Sumatran orangutan.

Sumatran Orangutan


Sumatran orangutans are one of the two species or orangutans.

A statue of a male orangutan.

The statue of a male orangutan in front of the Indomalaya pavilion in the Toronto Zoo.

Like their name says they are from the island of Sumatra. Sumatran orangutans are less numerous than the other species Bornean orangutans. Orangutans are great apes and after the chimpanzees and gorillas they are our next closest relatives.

Sumatran orangutan.

Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) resting on a pillow in the Toronto Zoo.

The word orangutan comes from the Malay word meaning the man of the forest. In many ways they look even more human than chimpanzees and gorillas do, even though orangutans are less closely related to us. Orangutans do have a somewhat human-like body shape with a lot longer limbs. Orangutans are covered with coarse red hair — it reminds me of horse hair — and dominant males have face pads and a throat sack that amplifies greatly the noise they make.


Orangutans clutching each other, in a gesture that looks very human to us.

If you watch orangutans playing with various objects or interact with each other a lot of their gestures start to look human.

In the wild Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, wich would be a very good reason to leave them be. Yet for some unfathomable reasons some people will actually pay good money to get a baby orangutan as a pet who will grow up if the owner does not manage to kill it first by sheer ignorance about its needs, and turn into a large obnoxious full grown ape that is impossible to live with. Orangutans like other monkeys and apes do not make a good pet at all.

Further Readings:

Sumatran_orangutan on the Toronto Zoo website.
Sumatran orangutan on Wikipedia.
Orangutan on Wikipedia.
Last updated: July 3, 2014

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