It might surprise you to learn that orangutans share 96.4% of the same DNA as humans. Fittingly, the name “orangutan” actually means “person of the forest” in the Malay language. Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures are endangered.
One of the greatest threats to orangutans is habitat loss. Orangutans can only be found in Borneo and Sumatra, and as acres of rainforest are destroyed, largely for palm oil, these tree-dwelling primates are forced out of their homes.
Wildlife trade poses another threat to these highly intelligent animals. Sadly, as mothers are ripped away from their babies, the orphans are left helpless and unable to survive on their own. While the species is known for being particularly solitary, mothers have an incredibly strong bond with their young.
Most mothers actually stay with their babies for the first six to eight years of their lives, teaching them how to be orangutans. From their devoted moms, they learn how to climb trees, look for food, and build nests amongst branches. Additionally, they receive affection and care vital to these incredibly intelligent and empathetic animals.
Fortunately, International Animal Rescue is doing some incredible work. Their sanctuary employs dedicated individuals who are responsible for doing the job of a mother orangutan… teaching these orphaned babies how to orangutan.
Take a look at the video below to learn more about how these adorable youngsters learn what they need to know to one day be released back into the wild!
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.