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Orangutans are critically endangered great apes. Their population has been steeply declining over the past 60 years. Read this blog to learn more about orangutans, including where they live, what they eat, why they are endangered and so much more.
Orangutans are only found in the wild on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They live in the rainforest and spend most of their life high up in the forest canopy. This is where they get the majority of their food from and is also where they sleep.
Orangutans use branches and leaves to create a nest to sleep in. They normally make a new nest every single night! Occasionally, an orangutan might just add new branches to an existing nest to reuse it. Sometimes they have a midday nap so they build a new nest for that too.
Did you know, it can be very hot and wet in the rainforest canopy? Sometimes, orangutans use leafy branches to shelter from the rain or intense sunshine.
Orangutans love eating fruit. In fact, it makes up around 60% of their diet. In the wild, orangutans have been observed to eat over three hundred different types of fruit. In addition to this, they eat young leaves and shoots, insects, soil, tree bark and sometimes eggs and young vertebrates. Since they eat both plants and animals, they are omnivores.
For at least the first two years of their lives, baby orangutans are entirely reliant on their mother for food and feed on her breast milk. Mother orangutans teach their offspring where to find food, what they should eat and also how to eat it. Orangutans really are intelligent creatures and sometimes use simple tools to help them eat. For example, they use sticks to extract the seeds from fruit with tough shells. They have also been observed to use leaves like gloves so they can pick up spiny fruits or branches!
Orangutans have really long arms which can stretch out longer than their bodies up to a length of around eight feet. These arms are extremely strong and they use them to hang upside down from branches for long periods of time. Their long, narrow hands and feet are also ideally suited to grasping branches. Indeed, orangutans spend the majority of their time up in the tree branches since this is where they find most of their food and sleep. However, when they do go down to the forest floor, they walk around on all fours.
Did you know, the orangutan is not a type of monkey since they do not have tails? They are in fact a type of ape. They are also the largest ‘arboreal’ (tree dwelling) animal in the world!
In the wild, female orangutans typically give birth at the age of fifteen or sixteen years of age. For the first few years of their lives, baby orangutans hold on to their mother and move with her through the forest canopy. In fact, orangutans have the longest infancy of the great apes. They often remain close to their mother for the first ten years of their lives. They will travel with her, eat with her and rest in the same tree.
It is thought that orangutans stay so close to their mother for so long since they have so much to learn from her in order to survive. Mother orangutans also protect their baby from predators like clouded leopards and pythons (in Borneo) and tigers (in Sumatra).
Male orangutans are much larger than females. They tend to live completely solitary lives and in fact do not like being near each other whatsoever! If a male orangutan meets another male, he will either avoid him completely or fight. Therefore, it is quite common for male orangutans in the wild to be found with injuries such as missing fingers or toes. They may also have scars on their body or missing eyes where they have been in a fight.
There are two different types of male orangutan:
Flanged male orangutans: These have cheek pads on the sides of their face and a large throat sac under their throat. Females prefer to mate with this type of orangutan.
Unflanged male orangutans: This type of orangutan do not have either cheek pads or throat sacs. They are generally smaller than flanged male orangutans.
The destruction of the rainforest to create palm oil plantations is the main reason for orangutan extinction in Borneo. It is estimated that because of these palm oil plantations 1,000 to 5,000 orangutans are being lost each year. Orangutans are seen as pests when they attempt to enter palm oil plantations to look for food. They are frequently killed or captured and sold to the illegal pet trade.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and there has been a massive increase in demand for it in recent years. In fact, half of all supermarket products contain palm oil. It is found in products from cookies to bread, to crisps, chocolate and even shampoo.
Palm oil companies often use fire to clear unspoilt forests. The ash from the fire fertilises the soil meaning they do not have to use chemical fertiliser.
These are excellent. I have found them really useful.
That's great to hear, Sally! Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review :-)
There were a few good slides and activities in this pack but overall I would not recommend. I bought this after finding the Mexico pack was great ( factual case studies, good map activities, attractive slides). However, the coast pack is not as good. It lacks depth, case study (Scarborough) is too old, limited map work/skills.
Hi Katie, thank you for taking the time to leave us a review - we always appreciate feedback from our customers. We are constantly updating and improving our resources, and so I will pass on your comments about this scheme to the resource creators.
Some great resources to help children understand how medicine has evolved over time. We love the emphasis on primary & secondary sources too.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Sharon!
Fabulous and just what I was looking for as a structure to support staff in planning their own units.
The presentation and resources ere excellent quality and this was FREE.
Can’t wait to explore some of the other units on offer and use the 20% off provided. Thank you!
You're welcome, Kerry! We are so pleased to hear that you liked our resources and found them useful :-)
Will be good to use at start of Rivers theme ( SEND school KS3). To identify names of rivers pupils are familiar with and review at the end.
Thanks, Kim - we're glad that this resource has been useful for you :-)
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