Female Sumatran orangutan and young in the undergrowth


Orangutans are Asia's only great apes with one species found on the island of Borneo and the other on Sumatra. They are the largest of the tree-living animals with small weak legs and very powerful, muscular arms that may span two metres. These 'people of the forest', as their name translates, are remarkably intelligent. Some populations use sticks to probe for termites to eat, and this knowledge is passed down through the generations. Males are larger than females and have distinctive throat pouches and cheek pads.

Scientific name: Pongo

Rank: Genus

Common names:



Map showing the distribution of the Orangutans taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

BBC News about Orangutans

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