Monday, April 1, 2013

A-Z #15 (O)

O is for ORANGUTAN (in this case the Sumatran orangutan)

This a more serious post than usual but my other half and I feel so strongly about these creatures and can only hope they will eventually not be such an endangered species as they now are. We were always entertained by their antics whenever we visited the zoo and hopefully one day soon we may once again go visit them.  I just need to find a way to get around if I can.

This is a delightful creature and the information I have shown here comes from the website of our own Perth Zoo who has a ongoing orangutan breeding programme.

The scientific name for this animal is Pongo abelii and it is sadly on the critically endangered list.  They are found in the rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  They have a coarse, shaggy red coat and the males look very different to the females as they are larger and have a throat pouch (cheek pads) on either side of their face.  Orangutans have very long arms that can reach as far as 2.6m and they use their hands and feet for grasping.

Around 80% of the orangutans' habitat has been lost to logging and permanent agriculture conversion, in particular, oil palm plantations.  Orangutans are also shot for stealing from the plantations or sold in the illegal pet trade.  They are believed to be fewer than 6,300 left in the wild.

Our Perth Zoo is considered a world leader in the breeding of the Sumatran Orangutan.  The Zoo has successfully bred 29 orangutans since 1970 as part of an Australasian captive breeding programme.  In 2006, Perth Zoo released one its female orangutans, Temara, into the protected Bukit Tigapuluh National Park as part of a release programme to re-establish a viable population of Sumatran Orangutans.

This was followed in 2011 with another world-first, the first released of a male zoo-born Sumatran Orangutan into the wild on 1 November.  He became the first male zoo-born orangutan to be released into the wild.

We take out hats off to the tireless workers and the work that is being done by the wonderful people at Perth Zoo.


  1. So many species disappearing off the planet. It really is sad.

  2. Yes, Delores, there are and unfortunately our species is gradually overwhelming all before it. Very sad.

  3. It is bad enough the numbers of species in danger, but I find it so much worse that we are responsible for virtually all that danger. And yes, we are starting to try and make amends (some of us). I do hope it is not too late - for the orangutans, and so many others...

  4. As usual EC you have put it so well. We are overpopulating this planet at a tremendous rate and until that is eased off many more species will suffer extinction. There are lessons to be learned but unfortunately we are often preaching to the believers and not the others who are responsible for overburdening mother Earth with too many people.

  5. This reminds me that I must get to the zoo some time soon and take more photos.
    All the apes are my favourites, orang-utans, chimps, gorillas etc.
    I hope the ones released into the wild manage to survive and breed to increase the numbers.

  6. Yes, I must try and find more comments from the Perth Zoo about their programme. I could only find on their website that which I quoted in my post. One can only hope there is hope for these wonderful animals and all other endangered species.