Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Orang Utan, Man of the Forest

Say Orang Utan and everyone knows what it is. Some is written as orangutan. Orang Utan means "Man of the Forest" derived from the Malay language. These red apes are found only in Indonesia and Malaysia, on the island of Borneo and Sumatra.

Orang Utans belongs to the great ape family. Other members of the great apes are gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans. Infact, we share about 96% of our genetic build up with Orang Utans. The most obvious difference between an ape and a monkey is that ape do not have a tail.

There are 2 species of Orang Utans , ie. Pongo pygmaeus (the Borneon species) and Pongo abelii (the Sumatran species). The Borneon species is divided into 3 subspecies, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, pongo pygmaeus morio, pongo pygmaeus wurmbii.

Sumatran Orang Utans are critically endangered. Borneon Orang Utans are classified as endangered. Physically, the Borneo Orang Utan is much stouter and has a darker red fur. The Sumatran Orang Utan has a lighter brown fur. An adult male Borneon Orang Utan has a large pendulous throat sac, rounder face with flages while the Sumatran have flat cheek flanges covered with more fur.

Orang Utans and their habitat, the tropical rainforest are under threat. Their habitat are being destroyed for agriculture, for forest products and for other developments. They are being hunted down occasionally by those who considered them as pest.

They are solitary animals and the largest arboreal (tree living) animals in this planet.  With their very strong hands and feet and flexible limbs, it helps them to travel through the forest.

Orang Utans are frugivorous (fruit eating). Although 90% of their main diet consists of fruits (figs, durians), they would eat honey, bark, leaves and insects too.

In the wild, Orang Utans may live up to 45 years or more. In the zoo, their lifespan may be longer. Male Orang Utans can weight about 120 kg and can reach a height 1.5 metres. Female Orang Utans are about 1 metres tall and 45 kg in weight.

A mature male Orang Utan may develop cheek pads and throat pouch. They will inflate their throat pouch to make loud sound called long call to alert other Orang Utans or to attract female Orang Utans.

Female Orang Utans will have their first baby between the age of 14 to 15. The pregnancy will last for 8.5 months. The young will stay with the mother until the age of 7 or 8. Usually, female Orang Utans will have babies every 8 years. They will have 3 or 4 youngs in their lifetime.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: The Orang Utan, Man of the Forest