for instance, chimpanzee and bonobo.
The orangutan weighs 65–100 kg. The female weighs barely half as much as the male. Older males change in appearance and get large cheek flaps and a throat pouch.
Unlike most other primates, orangutans are solitary. Despite its size and appearance of clumsiness, the orangutan is almost exclusively arboreal. It spends the night in a nest built from folded twigs and leaves. A roof may be constructed, making orangutans more advanced nest builders than other primates. The nest is usually only used one night.
The diet predominantly consists of fruits, leaves and shoots but also larvae and eggs.
Approximately 35 years in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity.
The orangutan was previously found over great parts of the mainland and islands of Southeast Asia. Today they only remain in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Deforestation and hunting are the biggest threats to the survival of the orangutan.
The female reaches reproductive maturity at approximately 8 years of age and can give birth every 4–6 years. The gestation period is 9 months.
45 000 Borneo orangutans remained at the most recent inventory. This means that at least 50 % of the species has disappeared during the last 60 years. The rate of extinction is extremely rapid, largely due to the palm oil industry. This vegetable oil is used in countless food and household products that we here in the west use unknowingly every day.
Orangutans are good at making objects, just like chimpanzees. Orangutans are also more patient than chimpanzees, so they can collect materials for a long time.