Orangutan quick facts:
- Orangutans can live up to 45 years.
- Orangutansshare approximately 97% of their DNA with humans.
- There are two species orangutans, Pongo pygmaeus in Borneo, and Pongo abelii in Sumatra.
- Orangutans inhabit tropical forest and peat land forest.
- Orangutans eat ripe fruit, young leaves, bark, flowers, honey, insects, vines, and the inner shoots of plants.
- Orangutan starts breeding at the age of 7 to 10 years.
- Borneo orangutan is categorized as Endangered Species, therefore orangutan is forbidden by law for hunting or trading, as its population is declined.
- In its natural habitat, the population of Borneo orangutan is around 23,000 individuals and Sumatra orangutan is around 12,000 individuals.
Forest keepers and forest generators
Orangutan is the forest keeper. In Bahasa, orang means person and utan or hutan means forest. We can literally translate orangutan to “man of the forest”. Yes, they keep and protect the forest.
How do they do it? Orangutan helps spread plant seeds. When eating the fruit, they took out the seeds in their droppings. As they travel and swing from branch to branch, they spread the seeds into a broader place. If it falls to the ground fertile, the seeds will grow into a new tree.
Besides that, orangutans also help the growth of new trees. Trees need sunlight. As forest is very dense, sunlight penetration is blocked to the ground. As a result, small trees do not receive adequate sunlight and are stunted. When eating or making nests, orangutan broke tree branches and taking leaves, and make ways for the light to penetrate the forest floor
HELP! Orangutan is in danger situation nowadays
Threats to orangutan today are habitat loss and poaching. Habitat loss is due to conversion of natural forest into non-forest functions such as plantations, mining and logging. Forest fire sometimes caused habitat loss cause. Forest becomes increasingly narrow and damaged. Availability of food is reduced which then forced orangutans into human’s fields, settlement and even oil palm plantations in search of food. Human then consider orangutans as pests.
Orangutan poaching happens for pet. No, orangutan is not suitable for pets! It shares 97% DNA with human, so it’s danger to keep them at home. They can do disease dispersal.
Heart of Borneo
Borneo is one of only two places - the other being Indonesia's Sumatra island - where endangered orangutans, elephants and rhinos co-exist. Other threatened wildlife in Borneo includes clouded leopards, sun bears and Bornean gibbons, the latter found nowhere else in the world. The island is also home to 10 primate species, more than 350 bird species, 150 reptiles and amphibians and 15,000 plants.
Borneo is split between the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. In 2007, the three governments signed an historic agreement to save the Heart of Borneo. WWF is working with these nations to conserve 220,000 km2 of rainforest, almost a third of the island, through a network of protected areas and sustainably-managed forests.
The protection of the heart of Borneo would not only benefit wildlife. It would also help alleviate poverty by increasing water and food security and cultural survival for the people of Borneo. In the long term, it will save the island from the ultimate threat of deforestation and increased impacts from droughts and fires.
Visit the WWF Heart of Borneo site for more information about Heart of Borneo Initiative.
What you can do?
- Don’t buy or pet orangutan at home. The ideal place for orangutan is in the forest.
- Ask other people around you to care for orangutan and its conservation efforts.
- Don’t buy products extracted unsustainably from the rainforests, palm oil, timber, and many more.
- Reducing the use of paper to reduce the cutting of trees.
- Helping conservation organizations by donation. http://www.supporterwwf.org/donate/id/donation/detail/sahabat-orangutan