Sumatran orangutan

Sumatran Orangutan
Scientific Name
Pongo abelii
Animal type
The island of Sumatra in the Indonesian archipelago.
Conservation Status
Critically Endangered


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Orangutan map

The Sumatran orangutan is the most threatened of the six great ape species – the least threatened is of course the human. The orangutan really is ‘King of the Swingers’; it is the world’s largest tree-dwelling animal and is superbly adapted for the high life. Sadly, if the uncontrolled destruction of their forest habitat continues, very soon there will be none of these shy and secretive apes left in the wild.

Durrell has kept Sumatran orangutans since 1968 and between 1963 to 1990, also bred the Bornean species. Over the years, 7 valuable babies have been born here and some are now at other zoos continuing to make a valuable contribution to the breeding programme for their Critically Endangered species.

In 1997 Durrell keeper Ian Singleton left his job and beloved animals, to boldly go where no PhD student had gone before, and study these secretive apes in what was left of their natural habitat. Intrepid Ian spent 2 years working in the incredibly inhospitable swampland habitat of northern Sumatra, where the ability to swing through the trees would have made life a whole lot easier!


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Other Critically Endangered Animals