To celebrate World Orang-utan Day, we’ve released a beautiful new video capturing the mesmerising species. The stunning footage showcases the incredible family bond between an infant orang-utan and its mother.
Swinging through trees in the heart of the Borneo before nestling into its mother’s chest; the young orang-utan looks peaceful – unaware of the imposing threat on their family home.
The orang-utan sums
Over the past 20 years, more than 80% of the orang-utan’s habitat has been lost – largely to the production of palm oil, a product found in more than half of packaged products in our supermarkets.
Orang-utans are an incredible and iconic species. They play a vital role within their eco-system as the ‘gardeners’ of the forest – helping to spread large seeds and sustain the natural function of the forest. However, they are under threat. Orang-utans used to be found as far north as southern China right down towards the Indonesian island of Java. However today, orang-utans can only be found in the wild islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Their population has declined by around 50% in the last sixty years.
10 things you didn’t know about orang-utans
To support this incredible species, WWF is working to protect and connect orang-utan habitats, restore heavily logged forest, promote more sustainable forestry and agricultural practices, and tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
- The orang-utan is known as ‘man of the forest’ and is the heaviest tree dwelling animal.
- Over 90% of wild orang-utans have been lost in the past century. Their main threats include unsustainable logging, forest conversion, fire, habitat fragmentation, mining and the illegal pet trade.
- Orang-utans in Borneo lost over 40,000km2 of habitat between 1990-2004 – an area twice the size of Wales.
- 60% of an orang-utan’s diet is fruit. A huge spiky fruit called durian are the favourite fruit of orang-utans – it is best known for its stench, which has been likened to sewage, rotting flesh and smelly socks.
- Orang-utans’ arms are one and a half times as long as their legs and reach to their ankles when standing. The hands and feet of orang-utans look almost exactly the same.
- Adult male orang-utans have a beard and moustache. While females do not grow moustaches, some Sumatran female orang-utans will sport a beard.
- Bornean orang-utans have been seen to take shelter from the sun or rain by holding twigs or leaves over their heads.
- Some Sumatran orang-utans make a ‘glove’ out of leaves when handling prickly fruits or thorny branches.
- An orang-utan can build its nest in less than 10 minutes. In wet weather, they sometimes add a roof.
- Up to 32 different vocal sounds have been recorded by orang-utans. The orang-utan’s ‘long call’ can be heard by people up to 1,500m away but a sound called the ‘kiss squeak’ will usually indicates tension or potential danger.
If you feel inspired to help protect these gentle giants and their forest habitat on World Orang-utan Day, why not adopt an orang-utan today. Your support will help fund WWF’s orang-utan conservation work.