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The name orangutan originates from Indonesian and means “person of the forest”. The name could hardly be more suitable for the tree dweller with the rust-brown coat. So the great apes spend most of the time in their life in the treetops and very seldom climb down to the ground. Their body structure is perfectly adapted to this way of life, with long arms and powerful gripper hands and feet for clutching branches and trees. The young animals among the orangutans also climb before they are able to walk on the ground.
The arms of an orangutan are very long in comparison with their height. With outstretched arms they reach lengths of up to 2.5 metres between the hands. With a height of up to 1.40 metres and a weight between 50 and 90 kilograms, the males are much larger and heavier than the females, which reach a height of about 1.15 metres and weigh between 30 and 50 kilograms. A large throat pouch also characteristic of the male orangutans.
Mostly one offspring is born among the Bornean orangutans after a gestation period of about 240 days. The birth intervals among the mothers are about 4 to 8 years.
Bornean orangutans are native to Southeast Asia and have their habitat in the forests of the island of Borneo. They are diurnal and live mainly alone or in small maternal families. Adult males with already pronounced cheek pads have home ranges which overlap with those of about 3 to 4 females. They behave territorial towards other adult males in this area. Orangutans are threatened with extinction because of illegal hunting and the continuous destruction of their habitat. That is why we support Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) to protect the great apes. The organisation operates rescue centres in which injured animals and animals freed from captivity are cared for and subsequently returned to the wild in the rainforest.
Orangutan kindergarten at the Darwineum
Two orangutan groups live in the Tropical Hall at the Darwineum. The male Ejde (born on 30 July 1980 at Aalborg Zoo) shares a compound with his female Sunda (born on 19 October 1976 at Neunkirchen Zoo) and Miri (born on 3 August 2004 at Twycross Zoo). About one year after opening of the Darwineum, Surya was born as the daughter of Ejde and Sunda. Miri gave birth to her first offspring in April 2018. The little orangutan girl was christened Mayang. In addition to her little half-sister Mayang, Surya also has a brother who lives at the Darwineum. The second orangutan group is headed by Sabas. He was born on 24 September 2003 in Rostock. His parents are also Ejde and Sunda.
With the opening of the Darwineum, Sabas started his own family together with Hsiao-Ning, who was born on 31 August 2003 at Monkey World (Great Britain) and raised by hand there, and her sister Dinda (born on 6 July 2006 at Monkey World). In 2017 he became a father for the first time when Hsiao-Ning gave birth to little Niah on 24 July. Her sister Dinda became the mother of little LinTang on 5 February 2018.
You can experience these and many other animals at Rostock Zoo, home to 4,500 animals in 450 different species from all over the world.