Sustainability |

Orangutans: Our Endangered Wild Cousin

SUSTAINABILITY | 17 September 2021

Our friends in the recycled timber business Kaltimber are closely involved and connected to the life of Indonesia’s forests  and so are much closer to the fate of the flora and fauna that are endangered by our (mostly illegal) activities there. We thank them for this reminder of our real and complete responsibility to the forest dwellers whose lives depend on our action. 

On 19th August was International Orangutan Day, a yearly reminder that our not-so-distant cousin is endangered. Why do we write “cousin”? Well...as you will read in the list we've put together, they share quite a few similarities.

Kopral, an armless orangutan

Sadly, logging, farming, and gold mining are destroying their habitat, deeply threatening their existence. One of the biggest threats today to orangutans is palm oil. Virgin forests where orangutans live and find all their food are cut down in order to plant the cash crop for palm oil.

Let’s look at 7 ways about how similar humans are to orangutans. 7 reasons to understand that we shall protect our cousin!

The body structure: 
Did you know that a chimp’s body is very similar to a human’s? Indeed, we have the same nervous system, the  bones, same number of fingers and toes. muscles, and nervous system. Quite a list right?

The physical trains: 
We share up to 28 physical traits with our ginger cousins. That’s 21 more than gorillas and 26 more than chimps! One good example is that we both have a hairline. More about this on National Geographic.

Similar aging process: 
Already back in 2015, a study found out that, while humans live longer than all other great apes, We age in pretty much the same way. All suffer from tooth, bone, and muscle mass loss; sensory impairment; cardiovascular disease.

Mummy’s call:
In the same way that human children first bond with their moms, orangutans’s children have a closer relationship with their mum (sorry daddy!). They nurse on their mothers for up to five years. Not only that, but they will stay in their mother’s nest for about seven to eight years!

Pregnancy time:
The female's gestation period is also about nine months (227 to 275 days). However, unlike humans, they only give birth every seven to nine years. Not the best for an endangered species! Fun fact though, a standard drugstore test kits on urine from female orangutans can tell whether she is pregnant or not! 

Cross-generational learning:
Not only do orangutans learn from each other, but they also pass that learning on to the next generation. This is the building block of how humans built their culture all around the globe, so yes, orangutans also have culture! 

Shelton, a one-eyed orangutan.

Endangered status:
The current population of orangutans is less than 60,000 individuals (about 53,000 in Borneo and roughly 6,000 in Sumatra). The reason? Habitat destruction.

We, humans, are one day going to face extinction if we do not protect our planet. As researchers believe, the loss of natural habitat forced wildlife to be closer to us and Covid-19 has been ravaging the entire world for 2 years.

To protect orangutans, we invite you to donate to the Bos Foundation, where Kaltimber sponsored two orangutans, Kopral & Shelton!

Please contact them at: [email protected]