Bornean Orangutan

Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
The Bornean orangutan is a critically endangered species of great ape. Their habitat consists of the lowland rainforests and tropical, swamp, and mountain forests on the island of Borneo.

There are three (possibly even four) subspecies of Bornean orangutan: Pongo pygmaeus morio, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, and Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii. While there are some distinct characteristics of each of the subspecies, they are typically housed together in captivity and can only be distinguished by location in the wild or via genetic testing.

There are currently only approximately 104,000 Bornean orangutans in total still living in the wild.

Map of Indonesia. Location of Pongo pygmaeus are highlighted in green.

Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus

Location: Northwest Borneo – Sarawak and West Kalimantan

P. p. pygmaeus has the smallest populations compared to P. p. wurmbii and P. p. morio with approximately 3,000 to 4,500 individuals living in the wild.

P. p. pygmaeus is seen to be somewhere between P. p. wurmbii and P. p. morio in size.

Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii

Location: Southwest Borneo – West and Central Kalimantan

While physical characteristics are often difficult to detect, P. p. wurmbii is known to be the largest of the three subspecies.


Pongo pygmaeus morio

Location: Northeast Borneo – North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Sabah

Poorest orangutan habitat with the environment being very dry and severely burned. They have very little and irregular fruit and have the highest reliance on fallback foods such as bark. They are more easily identifiable as they are the darkest in color compared to other orangutans, with their hair being almost maroon in color.

They are also known to have the strongest jaws, the smallest brains, and the smallest in body size. They are also known to have the shortest birth interval and childhood dependency. They are the least social of the orangutans, and the most terrestrial.

Orangutan Family