In Malay orang means "person" and utan is defined as "forest'. Thus
Orangutan literally means "Person of the Forest". Orangutans are found in the
tropical forests of Sumatra and Borneo. They are the most arboreal of the great
apes and move from tree to tree to safely feed from one feeding site to the next.
They are so well adapted to arboreal life that they cannot place their feet on
the ground, instead they walk on the outside of their curved foot.
Orangutans inhabit the forests on the islands Sumatra and Borneo.
Through evolution and reproductive and geological isolation two sub species have
emerged (Borneo and Sumatra). They generally live alone with the exception of
the long term relationship between a female and her young. When orangutans do
meet one another they are very tolerant and aggression is rare, unless two
mature males meet each other. Males maintain their distance from one another
with "long calls", these also advertise their location to adult females.
Orangutans are generally fruit eaters, because fruit is abundant in the forests
they inhabit. They lead a very solitary life.
There is a scattered population of orangutan in Indonesian Borneo,
Malaysia Borneo and northern Sumatra. The different habitats have isolated the
orangutan reproductively and geographically from one another creating a "degree
of difference" or two subspecies. There are several different characteristics
between the two subspecies of orangutans and it has recently been suggested that
they may be a separate species. The Borneo male has relatively large cheek
pads, a tremendous laryngeal sac and a square shaped face. The Sumatran male
has small pads and laryngeal sac, a reddish brown moustache, a pronounced
beard, and a diamond shaped face. Individuals can also be distinguished
chromosomally, biochemically, and by their cranial characteristics.
There is a great deal of individual variety in the...