Orangutan: An Endangered Intelligent Primate

The orangutan (Pongo sp.) is a great ape species found in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. The term "Orangutan" comes from the Indonesian language, where "orang" means "Man/Human" and "utan" means "Forest." As a result, the orangutan can be translated as "Forest Man". Orangutans are arboreal (they live on trees) and live solitary in the tropical rainforest.
Sources: Pixabay
They have brownish-red or black hair and a long arm. The arm length can be twice as long as the foot length. An adult male orangutan can weigh between 50 and 90 kg, while an adult female can weigh between 30 and 50 kg. Orangutans have large and complex brains, making them one of the world's smartest apes. They feed on mangosteens and lychees, as well as foliage and flowers.

They are a crucial part of the rainforest environment, helping to disperse seeds and keep the forest ecosystem healthy. Orangutans are only found in Borneo and Sumatra Island and are classified into three species: Orang utan Sumatera/Sumatrans Orangutan (Pongo abelii), Orang utan Kalimantan/Borneo Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), and Orang utan Tapanuli/Tapanuli Orangutans (Pongo tapanuliensis), which was discovered in 2017.

Orangutan is endangered species, they are desperate due to the habitat lost and hunted because it is considered to disturb oil palm plantations.

The Differences Between Orangutan Species

The Sumatran orangutan has a longer face compared to the Bornean and Tapanuli orangutans. It has an oval-shaped face with a downward sagging face. However, the Bornean orangutans have flared cheek pads, giving their faces a rounder appearance. The Tapanuli orangutan's face’s shape looks like that of the Bornean orangutan, but the cheek pads look flatter, and have a mustache and a blonde beard. They also have smaller heads and frizzier hair on their bodies.

The Sumatran orangutans have brown-orange and longer hair than others. On the other hand, Bornean orangutans have darker brown hair, and the Tapanulis have blonde hair. Sumatran orangutans are more arboreal and frugivorous than Borneo orangutans. They do, however, eat bird eggs and small vertebrates. The orangutans are also highly skilled at using tools for hunting. They are also more social than their Bornean counterparts. It also has a smaller body size than the Bornean.

Habitats and populations

Orangutans can be found in tropical rainforests. Because they have long and strong arms, they can move quickly and easily between trees. Lowland woods, highland forests, and mountain forests can be home to orangutans. They are generally found in locations with a lot of rain and warm temperatures. With their long arms and flexible fingers, they are well adapted to their woodland habitat, allowing them to climb, swing, and cling to branches with ease.

Orangutan habitat is critical to their survival. They can find food, shelter, and protection from predators in the rainforest. Unfortunately, deforestation and human activities such as logging, mining, and agriculture are endangering orangutans' habitat. This has resulted in significant population declines in orangutan populations, with all three species now classified as critically endangered. Orangutans are losing their homes and food sources as their forest habitats continue to be destroyed, putting their survival in jeopardy. 

The orangutan population has been steadily declining over the last few decades. Approximately 60% of the population has been lost in the last 50 years. There are approximately 14,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild. With 1045,700 individuals, the Bornean Orangutan population is larger, but it is 50% lower than a decade ago when there were 230,000 individuals. The Tapanuli orangutans, on the other hand, have a very small population, with only 800 individuals remaining. It is listed as "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List and is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates.

Conservation Effort

Orangutans are threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and the pet trade, among other factors. Several conservation efforts have been implemented to help protect them and their habitats. The area protection effort is one of the conservation strategies. Several protected areas have been established to conserve orangutan populations, including national parks, wildlife reserves, and conservation areas. These protected areas provide a haven for orangutans and other endangered species.

Habitat restoration has been undertaken by many organizations. These projects involve planting trees and creating corridors that connect fragmented forest areas, which allows them to move more freely and access more food resources. Aside from that, education and awareness programs have been developed to educate local communities about the importance of orangutan conservation.

These programs aim to reduce hunting and the pet trade, which pose significant threats to orangutans. Rescue and rehabilitation centers have been established to care for orphaned or injured orangutans. These centers provide medical treatment, food, and shelter to these primates until they can be released back into the wild.


Orangutans are one of the largest primates in the world and are only found on the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. There are three known types of orangutans: the Sumatran orangutan, the Bornean orangutan, and the Tapanuli orangutan. Orangutans live in tropical rainforests and eat fruits, leaves, and flowers. The orangutan population has declined dramatically in recent decades, and today they are becoming increasingly threatened by habitat loss and hunting.


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