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Sumatran Orangutan


Quick Facts

Scientific name: Pongo pygmaeus abelii
Class: Mammal
Length: Males: about 54 inches (137 centimeters) Females: about 42 inches (106 cenitmeters)
Weight: Males: up to 200 pounds (90 kilograms) Females: up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms)
Life span: 28.55 years (MLE)
Gestation: about 260 to 270 days
Number of offspring: usually 1, sometimes 2
Size at birth: about 3.5 pounds (1.5 kilograms)
Age of maturity: Males: about 15 years Females: about 8 to 10 years
Conservation status: Endangered



A tropical home

Orangutans live in northern Sumatra in rain forests located from the highlands to low-level swamps. Another subspecies of orangutan, the Bornean orangutan, lives in the forests of Borneo.

What’s on the menu?

The orangutan’s diet consists mainly of tropical fruits, seeds, nuts, leaves, and figs. Sometimes they’ll eat insects, bird eggs, and even tree bark. At the zoo, they eat fruits, vegetables, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, and primate biscuits which provide added nutrition.

Big, red apes

Orangutans have large heavy bodies covered with a thin shaggy coat that is reddish brown in color. These primates are built to move in trees with long and powerful arms and extremely long toes. They usually use all four limbs to distribute their weight, but can stand and walk on two legs if they want to. Orangutanspend most of their time alone, except for females with their young. They’re active during the day and are almost exclusively arboreal.

But they’ll talk up a storm

Orangutans have a vocal repertoire of 13 sounds. Within a small social group, they communicate by lip smacking. They also have excellent eyesight and can see in color.

A sad disappearing act

The orangutan has been declining in both range and numbers for many years. It’s now in danger of becoming extinct, and it’s estimated that fewer than 10,000 remain worldwide. For information on the orangutan’s conservation status, visit The Orangutan Conservancy.



Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.