The name ‘Orangutan” originates from In Malay orang means “person” and utan which comes from hutan, which means “forest.” So, orangutan literally means “person of the forest.”
However, due to human destruction, they are becoming less and less the “person of the forest”. The population is in sharp decline due to habitat destruction and illegal hunting. A century ago there were probably more than 230,000 orangutans in total, but the Bornean orangutan is now estimated at 104,700 (that is a humongous drop!)
What do orangutans look like?
Orangutans are big, orange monkeys with shaggy reddish fur. Their arms stretch out longer than their bodies – up to 8 ft. from fingertip to fingertip in the case of huge males. They walk around on all 4 using their palms or fists.
Where do they formerly come from?
They were found originally in Indonesia and Malaysia. However, are now only found the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra
How long do they live for?
They live for 35-40 years however Over 50,000 orangutans on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have died because of palm oil deforestation.
What animal class are they?
They are classified as mammals. Characteristics of a mammal are the females produce milk for feeding (nursing) their young and the animal will also have fur or hair.
What do orangutans eat?
They eat ripe fruit, along with young leaves, bark, flowers, honey, insects, vines, and the inner shoots of plants. One piece of food that they love foods is the fruit of the durian tree, which has an overpowering smell and tastes somewhat like sweet, cheesy, garlic custard (not sure if I would want to eat that)
How often do they reproduce?
One mummy orangutan will give birth to a baby every six years. This is why they are more likely to become endangered.
Can you have one as a pet?
Unfortunately, you can’t have one of these cheeky monkeys for a pet. However, you can visit them at zoos such as Chester, Dudley, Blackpool and Colchester
What can you do to make sure orangutans do not become endangered?
1. Try and support organisations – when you donate to organisations it goes to looking after the orangutans in safe enclosures where they cannot be harmed.
2. When buying products such as furniture and paper products. Make sure to look for an FSC- certified which means that the product has been looked over to make sure it is not harming forests where the orangutans live.
3. Palm oil is found in products such as spreadable butter Nutella and other everyday products. Make sure to check that the products are deforestation-free and stop buying products from companies that are not responsibly sourcing their material.
4. Small changes also go along way. Recycling, driving less and making purchases that have little to no packaging all will not only help the environment but also protect are endangered species.
5. Lastly, talk to others. The best way to spread messages is b talking to people. Speak to family, friends and teachers about how they could help save our planet and the endangered species.
Questions for the class (skim read the text above for the answers):
1. What does their name mean?
2. Why are they endangered?
3. What is a feature of how they look?
4. Where were they found initially?
5. Do they live over the age of 100?
6. What animal class are they?
7. What is the orangutan’s favourite food?
8. Have you ever been to the zoo and seen an orangutan? If not, would you like to see one?
9. If you had a pet orangutan what would you name them?
10. What can you do to make sure orangutans do not become endangered