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Orangutan Fact For Kids

Orangutan Facts for kids

Orangutan FAQ

Where do orangutans live?
Orangutans only live on the two islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia. They live in the countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. They only live in tropical rainforests.

Are orangutans closer relatives of humans or monkeys?
Orangutans are closer relatives to humans than monkeys. Humans and orangutans share 97% of their genes. Both people and orangutans are both part of the “Great Ape” family. Orangutans are so close to humans that they can even catch human diseases.

What does the word orangutan mean?
Orangutan means "person of the forest". Orangutan comes from the Malaysian words Orang meaning person and Hutan meaning forest. The first people who saw orangutans thought they were just hairy men who lived in the jungle.

Where do orangutans sleep at night?
Orangutans build nests high in the trees. Orangutans build a new nest every night to sleep in. Baby orangutans share a nest with their mother.

How big do orangutans get?
Male orangutans can get up to 260 pounds and as tall as five feet and 9 inches. Females orangutans can weight up to 110 pounds and get as tall as 4 feet and 6 inches.

What are the orangutans favorite food?
Durian, a large spikey fruit is the orangutans favorite food.
Orangutans diet is made up as 90% fruit. Durian is a favorite fruit throughout Southern Asia but it is so stinky that many hotels and restaurants won’t let people eat them.

What else do orangutans eat?

Orangutans eat tons of fruit but they also eat leaves, seeds, bark and bulbs. Orangutans also occasionally eat termites and bugs and some smaller animals like fish like birds and small mammals.

How old do orangutans get?
Orangutans live 30 to 45 years in the wild. They can live up to 55 years in zoos.

Are orangutans endangered?
Yes, sadly orangutans are very endangered.

What is the biggest threat for orangutans?
Humans are the orangutans biggest threat. Forest destruction for agriculture, especially for palm oil. People also cut down trees to make timber and paper. Illegal pet trade is another problem that orangutans face.

Where can I adopt an orangutan?
There are many great organizations that offer orangutan adoptions, please visit any of the links below:
Orangutan Appeal UK

Orangtan Outreach

The Orangutan Conservancy
World Wildlife Fund
Borneo Orangutan Survival UK

How can I help orangutans?

1. Don’t waste paper it comes from trees.  Make sure you recycle all your paper.

2. Tell your friends and family about orangutans and how important it is to protect them.

3. Don’t eat candy that has palm oil in it:
Hersey's Kisses and Hugs
Almond Joy
Pay Day Caramel Bar
Reese's Peanut Butter Snacksters
Reese's Crispy Crunch Bar
Twizzlers Strawberry
Symphony Almonds & Toffee Chips Milk Chocolate Bar
Kit Kats

Instead you can ask your parents to buy candy that helps animals such as Endangered Species Chocolate.

4. To help save paper borrow books form the library instead of buying new books.

5. Make sure you turn off the television and computer when you are done.  Turn off the lights whenever you leave a room.

6. Adopt an orangutan from one of the great sites listed above.

7. Keep learning about orangutans. To learn more about orangutans you can:

Go to your local library and borrow a book on orangutans.

Watch Orangutan Island on Animal Planet on Sunday nights (have you parent check your local listing for times).

8. Write a letter to a company who makes your favorite candy bar or cookie to tell them to not use palm oil in their candy.

9. Become an orangutan ranger. (download orangutan ranger sheet).

Additional Resources

Children's books about orangutans:
The Misadventures of Ori-Tang
Little Sibu: An Orangutan Tale
Operation Orangutan

For more information on Orangutans visit these great websites for kids:
Sumatran Orangutan Society
National Geographic
Sheppards Software
San Diego Zoo Orangutan Byte

Television and DVD's about orangutans:
Orangutan Island
Jeff Corwin Experience: Out on a Limb
Growing Up: DVD Collection (Including Growing Up Orangutan)

Orangutan Games for kids:
Orangutan Island Game
Orangutan Quiz and Puzzles
Orangutan Ranger Worksheet

Orangutan Video Game
Even orangutans play video games!





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