Orangutans, Native Indonesian Primates

Orang utans

Helloindonesia.idOrangutans or Pongo pigmaeus are primates that only exist in Indonesia. In Indonesia alone, these animals only live in Kalimantan and Sumatra. Therefore, these primates are usually distinguished into Sumatran orangutans, Bornean orangutans, Tapanuli orangutans.

Orang utans
Orang utans

Bornean orangutans have a larger body shape than Sumatra. While the Tapanuli orangutan is a newly discovered species in the 21st century. Initially, orangutans in the Batang Toru Ecosystem were only considered part of the Sumatran orangutan species. However, after the research was carried out, the orangutan was designated as a separate species.

In Kalimantan alone, three subspecies were found, namely pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus who lived northwest of Borneo. Then there is pongo pygmaeus wurmbii that lives in Central Kalimantan, and finally pongo pygmaeus mario which lives in northeast Borneo.

If examined more closely, from the existing body shape, the type that lives in Central Kalimantan or pongo pygmaeus wurmbii has a relatively larger body size compared to the other two existing subspecies.

In the present, Kalimantan orangutans live in vulnerable situations. Land expansion has resulted in more forest loss, which means that the orangutan habitat of Borneo is threatened. In addition, forest fires, poaching and also the trade of orangutans to become domesticated animals cause their lives to be threatened. It has been recorded that during the last 20 years Bornean orangutan habitat has been reduced by 55%.

The Sumatran orangutan, known as the Latin name Pongo Abelii, is still the same species as the Kalimantan species. They also fall into the category of ape families. Like its siblings in Kalimantan, the Sumatra species also have features similar to the type of Borneo.

Physically, the height of Sumatran orangutans can reach 1.4 to 1.5 meters for males. While for tall females they can reach 90 centimeters to 1 meter. While for body weight, males can weigh 90 kilograms, while females can weigh 45 kilograms.

For its survival, Sumatran orangutans eat fruits such as jackfruit and figs, and also insects. In addition, they also consume bird eggs and small vertebrates.

Sumatran orangutans are more arboreal (live in trees) than Borneo orangutans. This could be the result of years of adaptation caused by the threat of tigers in Sumatra.

Another difference is that the Sumatra type appears more social compared to the Kalimantan species. They used to live in groups.

The Sumatran population is thinning not only because of their reduced habitat, but also because of the long birth intervals for female orangutans. The birth interval of Sumatran orangutans can reach 9.3 years. This makes it difficult for their population to develop.

Sumatran orangutans are endemic or settled in one place. They are commonly found in forests in Aceh and in the forests around Lake Toba, precisely in the Bukit Lawang area and in Gunung Leuser National Park.

This Indonesian primate is included in the ranks of endangered animals. In 2004 the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) included these Indonesian animals in the list of 25 endangered primates in the world.

A study in 2004 recorded around 7,300 Sumatran orangutans still living in the wild. Some of them have now been placed in national parks to be protected. However, there are still many of them who live in unprotected places, such as in the northwest and northeastern areas of Aceh, around the West Batang Toru river, East Sarulla, and Siangkat.

To protect Sumatran orangutans their population recovery program has now been made in the Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park in Jambi and Riau.

Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, are assets owned by the Indonesian people. Their existence is a reflection of our attitude towards nature. If the forest is damaged, the habitat of this endangered animal is also threatened. Therefore we need a wise attitude in processing forests and forest products so that Bornean and Sumatran orangutans can continue to accompany humans in their lives on this Earth. (ed)

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