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  • Sumatran orangutan at Zurich Zoo

    Sumatran orangutan

    Pongo abelii

    The orangutan (Indonesian for "forest man") is the only tree-dweller among the great apes and the largest mammal that lives in trees. It prefers to stay in the middle and lower levels of trees and gets around by shimmying from branch to branch. This method of locomotion requires a great deal of strength due to its high body weight, which is why the orangutan only covers short distances during the day. The hair of the male can reach a length of 150 cm, which - together with the cheek bulges and the throat pouch - is a good distinguishing feature from the female. The orangutan lives unsociably and quietly, which is why it is hardly ever seen in the wild.
    Orangutans can invest a long time to solve a tricky problem. They are very concentrated and motivated "mechanics".

    Related to Old world monkeys, great apes, orangutans (3 species)
    Habitat Rainforest up to 2000 meters above sea level, swamp forest
    Mode of life Predominantly tree-dwelling, rarely on the ground
    Sleeping nest On large crotches and in the treetops, being rebuilt every day
    Social structure Females with young, also small groups with several females if food sources are abundant, males are solitary, foraging areas overlap
    Diet Fruits, leaves, shoots, tree bark, honey, eggs, insects, small vertebrates
    Weight Females up to 45 kg, males up to 90 kg (rarely up to 110 kg), newborns 1.6 kg
    Body length Male up to 140 cm, female up to 90 cm
    Arm span up to 225 cm
    Gestation time 8 to 9 months, average 245 days
    Litter size 1 young, rarely twins, birth interval every 4 to 9 years
    First mating period Average at 15 years
    Life expectancy 50 years, in zoos up to 55 years
    Utilization Young animals as pets (illegal)
    Population trend 6000 animals at most, in European zoos a few more than 150 animals
    At Zurich Zoo since 1932 with interruptions until 1959, afterwards permanently in the livestock, altogether 24 young animals (2015), internationally coordinated breeding (EEP)


    Verbreitungskarte Sumatra-Orang-Utan

    Our commitment to wild orangutans

    To the nature conservation project

    Our exhibition on the subject

    Shopping for the rainforest

    To the exhibition



    XIRA E. Bier, Luxemburg
    PANDAI Zita Helene Angehrn Stiftung, Herisau
    UTU E. Bier, Luxemburg
    PANDAI STUTZ AG Bauunternehmung, Hefenhofen
    UTU I. Schwyzer, Zürich
    RIANG H. Bezzola-Bodmer, Aeugst am Albis
    TIMOR Tiergarten-Gesellschaft Zürich (TGZ)
    RIANG Bereuter Baugrubentechnik AG, Volketswil
    Become a Sponsor

    Price for a sponsorship: CHF 6000.–



    Conservation status

    IUCN RedList

    Breeding programme