Sumatran Orangutans Essay

Submitted By Ceastman15
Words: 604
Pages: 3

Orangutans, or otherwise known by their Latin designation Pongo , are primates native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Since 1996 they have been divided into two separate but similar species referred to as the Bornean and Sumatran Orangutans, each classification deriving from their respective island. Interestingly enough, both species are the only extant great apes present within Asia.
Due to their arboreal preferences they spend a majority of their time in trees within the Borneo and Sumatra rainforests. However, their partiality to tree dwellings makes them extremely susceptible to habitat destruction and fragmentation. Alas, Indonesia and Malaysia have the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Logging and forest conversation for plantations that produce products such as pulp, paper and palm oil have all contributed to the drastic decrease in their populations. It is estimated that over a thousand Orangutans are killed each year due to the exotic pet trade, them being agricultural pests and poaching. Additionally, female Orangutans tend to reach sexual maturity at 10-15 years of age and typically give birth to a single offspring every 5 years or so. Astonishingly, they have incredibly long interbirth periods that can occasionally last up to 10 years. All of these factors indicate that Orangutans have an excessively low reproductive rate which certainly contributes to their endangerment. It is estimated that Bornean Orangutans have a population of 41,000 individuals which qualifies them being endangered while Sumatran Orangutans' populace consists of a meager 7,500 which is considered critically endangered.

Characteristically, Orangutans have a common ape-like build, shaggy reddish-brown fur and highly functional arms and legs. Widely regarded as the largest tree faring mammal, they are equipped with an enormous arm-span of 7 feet(males) and have exceptionally powerful arms and hands. While both genders have hanging sacs from their throat, the male's grow much larger with age. These sacs inflate to emit vocalizations that act as either a mating call or a warning. Such calls can even be heard from half of a mile away. They are highly intelligent creatures that imitate humans, use tools and effectively teach fellow Orangutans vital life skills. Orangutans even have the mental capacity to learn sign language!

Orangutans institute a variety of positive contributions to their ecosystems. Their preference for plants indicate that they are primary consumers. However, because they infrequently consume bird eggs and insects they…