Did You Know: Orangutans

  • For the first 2 years of life, young Orangutans rely entirely on their mothers for both food and transportation. The moms stay with them for 6 to 7 years, teaching them where to find food, what and how to eat and how to build a sleeping nest. Females visit their mothers to continue learning until they are 15 or 16.
  • The word Orangutan comes from the Malay language and means ‘person of the forest’ – from the words ‘orang’ meaning people and ‘hutan’ meaning forest.
  • In the wild, orangutans may live up to 45 years or more. The oldest orangutan kept in captivity was a male called “Guas” at the Philadelphia Zoo who lived until he was 58 years old!
  • Orangutans live in Indonesia and Malaysia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. These are the only places where they live in the wild.
  • Unlike the other great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and humans) orangutans do not like to live in groups. Female orangutans usually have 1 or 2 babies with them, but males are usually alone.


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