The word “orangutan” comes from “Orang Hutan,” meaning “Person of the Forest.” They are unique among the great apes in that they do not live in social groups. Adults typically forage on their own, but mothers care for their offspring for years. Orangutans have complex cognitive and spatial skills, meaning that they have good memories and are outstanding problem-solvers. Orangutans are highly endangered as a result of habitat loss and black market trade for infants as pets. There are three species of orangutans: Bornean, Sumatran, Tapanuli (recently discovered, Tapanuliensis). Morphologically, the Tapanuli species has differing skull and teeth structure. They are found in an isolated area of the northern part of the island of Sumatra. There are fewer than 800 individuals making them among the most endangered great apes.
Southeastern Asia [VIEW MAP]
Orangutans are outside and usually may be seen year-round as long as temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. On cooler days, or mornings, and during storms, they will be snuggled up indoors with their favorite blankets and beds they build from fresh straw every day.