Orangutan Fact Information

Orangutan Fact & Travel Information

The orangutans are two species of great apes known for their intelligence and their long arms and reddish-brown hair. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, they are currently found only in rain forests on the islands of Borneo or Kalimantan and Sumatra, though fossils have been found in Java, Vietnam and China.

They are the only extant species in the genus Pongo and the subfamily Ponginae (which also includes the extinct genera Gigantopithecus and Sivapithecus). Their name derives from the Malay and Indonesian phrase Orang Hutan, meaning “person of the forest”.

About a million years ago, orangutans lived throughout much of Asia, from Java in the south, right up into Laos and southern China. Today they are found only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Asia’s only great ape, the orangutan has recently been re-classified as belonging to two distinct species, reflecting their geographical distribution: Pongo pygmaeus (on Borneo) and Pongo abelii (on Sumatra).

The two species show slightly different physical characteristics. Sumatran orangutans have a narrower face and longer beard than the Bornean species. Bornean orangutans are slightly darker in colour and the males have wider cheek pads than their Sumatran relatives. Behavioural differences have also been observed between the two species; Sumatran orangutans are more frugivorous (fruit-eating) and there is evidence of tool use than in Bornean orangutans.

Under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, the Sumatran orangutan is classified as critically endangered and the Bornean as endangered.

Borneo Island
Borneo / Kalimantan is the second largest island in the world. The North and North-western part of the island are the East Malaysian state of Serawak and Sabah, with the newly independent state of Brunei Darussalam between them. The rest of the island is part of Indonesia, divided into four provinces – East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

The tremendous outspread of jungles and wilderness, which are so rich in natural resources as timber, gas, oil and coal as well as scenic beauty – are comparable to that of a continent alone. Focal point for most visitors is the mighty Mahakam river, which meanders through thousands of kilometers through one of the worlds largest tropical rainforests, from its head water near the center of the island. The twenty main Dayak tribes – once feared as headhunters have their homes in this river basin, A remarkable varieties of plants and animals life including the famous fresh water dolphins which often accompany boats along the river make a visit to Kalimantan an enthralling venture to a different world. In year to come the Mahakam river trips are most likely to have a more modern outlook with modern crafts and all possible amenities. Unfortunately under such circumstances the Dayak village would have last their primitive charm, and a cliché scene of souvenirs shops would cluster along the riverside.

How to Get to Orangutan
Most of the capital city in Indonesia has accessed to Borneo but not much option for the flight to Pangkalan Bun, the most and the best spot to begin to visit and explorer the Orangutan adventure trip.

The following city below has direct flight or transit at other city
– Regular flight from Makasar of south Sulawesi
– Regular flight from Denpasar, Surabaya
– flight from Semarang of Central Java
– Regular flight from Jakarta

Domestic Flight on between of Borneo island
– Flight from Balikpapan – Pangkalanbun
– From Banjarmasin – Balikpapan
– Flight Banjarmasin – Pangkalanbun
– Flight from Banjarmasin – Pontianak

About Orangutan
Orangutans are large apes that live in southeast Asia (on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra). These apes mostly live in trees (they are arboreal) and swing from branch to branch using their arms. The word orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language. As its habitats are being usurped by man, the orangutan’s population is decreasing and it is in grave danger of extinction.

Orangutans have a large, bulky body, a thick neck, very long, strong arms, short, bowed legs, and no tail. Orangutans are about 2/3 the size of the gorilla.

They are mostly covered with long reddish-brown hair.

The Head
The orangutan has a large head with a prominent mouth area. Adult males have large cheek flaps (which get larger as the ape ages).

Orangutans have senses very similar to ours, including hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Hands and Feet
Orangutan hands are very much like ours; they have four long fingers plus an opposable thumb. Their feet have four long toes plus an opposable big toe. Orangutans can grasp things with both their hands and their feet. The largest males have an arm span of about 7.5 feet (2.3 m).

Orangutans are about 2/3 the size of the gorilla.

Orangutans are omnivores (they eat both plants and animals) but are mostly herbivorous (plants comprise most of their diet). They eat fruit (their favorite food), leaves, seeds, tree bark, plant bulbs, tender plant shoots, and flowers. They also eat insects and small animals (like birds and small mammals).

Orangutans don’t even have to leave their tree branches to drink, they drink water that has collected in the holes between tree branches.

Orangutans are very intelligent. They have been known to use found objects as tools; for example, they use leaves as umbrellas to keep the rain from getting them wet. They also use leaves as cups to help them drink water.

Orangutans are shy, solitary animals that are active during the day (they are diurnal). They live alone in large territories. This is probably due to their eating habits; they need a large area in order to get enough food and too many orangutans in one area might lead to starvation.

The only long-lasting orangutan social group is the mother and offspring, who live together for about 7 years. When mating, the male and female orangutan stay together for only a few days.

Sleeping Platforms
Each evening, orangutans construct a “nest” in the tree branches for the night in which they will curl up and sleep. These nests are made out of leaves and branches. Nests are shared by a mother and her nursing offspring. Sometimes, the orangutan will use a leaf as a “roof” to protect itself from the rain. Orangutans often nap in the afternoon after a morning spent obtaining food.

Male orangutans are capable of very long, loud calls (called “long calls”) that carry through forests for up to 0.6 mile (1 km). The “long call” is made up of a series of sounds followed by a bellow. These calls help the male claim his territory, call to females, and keep out intruding male orangutans. Males have a large throat sac that lets them make these loud calls.

Orangutans usually move by swinging from one branch to another; this is called brachiating. Orangutans can also walk using their legs (but rarely do). Orangutans do not swim.

Orangutans live about 50 years in captivity; their life span in the wild is only 30-45 years (like most animals, they live longer in captivity).

Orangutans live in tropical rain forests.

Orangutans live in Asia. They are the only great ape from Asia. They are found in tropical rain forests in northern Sumatra, Indonesia and in low-lying swamps in Borneo Indonesia.

–  Subspecies (perhaps a subspecies) Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus (From
Borneo, with a round face and dark red hair;)
–  Subspecies (perhaps a subspecies) Pongo pygmaeus abelii (From Sumatra,
with a narrow face and paler hair)

Orangutans are mature and capable of reproducing beginning when they are 7 to 10 years old. Females are pregnant for 8.5 to 9 months and give birth to a single baby. Young orangutans are weaned from their mothers at about 6-7 years of age.

The animal that poses the biggest threat to the orangutan is man (who uses its habitat and sells young orangutans as pets).

Orangutans are an endangered species. They are decreasing in numbers quickly as they lose habitat to people. Further aggravating the problem, baby orangutans are caught and sold around the world as pets.

The earliest-known primates date from about 70 million years ago (Macdonald, 1985). The greater apes (family Pongidae, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) split off from the lesser apes (family Hylobatidae, gibbons and siamangs) 20 million years ago.

Orangutans belong to the:
– Kingdom Animalia (all animals)
– Phylum Chordata
– Subphylum Vertebrata (animals with backbones)
– Class Mammalia (warm-blooded animals with fur and mammary glands)
– Order Primates (which includes 11 families, which include lemurs, monkeys, marmosets, lesser apes, great apes, and humans).
– Family Pongidae (the great apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans)
– Genus Pongo (gorillas and orangutans)
– Species pygmaeus

Subspecies or Not?
Some scientists think that these two groups of orangutans are different subspecies (a subdivision of a species), others think that they are not. Since these two groups of orangutans have been geographically separated for a long time, they are now physically distinct from each other. They are not different species since they are genetically similar enough to interbreed.