Orangutans are capable of opening hard-shelled and/or thorny fruits by gripping it firmly between their teeth and using one hand to manipulate it until a weak point is found, thereby breaking open the hard exterior. Most orangutans get their protein in the form of insects, mostly termites and ants. Animals in zoos tend to be 50 to 100 pounds (23 to 45 kilograms) heavier due to a consistent supply of high quality food. Orangutans are wild animals but they don’t pose much threat to humans. So are we! Kiko is an adult male hybrid orangutan. Among these behaviors are certain forms of tool-use, including the modification of sticks by a population of Sumatran orangutans to open Neesia fruits and more efficiently harvest their seeds. Sumatran Orangutans are primarily vegetarians, but more evidence has emerged that some of the primates actually have a taste for meat. Our overarching zoological mission is to foster conservation awareness and to impart action on our park guests to preserve wild animals and wild places. Diet and feeding Although orangutans may consume leaves, shoots, and bird eggs, fruit is the most important part of their diet. More than 50 percent of packaged foods, as well as many soaps, cosmetics and household products, contain palm oil. Adopt an orangutan to give the perfect gift to the animal lover in your life — even if that animal lover is you! Some orangutans have been noted to consume rocks or soil as well. Although they spend a majority of their total foraging time feeding on fruits whenever they are available, orangutans also eat insects and flowers, and during times of fruit scarcity, fall back on a variety of other types of food, including inner bark, leaves, and other vegetation. Most primates have the capacity for eating sugary fruit, the capacity for eating leaves and the capacity for eating meat. A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. In September 2014, the board of the AZA adopted an official position on palm oil. Like the Zoo’s other male orangutan, Kiko, Kyle sports large cheekpads and long hair. Batang is an adult female Bornean orangutan. The risk of extinction for the critically endangered Bornean orangutan is very high. Orangutans typically build sleeping nests above the ground in various positions of one or more trees. These cerebral primates forage for food during daylight hours. Educational Activities You Can Do at Home, About the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, batang-and-redd_20180120_malmedia_130.jpg, batang-and-redd_20180120_malmedia_093.jpg, Caring for Orangutans: Stories from a Real-Life Zoo Guardian, #OrangutanStory: Happy 4th Birthday, Redd! But meat is a rare treat, if eaten at all. Orangutans have cognitive maps, often returning to the same feeding sites they have visited in the past to forage for fruit, insects and flowers. Although fruit comprises most of the orangutan's diet, they still require other nutrients as part of their daily intake. Orangutans mostly eat ripe fruit, young leaves and bark of trees, honey, insects, will not refuse from bird eggs. This may be at least partially due to diet. The oldest of the Zoo’s orangutans, Lucy often delights visitors by sitting up at the glass. When on the ground, they use all four limbs, supporting themselves on the sides of clenched fists, or occasionally walk on upright on two legs. This feeding method enables orangutans to feed on certain vegetation before its ripe enough for other species such as elephants and various insects to eat. Sumatran orangutans are listed among the 25 most endangered primates in the world and Bornean, Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans are in imminent danger of going extinct. You can typically tell male and female orangutans apart by looking at them. She is the star of several cognitive research programs and enjoys participating in daily research demonstrations at Think Tank. Studies indicate that orangutans primarily feed on fruits and some estimates suggest that they make up close to 60% of the orangutan's diet. Nearly 90% of orangutans' diet is composed of fruit. She was born at the Zoo on April 15, 1987, and was named after the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) because of her birth date. Orangutans are considered omnivores, they can eat plants, fruits, and small insects. Orangutans are the largest species with significant body volume and weight capacities. The Great Ape House and Think Tank are home to seven orangutans: Kiko, Kyle, Bonnie, Iris, Batang, Lucy and Redd. Infant orangutans can nurse until they are six to seven years old. He is incredibly strong and lean and has massive canines (teeth). From fun and affordable field trips for students to amazing summer adventures, our camps combine education and entertainment in a way that connects people to the sea and sea life like nowhere else. Don't forget our special animals this holiday season! The inaccessibility of much of their range, poor visibility in dense forests and the nature of the animals makes it difficult to survey with precision. There are also national laws and programs to protect orangutans. Orangutans also come down if there is a need to find food and water elsewhere, for example, if there is a drought or fire. Throat sacs add resonance to long calls, which are specific to individual males. The available data suggest that unlike other primate species, orangutans do not show a male bias in meat-eating (van Schaik et al. He was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 1987. While they are the most solitary of the great apes, it should be noted that orangutans are highly social and exhibit social tolerance during times of high fruit abundance when they come together in aggregations known as parties. This behaviour is rare, with the orang-utan's diet usually consisting of fruit. Orangutans are also killed for their meat. Among the vocalizations they use are kiss-squeak and belching vocalizations when they are upset, and a loud, deep long call used typically by males for long-distance communication. Many fruit seedlings sprout only after having passed through an animal's digestive system. The researchers interviewed hundreds of villagers and, while most denied killing orangutans, several said that they do. Animals will segregate themselves as needed, and as males mature, they may become more territorial and often must be housed separately. Orangutans' social structure is connected to the distribution of food resources, primarily fruit. However, the results of this indicate that they may do so to help when they aren’t getting enough nutrients from their diet. Refer to Tool Use section. All three orangutan species — Bornean, Sumatran and the newly discovered Tapanuli — are critically endangered, primarily due to habitat loss. Orangutans are the largest arboreal mammals and are very well adapted to life in the trees, with arms much longer than their legs. Population numbers of Sumatran orangutans have declined over 80 percent in the past 75 years, and it is projected that this decline will continue. They have distinctive fingerprints and no visible external tails. Even during times of scarcity, fruit can still take up 16% of feeding. Orangutans are capable of memorizing the locations of temporary food sources, tracking seasonal changes in fruiting peaks and identifying behavioral signs from other animals to find fruiting trees. Police have formally named three male suspects in the brutal killing in Kapuas Hulu district, in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, while another seven are being questioned as witnesses to the crime. Even when our gates are closed, we are still here, working as always to save species. Hundreds of the big apes are hunted annually for meat … Orangutans are the largest arboreal mammals and the most socially solitary of the great apes. Orangutans are the largest arboreal mammals and are very well adapted to life in the trees, with arms much longer than their legs. Orangutans in some wild populations modify small sticks, which they hold in their lips while probing in tree trunks for food such as honey. Come face-to-face with the wonders of wildlife through species-focused episodes and related classroom activities. The word orangutan comes from the Malaysian/Indonesian words orang andhutan, which translate to “person” and “forest”—orangutans are literally the people of the forest! There is a second species of orangutan, which lives on the island of Sumatra. They even drank water from the hair on their arms when rainfall was heavy. PUBLISHED November 16, 2011 People are eating orangutans to extinction in Indonesia, a new study says. Because they exhibit high social tolerance, orangutans are quite adaptable to living together when food is plentiful and when there is adequate housing space, such as at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Males typically range alone except when they mate with females, forming consortships that last up to several weeks. Unfortunately, compliance and enforcement remain problematic. 2003). Taken with tigers? It can be heard a kilometer or more away (more than half a mile). Orangutans discard the skin, eat the flesh, and spit out the seeds, acting as major seed dispersers for this fruit as well as for many others. Certain vocalizations such as nest smacks and throat scrapes are considered cultural and are found in some populations of wild orangutans but not in others. Making a list and checking it twice? What do orangutans eat? Go behind-the-scenes to see how our trainers care for and interact with these amazing animals, and get up close with some finned, flippered, or feathered friends. However, meat-eating is rare at the Sumatran orangutan sites where this behavior has been observed despite numerous observation hours (van Schaik et al. Gibbons and orangutans, while also diversified into several different species, live in southeastern Asia with gibbons being the smaller arboreal species. In the morning, the orangutans at the Zoo are often fed together. However, scientists have observe five different orangutans in Sumatra catching and eating meat. Most animals copulate only when the female is ovulating, but orangutans may copulate daily during several-day long consortships in the wild or when housed together socially in zoos. When water is difficult to reach, orangutans chew leaves to make a pulpy sponge to soak up the water. In the afternoon, individuals are separated so each animal gets its share of preferred food items. Physical maturity, especially in males, may not be reached for several years after sexual maturity. 2003). The two males, Kiko and Kyle, are not housed together, but the females have the flexibility to choose which group to join. The people of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment are truly and deeply driven to inspire on behalf of, to celebrate and connect with, and to care for the natural world we all share. Orangutan means "person of the forest" in the Indonesian and Malaysian languages. Orangutans have a long period of infant dependency (weaning around age six or seven) with exceptionally long inter-birth intervals (at least eight years in Sumatran orangutans and a little bit shorter in Bornean orangutans). By becoming a member, you'll help the Zoo save species and get great benefits for you and your family each time you visit! Weighing in at 230 pounds, he is easily recognizable by his large cheekpads and long hair. This allows them to distribute their weight among the branches. As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums will temporarily close. Orangutans have also been observed eating mineral-rich soil, bird eggs and, occasionally, small mammals such as rats and slow lorises. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Ape Taxon Advisory Group (AZA Ape TAG) has supported conservation initiatives such as anti-poaching patrols and law enforcement, additional research and support from zoos, improved management of protected areas and support of sanctuaries, and increased community involvement to help protect apes. Wild adult females weigh between 80 and 120 pounds (36 and 54 kilograms), while wild adult males weigh 170 and 220 pounds (77 and 100 kilograms). Forage items placed in hay for the orangutans include air-popped popcorn, diced fruits and veggies, beans and sunflower seeds. The survey results suggest that between 750 and 1,790 Bornean orangutans are killed each year in Kalimantan—"high enough to pose a serious threat to the continued existence of orangutans in Kalimantan," according to the study. Loss of habitat is a major threat to orangutans, with many living outside of protected areas and, as a result, at greater risk of losing their habitat to logging and land clearings. The orangutan has the longest period of dependence on the mother of any other land-dwelling animal, including humans. The low density, small population size and increasing pressure on their habitat, coupled with certain factors of orangutan behavioral ecology including diet, low reproductive rates, slow maturation and the longest inter-birth interval of any land-based mammal, make the orangutan extremely vulnerable to extinction in the near future if threats are not minimized. At SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, we extend our commitment to the environment beyond our company by supporting a variety of conservation groups and programs. A critically endangered Bornean orangutan has been shot dead, hacked to pieces and eaten by workers after straying onto an Indonesian palm oil plantation, police and activists said Thursday. Individuals within a certain range appear to know others and interact comfortably when they encounter each other. Females gorillas are 150 to 250 pounds. However, weaning is highly variable, depending on the mother. what do orangutans eat? Seasonal, sexual, and locality differences in food choices by orangutans have been reported. Orangutans have, however, been known to eat meat. They can become aggressive if they feel threatened though. They have grasping hands and feet with long curved fingers and toes. They receive a mixture of sugars and fats from fruit, carbohydrates from leaves, and protein from nuts. To help adsorb and neutralize secondary plant metabolites (plant compounds that are not directly involved in growth, development or reproduction) orangutans consume soil. The primary locomotion of an orangutan is known as "arboreal clambering.". Kiko routinely brachiates (swings hand over hand) on the O-Line and can be impatient if keepers don’t move quickly enough to his liking. The total population of wild Bornean orangutans is estimated to be approximately 70,000-100,000 individuals. Orangutans have an important role in seed dispersal. Moreover, the illegal pet trade is booming in Southeast Asia and infant orangutans are very popular pets. It is thought that weaning occurs sooner if food is abundant and the infant can switch to solids. © 2020 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Orangutans eating slow loris. Orangutans are managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), which seeks to maintain a genetically diverse, and healthy population of both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans. These apes are known to eat more than 500 different plant species, with fruits making up more than 60 percent of their average total food intake, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN). Therefore, orangutans have a vital ecological role as seed dispersers in their rainforest environment and affect forest regeneration and plant-species diversity. Simply raising awareness about this species can contribute to its overall protection. When there is low ripe fruit availability, Sumatran orangutans will eat the meat of the slow loris, a nocturnal primate. This long call resonates in the male's enlarged throat sac and echoes through the forest. However, orangutan's diet is mostly fruits, around 60% to 90% of... See full answer below. Adult males have deep chests and much longer body hair than females do. Download free teacher guides to keep students learning in a hands-on way: includes vocabulary, classroom activities, goals and objectives. Orangutans' hands make them graceful and swift while swinging, but it makes walking on the ground very slow and awkward. Orangutans live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and in both the Malaysian and Indonesian portions of the island of Borneo. As humans have moved into the lower elevations—the orangutan's original habitat—orangutans have moved up the mountainsides. On Borneo, there are no tigers, and leopards are the main animal that eats orangutans. Orangutans get most of their water from the succulent fruits they eat, but will also drink from rivers and streams. The presence of a fully mature dominant male may suppress secondary sexual characteristics (long hair, face pads, beards and enlarged throat sacs) in other less dominant males, and, in some cases, a wild male orangutan may never develop cheek pads. One of the preferred products is the durian fruit. Also, some orangutan babies are illegally taken for sale as pets. Adult females travel through the forest with their dependent offspring. Many people have heard stories too about orangutans attacking humans. Today, orangutans are only found in Indonesia and Malaysia, specifically on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. MRC 5516 Their population levels have dropped more than 50 percent over the past 60 years, and their habitat has declined by over 80 percent in the past 20 years. Another significant threat to orangutan survival is hunting for meat and capture of wild orangutans for sale into the pet trade. Both are natural behaviors for wild and zoo orangutans. Find a variety of free classroom activities that will keep your students engaged and excited to learn about animals. Females do not live in tight social groups, but they are familiar with and have relationships with other females in the area. A Silverback Gorilla is a mature male Mountain Gorilla weighing between 300 and 400 pounds. As fruit-eating animals, orangutans are important propagators of tropical plants. In some regions, orangutans also occasionally eat soil, thus ingesting minerals that perhaps neutralize the high quantities of toxic tannins and acids in … They have large jaws and flattened noses in concave faces. The seeds from the ripe fruit are adapted to withstand passage through the orangutans' gut. Orangutans can brachiate—swing hand over hand—but they normally move cautiously through large trees by climbing and walking. After reaching adolescence at four or five years, these animals become increasingly independent of their mothers. They will also sometimes nap in a less carefully constructed day nest. Orangutans use a variety of tools and their powerful jaws to break into such fruits. Adult males have large home ranges that overlap those of multiple females. She is the only orangutan that chooses not to travel the O-Line. Orangutans usually have a single baby, and twins are rare. Food items are cut up and spread over a wide area. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media. Batang was born in December 1996 at the Lincoln Park Zoo and came to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2004 as part of the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). There is no truth to them being meat eaters or hunting humans. Sexual maturity for males and females in zoos is around six years, although it can take up to 10 years or more for a wild female to mature and longer than that for males. It can be difficult to tell Sumatran and Bornean orangutans apart. The food that orangutans eat depends significantly on the availability within their environments which caused scientists to classify them as opportunistic foragers. Young orangutans must learn about hundreds of varieties of fruit, where to find them seasonally and how to open them. The orangutan diet is made up of bark, leaves, flowers, a variety of insects, and most importantly, over 300 kinds of fruit. Find resources to engage learners in grades preK-12 with science, the natural world, wildlife and conservation. Lucy was born at the Zoo in 1973. However, meat-eating is rare at the Sumatran orangutan sites where this behavior has been observed despite numerous observation hours (van Schaik et al. They occasionally eat meat, having been observed preying on slow … Orangutans rely more on facial expressions and body language to communicate. Generally, no. Orangutans strip leaves from branches by dragging them through their mouths. The older orangutans at the Zoo are hybrids of Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and Sumatran (Pongo abelii) orangutans—they have one Bornean parent and one Sumatran parent. Browse (fresh tree trimmings) is given daily. The available data suggest that unlike other primate species, orangutans do not show a male bias in meat-eating … Make your way onto the nice list and give today. Physiological and/or chemical factors underlying these observations have not been investigated, and such differences may simply reflect availability. Orangutans spend up to six hours a day eating or foraging for food. Washington, DC 20013. They have grasping hands and feet with long curved fingers and toes. Generally, Sumatran orangutans are lighter in color, have longer body hair and less pendulous throat sacs than Bornean orangutans, but the only reliable way to tell the difference between Sumatran and Bornean orangutans is by looking at their chromosomes. Orangutans make tools to help them get at food. In the evening, they are given bananas, apples, primate chow, greens and a selection of other fruits and vegetables. They are highly arboreal and live in all levels of the forest, from floor to canopy. Females may stay with their mothers until they are well into their teens, allowing them to observe mothering skills as they watch their younger siblings being raised. Males may also join other orangutans of various sexes and ages in feeding aggregations. They also eat flowers, bark, insects and leaves. Browse our extensive collection of zoological career infobooks including animal training, animal rescue and rehabilitation and zoo careers. Orangutans prefer eating fruits that have a fatty pulp. He was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in December 1996 and came to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2004 as part of the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan. Orangutans are known to eat over 400 different foods and during times of poor fruiting they will eat less nutritious food such as bark and leaves. Since they spend time on trees orangutans rely heavily on fruits including figs (Ficus spp.) Bonnie travels the O-Line frequently, but unlike most of the other orangutans, she usually does not choose to quickly cross from one end to the other, but instead likes to sit on top of one of the towers and watch the crowds down below. Meat usually doesn’t come up on the menu, though. In zoos, displays consist of throwing around tubs and other objects. Termites and ants are also part of their diet and a source of protein, and to obtain minerals they sometimes eat soil. She has had one offspring, Kiko. These fruits are available in patches. Gestation is seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half months. This is puzzling because it isn’t deemed as a type of normal eating. Share the story of this animal with others. We hope you will join us in this important work. Bonnie was born at the Rio Grande Zoo in 1976 and arrived at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 1980. 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