Singapore: Hangin' with the Orang Utans
Hangin’ with the Orang Utans
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with the orang utan, but the Singapore Zoo wants to help you learn even more about our closest living relatives. The orang utan once roamed throughout all of Southeast Asia, but they’re now they can only be found in the forests of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Orang utans love climbing trees, and their extremely long arms are well-suited for just that purpose. A full-grown male could have an arm span of seven feet, even if he is only five feet tall!
The orang utan’s life is mostly a solitary one, especially for the males. Males are loners and they even wander through the forest making plenty of noise to ensure that other males can hear them and stay far away. Sometimes their call can be heard over a mile away. Females, on the other hand, bond strongly with their young. An infant orang utan might stay with its mother for six or seven years before it can survive on its own!
Life for the orang utan is changing rapidly, though. The Bornean orang utan is considered to be endangered, and the Sumatran orang utan is critically endangered. Their forest homes are quickly being destroyed by logging.
Despite the small numbers of orang utans in the wild, conservation efforts are underway, especially here, in Singapore. The Singapore Zoo was the first zoo in the world to create a free-ranging area for its orang utans. This exhibit is one of the zoo’s largest and it features an island and a boardwalk filled with lush vegetation and tall trees to mimic the orang utans natural habitat. There’s room for the orang utans climb, swing, and play.