Sumatran Orangutan

ZOO LOCATION: Primate World

Lifespan: Up to 50 years

Wild Diet: Fruits and some leaves

Zoo Diet: Fruits, vegetables, primate chow, vitamins, and milk.

Predators: none

SSP: Yes

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

Habitat/Range: Tropical rainforests of Sumatra

Characteristics: Males may be 4 1/2 ft. tall and weigh up to 220 lbs.; females are shorter and weigh up to 110 lbs. Males have prominent cheek pads, but both sexes have throat pouches. Physical characteristics include small eyes and ears, and long curved fingers and toes on elongated hands and feet. Arm length is long; they may have an 8-foot span in some males. Sumatran orangutans have light, orange-colored hair; males' cheek pads are lesser in size than the Bornean orangutan. They have long, flowing moustaches, are taller, and more slender than the Bornean orangutan.

Behavior: Arboreal, brachiating allows ease of movement in their range, following the fruiting of trees. Orangutans are solitary much of the time. They walk upright along the branches using their flexible feet, grasping the branches above their head with their hands. Sleeping platforms are constructed in the trees by weaving and bending branches together. Feeding is done early in the morning and late in the day.

Reproduction: Gestation is between 245-270 days. A single young is born weighing 3-4 lbs. at birth. Infants remain with their mothers until age five or six. Males take no part in the raising of their offspring. They reach sexual maturity at age seven.

Conservation: Orangutans need our help! Orangutans live only on Borneo and Sumatra where loss of forest habitat is the number one threat to their survival. Many forests are being cut down to grow palm oil plants for use in many everyday products. In 1997 an area the size of New Jersey burned in Indonesia, much of which was orangutan habitat. Large reserves and strict wildlife protection is needed to keep orangutans from extinction.

What can you do to help? Learn more about palm oil and the crisis that's threatening the survival of orangutans. Your daily actions can make a difference in their future. Learn more at