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The incredible family bond of orang-utans

 

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.

Borneo Orang-utan male baby 'Thor' aged 8-9 months peering from behind his mother. Camp Leakey, Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia © naturepl.com / Fiona Rogers / WWFBorneo Orang-utan male baby ‘Thor’ aged 8-9 months peering from behind his mother. Camp Leakey, Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia © naturepl.com / Fiona Rogers / WWF

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.

Bornean Orangutan female 'Lady Di' with her son 'La Betty' aged 3 years (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). Camp Rasak, Lamandau Nature Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia © naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWFBornean Orangutan female ‘Lady Di’ with her son ‘La Betty’ aged 3 years (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). Camp Rasak, Lamandau Nature Reserve, Central Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia © naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWF

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.

  1. The orang-utan is known as ‘man of the forest’ and is the heaviest tree dwelling animal.
  2. 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.
  3. Orang-utans in Borneo lost over 40,000km2 of habitat between 1990-2004 – an area twice the size of Wales.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Adult male orang-utans have a beard and moustache. While females do not grow moustaches, some Sumatran female orang-utans will sport a beard.
  7. Bornean orang-utans have been seen to take shelter from the sun or rain by holding twigs or leaves over their heads.
  8. Some Sumatran orang-utans make a ‘glove’ out of leaves when handling prickly fruits or thorny branches.
  9. An orang-utan can build its nest in less than 10 minutes. In wet weather, they sometimes add a roof.
  10. 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.

Feeling inspired?

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.

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