Orangutan – great ape
The orangutan is the largest living tree–dwelling ape. In the Malay language, its name means “forest person” or “man of the woods.” It is a reddish ape related to gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. All these animals are called great apes because of their large size and great intelligence.
The orangutan was once found throughout Indochina, Malaysia and north to China, and possibly in India. In the past it was thought that the orangutan had also occurred in Africa. These animals are rare and inhabit the impenetrable forests of Borneo, Java and Sumatra, as well as those of Guinea and Congo.
In historical times it has only been known to occur on Sumatra and Borneo. About 100 years ago it was present in most of the rainforest areas on these islands.
The orangutan is found in tropical, swamp and mountain forests.
Orangutans spend 95 percent of their lives in trees. During the day, the animals feed primarily on fruit. They also eat leaves, insects, bark, and young birds and squirrels. They use tools for gathering fruit and insects for food.
Each night, they build a nest in a tree.
Orangutans cannot swim and are afraid of water.
Usually only one young is born at a time. Occasionally twins are born. Time between births is generally 7—9 years. A female orangutan can produce at most four surviving young over a lifetime. Young orangutans are carried by the mother when they travel until they are 4 years old.
It can live up to 45 years in the wild and 59 years in captivity.
One of the greatest threats to orangutans is their capture to be used as pets and their habitat destruction. Some childless couples even raise the animals as children, dressing them in human clothes.