OF THE FOREST : The ORANG-UTANS
us get to know the orang-utan better
orang-utan is a beautiful and special animal. It is the only great ape that lives
outside of Africa. Its habitat is in Sumatra and Borneo, and it is the biggest
species of mammal that live in the trees. And its smart& a master in survival.
It knows the rainforest, with its thousands of plants and its dangers by heart.
Let us learn more about this man of the forest.
orang-utan' s favorite food is fruits. It sounds easy if you have never been in
the rainforest. But there are hundreds of thousands types of trees, how would
you know which are fruit-bearing and edible? Some trees bear fruits only once
a year. So how do you find the tree in the forest? An orang-utan can. From a young
age, the orang-utan is trained by its mother to identify trees, track trails and
climb trees. These skills are all necessary for it to survive in the jungle.
orang-utan is not a sociable, affectionate animal. The males can be very grumpy,
especially when they are in a group. Even a lion would envy the roar of a male
orang-utan make to keep other males at a distance. Sometimes female orang-utans
also keep their distance. They are much lighter, so they climb up higher, if necessary.
A female orang-utan will choose the toughest male when she wants to mate. Young
orang-utans sometimes play with other orang-utans when they meet in the fruiting
trees. However they do hang on their mothers (literally).
reproduce very slowly. They will only give birth after 9 months. The mother then
has its hands full with its baby. Other than protecting its young, it has to teach
it a lot of things. Only after 6 years, is the young allowed to leave home. A
female orang-utan seldom gives birth more than 4 times in its entire life.
night the orang-utan makes a new bed. It makes a nest out of branches and leaves
high in the trees. This is very hygienic and safe (as long as they do not fall
out, of course). For scientists researching on orang-utans, this is actually an
easy way of tracking them. The fresher the nest, the closer you are to an orang-utan.
of Orang-utans in Southeast Asia
are found only in the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The are protected by the
law in Malaysia and Indonesia, making commercial trade illegal. However illegal
trade continues. Many people still want to keep orang-utans as pets. While they
are young, they may make entertaining pets, but adults are extremely strong and
are obviously no longer suitable as pets.
often kill mothers to take their young to sell on the black market. Often, the
baby is accidentally killed. Therefore, for every orang-utan in the illegal trade,
at least a few more were killed. This wasteful and senseless trade is one of the
major reasons the orang-utans has become endangered in the wild.
in both Malaysia and Indonesia are trying to stop the illegal trade, but as long
as there is a demand by people who are willing to pay large sums of money to have
a baby orang-utans as a pet, the trade will continue. Authorities often do not
have enough manpower or the financial resources to fight the illegal trade.
Another problem is that some people who would like to keep orang-utans as pets do not realise that it is against the law, and that by keeping an orang-utan as a pet, they are contributing to the decline in its population in the wild. More efforts to educate people about the orang-utans are needed.