Indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape “Orang Hutan” literally translating into English as “People of the Forest”. In times past they would not kill them because they felt the orangutan was simply a person hiding in the trees, trying to avoid having to go to work or become a slave.
In the ongoing research of orangutans and orangutan intelligence, there has been evidence collected of both social and physical intelligence. The physical signs of intelligence include: tool-making and use for problem-solving; insight and memory of space, time mental maps, and classification; concepts such as simple arithmetic and mirror self-recognition; and plan in advance innovation. The social evidence of orangutan intelligence includes deception, coalitions and alliances, mediation, reconciliation, consoling, empathy, intentions, imitation, teaching, culture, and language.
Never before has its very existence been threatened so severely. Economic crisis combined with natural disasters and human abuse of the forest are pushing our closest cousins to extinction. They have lost approximately 80% of their habitat in the last 20 years. Anywhere from 1,000-2,000 orangutans are lost each year.
Many items sold today originating from Indonesia are made from materials that come from these vanishing rainforests or are related to the endangered species that are fast disappearing from these forests.
Indonesia lost almost 100 million acres of the rainforest during the rampant plunder of forests that occurred during former President Suharto’s 32-year reign. After Suharto was toppled in 1998, illegal logging grew even faster, as powerful regional timber barons took advantage of a political vacuum to exploit endangered resources. A United Nations report issued in 2007 found that illegal logging occurred in 37 of Indonesia’s 41 national parks, and predicted that the current rate of destruction would see those forests wiped out by 2022.
Of the nearly 250,000 flowering plants known, 170,000 or 68 percent occur in the tropics and subtropics, making tropical rainforests among the most diverse and complex living environments on Earth. Those of the Far East, including Borneo and Sumatra, maybe some of the most complex of all. Borneo and Sumatra support 10% of Indonesia’s known plant species, 12.5% of its mammals, and 17% of its other vertebrates. Borneo alone has 10,000-15,000 species of flowering plants.
Many items sold today originating from Indonesia are made from materials that come from these vanishing rainforests or are related to the endangered species that are fast disappearing from these forests. Learn more about how you can help stop these big, brute industries from tearing apart the last remaining forested regions of orangutan habitat.