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43. Bornean Orangutan

Pongo pygmaeus


The orangutans are the only great apes that occurs outside Africa, and they are the largest arboreal mammal in the world.

Orangutans are extremely intelligent, and have shown evidence of tool use and culture – traits once believed to be uniquely human. Orangutans are within our own family, Hominidae, the great apes, though they are the least closely related great ape to humans.

Despite being one of our closest relatives, human activities are having a devastating impact on the species. A major threat they face is continued habitat loss, approximately a third of the entire Bornean Orangutan range was in commercial forest reserves exploited for timber, and about 45% was in forest areas earmarked for conversion to agriculture or other land uses.

Orangutans are the slowest breeding of all mammal species, giving birth to a single young every 6-8 years. The incredibly long inter-birth period means that a female orangutan can produce a maximum of four surviving young during her lifetime. With such a low reproductive rate even a small decrease in numbers can lead to extinction. Scientists predict that unless immediate action is taken, the two orangutan species could be the first great ape to become extinct in the wild.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Hominidae
  • Population: 104,700
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 1.25-1.5m
  • Weight: 30-90kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.46 (?)
ED Score: 13.67 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Bornean Orangutans are endemic to the island of Boreno, in both the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as in four of the five Indonesian Provinces of Kalimanthan: North, East, Central and West Kalimantan.

Habitat and Ecology

Bornean Orangutans’ inhabit primary and secondary forest, typically in lowland dipterocarp, freshwater and peat swamp forests. Orangutans eat, sleep and travel in the trees, being active in the day spending the majority of their time searching for and consuming food. They eat figs, durians, jackfruit, lychees, mangosteens and mangos, as well as leaves, seeds, ants, termites and bark. Females reach sexual maturity at around 10-15 years of age, and generally give birth to a single young every 6-8 years thereafter, depending on the quality of the habitat. The young stay with their mother for almost 7 years. This incredibly long inter-birth period means that orangutans are very susceptible to a population decline.

Find out more

Loading species distribution map...

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Urban development Habitat change Crops Wood plantations Mining Hunting Logging Fire

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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