Pongo pygmaeus

IUCN status
Critically endangered
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« This peaceful and solitary animal knows how to keep a low profile despite its large size. »

A great ape that is the king of brachiation

The largest arboreal mammal

The orangutan is the largest arboreal mammal in the world. It moves from branch to branch by brachiation, though it will not hesitate to travel long distances on the ground if necessary. Its long arms reach all the way down to its ankles and allow it to easily move through the Malaysian and Indonesian tropical forest. This peaceful and solitary animal knows how to keep a low profile despite its large size.


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Beauval Nature reports… from Borneo

Save orangutan

Beauval Nature supports the Hutan association which works to preserve Borneo’s animals, including orangutans. Enjoy an inspiring encounter with Marc Ancrenaz, the man behind this conservation programme.

A completely devastated ecosystem

The orangutan is extremely threatened in its natural habitat (the tropical forests of Indonesia) and is suffering a massive decline. The cause of this decline is the destruction of the forest for timber exploitation and to make way for palm oil trees. The French Hutan association has been working in the field for more than 20 years to study the behaviour of orangutans and their adaptation to new living environments. In doing so, the association is attempting to find ways to prevent the massacre of biodiversity.

This programme placed 2nd in the “Conservation” category of the Sponsors and Patrons Award in the 2019 Beauval Nature awards.

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Critically endangered

Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Gestation period
    7½ to 9 months
  • Litter size
    1 to 2 young
  • Habitat
    Tropical forests
Omnivore with frugivore tendencies
The orangutan is omnivorous but about 60 % of its diet is made up of fruits. This primate contributes to the regeneration of the forest by dropping the seeds that are contained in the fruit onto the forest floor. In addition to its role in seed dispersal, the orangutan also plays a part in the regulation of pest populations as it particularly enjoys eating insects and small invertebrates. It will also readily gobble-down certain plants.
Orangutans are somewhat solitary primates; they usually live alone but come together for the breeding season. Males occupy large territories that encompass the territories of several females. Mothers are very close to their young, who cling their mother’s belly for several months after birth.
The legend of the man of the forest
The term “orangutan” is derived from Malay and Indonesian (the official language of the Republic of Indonesia) and means “man of the forest”. According to some Malaysian beliefs, the orangutan is a man who has changed into an animal, capable of speech, but who remains silent to avoid being forced to work.

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Other species in the territory

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