Did you know that orangutan means Person of the Forest and if ever you are lucky enough to see one, you will know why! With almost 98% shared DNA with us they have many human-like qualities. Orangutan are almost strictly arboreal as are many of Borneo’s large soft skinned mammals such as the Clouded Leopard and Sun Bear. This may be due to the prevalence of leeches and in particular the Tiger Leech which are found from ground level to about 7 or 8 feet up. Orangutan are the only great ape outside of Africa and are found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra (Orangutan Pongo Abelii). If you are travelling to Sabha, you are likely to see the smallest of the three sub-species which is Orangutan, Pongo Pygmaeus Morio. Unlike most of the ape family, they do not live in family groups i.e are not gregarious and so are often found as single males or females with young. Young ones will stay with their mothers for around 4-5 years. Interestingly, this is roughly the same time between masting periods of the dipterocarp forests in which they live, meaning periods of large amounts of food when females are pregnant although they are not limited to breeding during the masting phenomenon.
The orangutan is listed as a critical endangered species by the IUCN (International Union Conservation or Nature and Natural Resources) so a joy to see in their natural habitat.