Every week we look at a different endangered species.
Week of Jan.6-Jan.12
The name Orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language. There are 2 species of Orangutan. Bornean and Sumatran, and they only differ a little in appearance and behavior. They are endangered, combined there is about 48500 left in the wild.
- Orangutans can weigh up to 200 pounds.
- They share 96.4% of their genes with humans!
- They are highly intelligent creatures.
- They are the “gardeners of the forest”
- A mother only gives birth every 3-5 years.
Much of the decline of the species is due to their slow reproductive rate, as well as, deforestation, hunting and illegal trade of young, and illegal trade of orangutan skull.
~ Orangutans are an endangered species!
Primatology Lesson of the Day #28:
Researchers have found mountain gorillas to be full of unusual quirks. Although they are one of the most powerful creatures on the planet, they have a natural fear of caterpillars and an apparent species-wide fear of all reptiles.
Sadly, the mountain gorillas are disappearing. Current records show that there are only 700 left in the wild and because they only live in mountainous areas, mountain gorilla populations become cut off and isolated which causes genetic bottlenecking. Few researchers believe they will survive this decade.
The only way to stop this from happening might be by quickly raising awareness and helping improve African agriculture, so that gorilla habitat is no longer encroached on.
“These long-haired, orangish primates, found only in Sumatra and Borneo, are highly intelligent and are close relatives of humans.
Orangutans’ arms are well suited to their lifestyle because they spend much of their time (some 90 percent) in the trees of their tropical rain forest home. They even sleep aloft in nests of leafy branches. They use large leaves as umbrellas and shelters to protect themselves from the common rains.
These cerebral primates forage for food during daylight hours. Most of their diet consists of fruit and leaves gathered from rain forest trees. They also eat bark, insects and, on rare occasions, meat.
Orangutans are more solitary than other apes. Males are loners. As they move through the forest they make plenty of rumbling, howling calls to ensure that they stay out of each other’s way. The “long call” can be heard 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away.
Mothers and their young, however, share a strong bond. Infants will stay with their mothers for some six or seven years until they develop the skills to survive on their own. Female orangutans give birth only once every eight years—the longest time period of any animal. The animals are long-lived and have survived as long as 60 years in captivity.
Because orangutans live in only a few places, and because they are so dependent upon trees, they are particularly susceptible to logging in these areas. Unfortunately, deforestation and other human activities, such as hunting, have placed the orangutan in danger of extinction.”
Adult males have large cheek flaps and are significantly bigger than females. These intelligent creatures are able to use basic tools in the wild to get to their meals.
Fruit makes up 65-90% of the orangutan’s diet. This guy looks like he enjoys a good pineapple.
The total number of Bornean orangutans is estimated to be less than 14 percent of what it was in the recent past (from around 10,000 years ago until the middle of the twentieth century) and this sharp decline has occurred mostly over the past few decades due to human activities and development.
What is it that makes orangutans so unique?