Orang Utan (Pongo Pygmaeus)

Orang Utan (Pongo Pygmaeus)

- in Mammal, Endemic, Fauna

G-95-2-ORANG-UTANITS–The Orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus) or “man of the forest” today lives only in Borneo and Sumatra. Thus Indonesia is burdened with a great responsibility for the survival of this rare species. There are an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 of them living in the forests of the two islands. This intelligent great ape in many respects resembles a human being. They make love like humans, they use tools and their babies cry like human babies do.
The biggest difference between both of them lies mostly in their look and strength. An adult orangutan may weigh around 100 kilograms, stand 140 meters tall and its arms may be as long as two meters. The red-haired animal has a beard on their human like countenance and has a life expectancy up to around 30 years. They are solitary in nature but sometimes they are spotted living in small groups of three to four where the father is absent.
They are group wanders of forests searching for nourishment including fruits, plants, insects, flowers and bird eggs. They have a remarkable knowledge of the location of food within their territory. Orangutans make nests out of leaves and twigs every night to sleep high up in the trees. The work of making the nest may take one hour. A male orangutan roars long loud calls (audible as far as two kilometres) to warn each other off their respective turf. The male also yells, if differently and repeatedly beats its chest to call its sexual partner for coupling. The coupling is preceded with mutual screams, which fade in the process and wind up in silence. An Orangutan pregnancy lasts eight months on the average. Births occur every three to four years, and single babies are the usual rule, like men. Most of the youngsters do not leave their mothers until they reach sexual maturity at the age of six.
Keeping an orangutan as a pet is now illegal in Indonesia and the government and non-governmental organizations jointly try to protect the species. The famous orangutan rehabilitation centre in the country is Camp Leaky in Tanjung Puting, Central Kalimantan, directed by Canadian born Dr Birute Galdikas for many years. The centre has become a major tourist destination in Indonesia. Indonesia hosted the Conference of the Great Apes of the World, which was held from December 8 to 13, 1991 in Palangkaraya and Tanjung Puting, Central Kalimantan, attended by 90 international scientists, including Prof. Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr Birute Galdikas and Dr. Kelly Stewart.

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