Mamalasa the orangutan high up in a tree at Borneo Orangutan Survival Sanctuary

8 Facts About Orangutans



Learn about one of the largest primate species and how to help them this International Orangutan Day.

Orangutans are a popularly-depicted primate species, but the reality is that they are incredibly rare to the point of facing extinction. Here are 8 things to know about orangutans, including their endangered status and what brought them to this point. 

  1. Orangutans spend most of their time alone in the trees of their tropical rainforest home, waiting until it’s time to mate to meet others of their species. 
  2. They are the largest tree-dwelling mammals, and can grow up to five feet when standing
  3. You can find orangutans in only two places in the world: On the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malaysian and Indonesian parts of the island of Borneo. 
  4. Birds aren’t the only animals who build nests. Orangutans build nests for sleeping in the trees they live in. 
  5. Orangutans are omnivores, but they mostly eat fruit. 
  6. We could soon lose orangutans to climate changeScientists estimate that climate changes and reduced land cover will destroy 68-81% of remaining orangutan habitat by 2080. 
  7. Both species of orangutan are endangered, with the Bornean orangutan being listed as Endangered and the Sumatran orangutan being listed as Critically Endangered.  
  8. Human behavior is destroying orangutan habitats. Because these primates depend so heavily on trees, they are especially vulnerable to the effects of logging. 

Few orangutans live in the US, as this is not their natural habitat. Protect the primates forced to live here by supporting the Captive Primate Safety Act to help ban the purchase and possession of primates as pets in the US.  

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