Orang utans are the only great ape in Asia. There are two species which live on separate islands, Borneo and Sumatra. At Twycross we have Bornean orang utans. They have distinctive long red hair all over their bodies and very long arms to move through the trees. Mature males have large throat pouches and cheek pads.
Orang utans are arboreal apes which means that they live in the trees. At night they create nests out of branches and leaves. They are mostly solitary but females will occasionally associate with each other.
Males and females only come together to mate. Once the baby is born the mother is the sole carer and will look after the baby for up to seven years, when it is old enough to fend for itself. This gives a female a maximum of four to five young per lifetime and this low reproductive rate is one of the reasons they are declining in the wild.
Orang utans are omnivorous with most of their diet being made up of fruit and leaves. They will also take insects such as termites and small vertebrates such as frogs when they get the chance.
A major threat facing orang utans is habitat loss as forests are turned into palm oil plantations. Palm oil farmers consider the orang utan as a pest and will kill any that venture onto the plantations. A second major threat is poaching for the pet trade. Orang utans still make prestigious pets in Asia.