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Orangutan

Pongo pygmaeus

Description:

Orangutan....in Malay is 'orang', meaning person, 'hutan', meaning forest, translates to person of the forest and that's a perfect description. Orangutans are great apes and share 97% of our DNA. They are large, strong, arboreal apes and can live up to 60 years of age. Their arms outstretched, can reach up to 8feet. Like humans, orangutans have opposable thumbs. Their big toes are also opposable. In the wild, females usually give birth to their first offspring when they are 15-16 years of age, with bub clinging to Mum for the first 4-6 years.

Habitat:

The Bornean orangutan lives in tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Bornean lowlands, as well as mountainous areas up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level. This species lives throughout the canopy of primary and secondary forests, and moves large distances to find trees bearing fruit. The Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans' rainforest habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate due to deforestation and clearing of the land for pulp paper and palm oil plantations, with the remaining forest degraded by drought and forest fires. Reportedly, extinction in the wild is likely in the next 10 years for Sumatran orangutans and soon after for Bornean orangutans. Both the Sumatran species (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean species (Pongo pygmaeus) are classified as Critically Endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Notes:

I saw this tiny ball of orange fuzz on my 3rd day in Borneo. We were on a river boat, only a few kilometres from our accommodation. It was around 7:30 in the morning and our guides pulled the boat up to the edge of the forest and there he was. It was incredible to see this precious baby. You can look at them on tv and in books and on your computer screen, but to see them there, in their forest, just being themselves is a gift, and a blessing. There were 2 adults maybe 10metres away in another tree, but I couldn't get a clear shot of them. This baby was so cute! He was curious and playful and hungry, eating the fruits of the tree he was on. We were able to watch him for around 20 minutes. In that time we never heard a sound, and got to watch him return to the adults. We were so lucky and blessed to have seen this family in their dwindling habitat. Personally, I can't believe we have allowed their plight to come to this. Upon leaving the resort the next day, our bus drove through six hours of continuous palm oil plantations. Six hours. I couldn't believe my eyes. After the first hourn, I thought....surely this plantation will end soon, but no, there were more, on both sides of the road and as far as the eye could see for hour after hour. I cried for them that day, and have many times since coming home to Australia. The next day we attended the Orangutan Rehab Centre in Sepilok. Here they are cared for where needed, the babies are nursed and helped to be eventually released if possible. This centre has an open forest with no fence, so the adults are free to come and go as they please. It's a fantastic place. I mention this because upon leaving Borneo, I asked my guide how I can best help his country, he said adopt an Orangutan through this centre, or donate what you can.

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13 Comments

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 7 months ago

Thank you for putting the spotlight on this beautiful creature. Thanks also to SukanyaDatta, Lauren, Neil, Mark and Antonio. I can see by your comments you feel the same sadness at the threat to their survival. Hopefully we can undo the damage done, bit by bit.

Great spotting Leanne,these guys deserved all the care we can give them.The description of the Palm oil plantation you crosse is just scarring :-( ,congrats on your well deserved SOTD,hoping we began to consume less Palm oil produts,to see if in the futur we still have them living in the wild,thanks again for this beautiful spotting and notes

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 months ago

Congrats bud !! Super spotting.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 months ago

Congratulations, Leanne. Excellent SOTD :)

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Leanne, the moth you have above your name looks like one I've found here in Mexico. I can't seem to find a listing that it exists here and it looks like your Australian species. What do you think?(http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/340826212/fullscreen)

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 7 months ago

Your story makes me cry too. Almost all of our jungle areas in Chiapas are being converted to Palm Oil Plantations. From the air, the border between Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico is clearly delineated by deforestation on the Mexican side. I agree with Neil, we are a cruel and thoughtless species.

SukanyaDatta
SukanyaDatta 7 months ago

No palm oil for me....

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 7 months ago

Thanks for adding your story Leanne, it makes this spotting even more special. It is our Spotting of the Day!

"A young Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) forages for fruit in the canopy in our Spotting of the Day! Bornean orangutan populations continue to be in sharp decline, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting threatening their continued existence. Like all extant species of orangutans, the Bornean orangutan is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Make sure to visit Leanne Gardner's spotting to discover more images and information and especially to read about her emotional encounter with these animals in the wild".

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LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 7 months ago

Thank you very much for the nomination Ashley and thank you Neil, Mark and Daniele for your kind words. Yes Daniele, I do have more, I'll add it now.

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 7 months ago

Amazing spotting Leanne! Do you have any personal notes about your encounter?

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 months ago

Fabulous! I'd love to see them in their forest. Love that second shot.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 months ago

Oh wow, Leanne, what an experience this must have been! I've never seen wild orangutans, so probably would have burst with excitement had I been there. Congrats on your nomination, and thanks for you wonderful notes too. I didn't know what the name orangutan meant until now :) It's also very disturbing to see they are so endangered. What a miserable species the humankind is.

AshleyT
AshleyT 7 months ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Sabah, Malaysia

Lat: 5.48, Long: 118.23

Spotted on Apr 19, 2018
Submitted on Aug 6, 2018

Spotted for missions

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