While visiting the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Bukit Lawang, one can hear rustling sounds from the forest then big brown furry bodies appear, swinging through the trees overhead.
Photo shows best friend after being attacked by an orangutan in Sumatra.
Orangutans (also spelled orang utan, orang-utan, and orangutang) are two species of great apes with long arms and reddish, sometimes brown, hair native to Malaysia and Indonesia. They are the only extant species in the genus Pongo and the subfamily Ponginae, although that subfamily also includes the extinct Gigantopithecus and Sivapithecus genera. The orangutan is an official state animal of Sabah in Malaysia.
Orangutans are highly endangered in the wild. Orangutan habitat destruction due to logging, mining and forest fires has been increasing rapidly in the last decade. Much of this activity is illegal, occurring in national parks that are officially off limits to loggers, miners and plantation development. There is also a major problem with the illegal trapping of baby orangutans for sale into the pet trade; the trappers usually kill the mother to steal the baby.
Although orangutans are generally passive, aggression towards other orangutans is very common; they are solitary animals and can be fiercely territorial. Immature males will try to mate with any female, and may succeed in forcibly copulating with her (rape) if she is also immature and not strong enough to fend him off. Mature females easily fend off their immature suitors, preferring to mate with a mature male. Wild orangutans are known to visit human-run facilities for orphaned young orangutans released from illegal captivity, interacting with the orphans and probably helping them adapt in their return to living in the wild.
Major conservation centres in Borneo include those at Semenggok in Sarawak, and Sepilok near Sandakan in Sabah.