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44. Sumatran Orangutan

Pongo abelii


Orangutans are the only great apes to occur outside of Africa, and are the largest arboreal mammals in the world.

They are extremely intelligent, and have shown evidence of tool use and culture – traits once believed to be uniquely human. Despite being one of our closest relatives, human activities are having a devastating impact on the Sumatran orangutan and its habitat. They are the slowest breeding of all mammals, with mothers caring for their young for up to 7 years. With such a low reproductive rate, even a small decrease in numbers can lead to extinction. There are only two species in its genus Pongo, the other being the Bornean orangutan. They show more tool-use than their Bornean sister species; collecting a ‘toolbox’ over their lives. Its major threats include the destruction of its lowland rainforest habitat into palm oil plantations and agriculture, logging for timber, creation of new roads as well as some being killed by humans, or taken into the illegal pet trade. Concerted conservation efforts are needed to prevent this peaceful primate from being the first great ape to become extinct in the wild.

  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Hominidae
  • Population: 14,613
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 1.4m
  • Weight: 100kg

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


Only found in pockets of forests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The Sumatran orangutan is restricted to remaining patches of rainforest in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Most remaining populations occur in and around Gunung Leuser National Park near Aceh; a protected area around 10,950km² in area.

Habitat and Ecology

These organgutans inhabit lowland tropical rainforests and swamps up to 800m above sea level. They are almost exclusively arboreal, unlike the Bornean orangutans who travel on the ground more often. They primarily eat fruit, though they also eat leaves, seeds, flowers, insects, bark, and infrequently the meat of slow loris.

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 Tourism Habitat change Crops Mining Roads/Rail 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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