The name orangutan means "man of the forest" in the Malay language. There are 3 species of Orangutan - the Bornean, Sumatran and more recently the Tapanuli which was only recently recognised as a seperate species in 2017. They are critically endangered with only about 119,000 left in the wild, and of these only 800 Tapanuli individuals left in existence.
The increasing destruction of their natural habitat making way for oil palm plantations and other agricultural plantations is staggering. You only have to fly over parts of indonesia or Malaysia and look out of your aircraft window to see it for yourself. The plantations stretch out as far as the eye can see. Where once there were ancient tropical rainforest, now you have perfect rows of palm trees for hundreds of kilometres. Illegal logging inside protected areas and illegal poaching make up the other added pressures on this beautiful creature. There is growing interest to produce products which are palm oil free and a new PalmOilFree Certification that is gaining ground. But we need to step up the pressure and do more. Be more savvy when buying products in the supermarket. Don't buy items known to use palm oil if we are to have any hope of saving this species.
This beautiful juvenile male was photographed in a Sanctuary in Borneo in the Sabah region. He was free to roam in a protected area and would spend his nights in the canopy choosing to come in for fruits and seeds laid out by the wardens during the day. The eyes tell the story in this image.